Things I can do without

By Steve Estes

Strictly Drivel

First, let me say that I hope each and every one of you have a wonderful Christmas, and here’s wishing you the best of New Years.

I think we’re all glad (except the little ones) that the Christmas holiday is rushing past and nearly behind us. The mad rush to get everything done, the lines, the stress and the bustle are all something we can do without more than once a year I’m sure.

Though I will miss the smiles and good cheer that follow this season, there are many things I won’t miss.

I will not miss the rude drivers who believe that the closest parking spot to any store is their own private slot. They will drive 50 miles an hour in a parking lot to get to that one chosen space, and then be upset if they don’t get there before the car that has been waiting one space away for that one to empty.

For instance, the other day at the shopping center I was winding my way through simply looking for a spot, and a small white sedan actually passed me to get to the one it thought I wanted because it was just six spaces back from the entrance to Winn Dixie. I, however, was going to the video box and would have passed on the spot anyway. But I guess I made the other driver happy because she climbed out of the car with the proverbial Cheshire Cat grin.

Merry Christmas lady.

I will not miss the rude shoppers who believe that their needs are the only ones that must be served in this holiday season. We all know the ones. They want the full attention of the sales associate, they want it now, and they want it for as long as they see fit.

For instance, we were at a department store in Key Largo and were browsing through the jewelry counter for a potential gift for our daughter. We were the only ones at the counter when we got there so the sales associate was serving us. A lady came up a few minutes later and began looking through the display cases. After about 45 seconds, she asked the sales clerk if she could open the case for her to allow her to look at some items. The clerk told her she would as soon as she was through with us. After another 45 seconds, the lady demanded that the clerk call someone else. We had three items out on the counter, and the clerk wasn’t about to walk away. She again politely informed the other customer that she would be helped in just a moment. The rude customer proceeded to ask for help every 30 seconds until the frustrated clerk asked us if we would mind waiting a moment. We did.

Merry Christmas lady.

I will not miss the shoppers who pick all of any item off the rack to see if it’s something they can use so other shoppers can’t get a look at it.

For instance, we were in another Marathon department store, looking through ladies sleepwear for our daughter again, and this lady pushed right up between us, grabbed the last of one style right off the rack in front of us, and proceeded to check it over in the next aisle. Maybe we didn’t have our eye on that particular one, but she must have.

Merry Christmas lady.

I also will not miss the line place-place holders at most stores. You know the ones. They put their half-filled shopping cart in a checkout line, then send one of the kids, the wife or the husband, off to various parts of the store to retrieve further items.

For instance, at Winn Dixie trying to get Holly some sugar for her daily hot tea, I planted myself in an express line, only having three items. The family in front of me left Dad with the cart, containing slightly more than 15 items while Mom and the two kids ran around the store adding additional items. It took me nearly 30 minutes to check out with my three items.

Merry Christmas folks.

And then there was the patron at a fast-food restaurant on the mainland who apparently had so many better things to do—right now—that waiting for her food wasn’t in anyone’s best interest. The lines were moving slowly, I grant that. But an elderly couple and I were waiting patiently. After all, one of my favorite sayings to people who have to be in a hurry is that if I were in a hurry, I wouldn’t live here where hurry is a nasty four-letter word.

There was a pleasant lady who was just in front of me, the elderly couple next to me, and another, not so pleasant lady, on the other side of them. The couple was probably the next folks in line if the truth be known, but we had struck up a conversation and paid no mind when the cashier asked for the next customer. So the lady in front of me stepped to the counter. No problem.

At least not for the three of us. But it was for the last, not-so-pleasant personality who immediately jumped to the front of the line, cutting off the lady already there and proceeded to place her order. Unwilling to make a scene, the first lady backed off and the cashier, having no other choice, took the line-jumper’s order.

And she paid with all change. That was a little too much for the first lady who had waited patiently, but lost patience when the dimes and nickels began coming out of the bottom of the expensive purse that was carried.

Her comment—“you were in such a hurry to get ahead, pay your bill and move on.”

Although I and the elderly couple agreed, we just smiled.

And the interloper wound up being 60 cents short after all that digging. I couldn’t stand it any longer and really had to no desire to try and break up a fight in a fast-food restaurant, so I stepped up and threw a dollar on the counter. That earned me two looks of pure nasty, one from each of the contestants.

I laughed.

“Merry Christmas ladies,” says I.

It’s not like these things don’t happen at other times of the year, but I guess it’s just more noticeable when it happens at Christmas when we’re in as much of a rush as anyone else.

Perhaps we won’t notice it at all in the coming weeks.

Fat chance.

Again, Happy Holidays to you all.

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