We will instead address the pharmacy. The pharmacy was the first place I visited last week. I'd dropped off a prescription and was told it would be done in about twenty minutes. In pharmacy time that is about two weeks.
This week I received an automated call that said it was ready. Since I was at the grocery store as usual, I went to the pharmacy and placed a cardboard cutout of the incredible hulk, that I picked up in the movie rental department, to save my place in a line moving at approximately the speed of tectonic plates. Ailing customers sit in in plastic chairs and talk about their diseases and the efficacy of their meds, while offering medical advice to everyone who will listen. The competition for the greatest suffering is fierce.
There’s a sign about six feet away from the pharmacy window that says: “For the privacy of others please stand behind this sign.” Normally there are about ten to twenty people in line. Upon arriving at the pick-up window, every one of them very privately screams something like; “My doctor called it in four days ago!”, “What do you mean my insurance won’t pay for it!?” or “My God, how much?”
There is usually an older person with six prescriptions that asks questions about each one and then pays with a check precipitating a credit check on all three of their credit reports. Sometimes they will whack the counter with their cane and want to talk with the manager about how little medicare is paying. It's interesting to see how many people sigh hugely and slap their foreheads. This is the time when impatient mothers start screaming at children to quit playing on the blood pressure machine.
My prescription, of course was mistakenly filled somewhere at a pharmacy in Nebraska and might be ready next week. Next week it will be filled at a satellite pharmacy and I will have to go there from now on to get it. The odds of actually getting your script is two in seven; knowing this, I didn’t bring the money for it anyway and Since I usually sit there for two hours, I'll run back and swap the unrefrigerated milk and meat, which will start to smell soon.
My store is open twenty-four hours. I used to go shopping late at night to avoid the crowds. It actually takes longer because the only checker is so deaf he cant hear the intercom and is in the freezer usually doing something stupid like putting his tongue on a metal shelf. No one else at night knows how to work the check stand. When he is available he gives you a disgusted look as if he is thinking "Some idiot left the front door unlocked again." Night shopping is super weird.
Every night is karaoke night and many stockers are raucously singing to rock music that is playing on the intercom. They sound like a bunch of howler monkeys whose girlfriends just shot them out of the saddle. The rest are all hollering disgusting jokes or making lewd comments about the woman who is three aisles over.
There is generally a non-English speaking, cleaning service person that resents my attempt to shop on aisles that he hasn't roped off. He always tries to run me over with a propane-powered buffer. I've gotten good at climbing shelves quickly. He apparently doesn't understand screaming in English.
I get mugged a lot more often in the parking lot at night so I’ve opted to stick with day shopping.
Produce is a crapshoot. You may get oranges so sour they turn your head inside out, or you may get oranges genetically engineered to turn into goop and crawl out of your refrigerator the next day. Organic produce is more expensive and richer in protein due to all the insects in them. I prefer the cheaper, chemically sprayed, gassed, mutant produce, with wax all over it.
The fresh French bread that's baked four times a day is a sure trip to the dentist. The bakery apparently confuses “crust” with the outer layer of the earth.
There are always phenomenal savings, sometimes up to ten cents at the “Manager Gone Wild section!” Managers love specials. Manager specials are generally green meat, slimy lettuce, donuts that seem to be moving, outdated curdled milk and strawberries with little white Santa beards. I suspect its the same stuff I put back last week while waiting at the pharmacy.
There are often signs that advertise a lower price when you buy ten of something. The price for only one is five percent higher. Who would buy ten fifty-pound bags of dog food, unless they have a teenager or run an old folks home?
At the end of the last aisle, I gird my loins and head for the checkout stand. (I wonder if I could call in sick with a girded loin?) Normally I don’t have to go too far to the checkout line because it stretches back to the pharmacy which is usually the last department. After a while (six hours in pharmacy time), I am only a couple of buggies from seeing an actual checker.
There are two types of checkers. Married, depressed checkers wearing no make-up that don’t care, and resentful single ones with enough make-up to make them look like a piñata that care even less. Last night mine was the latter. When the rested checker returned, her gum popping escalated to the point where it sounded like a River Dance production on bubble wrap. She was able to pop at this rate while having a conversation with the checker in the next check stand about tattoos, her boyfriend or her pregnancy test, all the while checking groceries and ignoring me.
Some shoppers stand in line carrying a file folder full of coupons that outweigh their groceries. Upon noticing this, other customers in line run screaming out the door and instantly get run over by the drag racers at the crosswalk. Any fool forgetting their store savings card is immediately penalized eighty-five dollars.
I challenged a price once claiming their ad said it was lower. I was dragged into the office and beaten with rubber grocery separators, until I recanted and apologized to the checker for my unthinkable crime.
Plastic bags are engineered to disintegrate one foot from your trunk. We have to put three of them inside each other just to carry dog poop when we take the dogs for a walk. Usually I use earth friendly, ecologically sound, cloth bags that don’t disintegrate until one foot from your front door.
There is always a lottery ticket machine on the way out with signs proclaiming all the winners that have turned into crack heads and are now sleeping on the park benches they helped to buy. Of course I buy one. Who knows, I might win and need a bench.
Well I’m going home to enjoy some dog food and green steaks. Bye till next time.