Saturday, September 22, 2007

mathematic ratios of lite plain cream cheese to everything bagal ..

if you have been to cub foods after midnight at least three times, you know cindy. the 50-something woman with crazy swath of grey hair and oversized square glasses. the only employee in the store at that hour who isn't waxing the pet food aisle, stocking canned beans or staring, stoned, at the 2 liter bottles of orange crush, counting down the days until season two of "heroes."

and if you know cindy, you know that her back frequently hurts, she has a window air conditioner -- but just in her bedroom -- and that she is tired. meanwhile, she knows your name, how you spend your pre-midnight hours, what you crave at 1 a.m. she's got a pretty spry little shuffle. sometimes she will point out the coupon flyer you didn't bother to reference, so you can save 40 cents on crest. cindy is among my favorite consumerism sherpas.

this is probably because she knows my name. a lot can be said for someone who makes you feel like a regular. how to win friends and influence people didn't sell a quatrillion copies because it has an aesthetically appealing cover and fits in your purse.

sometimes i think of the events from my personal history that cindy has witnessed:

1) going to cub foods with my landlord for orange juice to cure his cold, stumbling upon a sale, and leaving with 20 frozen mosticiolli meals that he would later cram into the faces of afterbar attendees;
2) the time i got traded makeup tips with sven sundegaar;
3) bags upon bags of iams; hearty chunks of brie and raw slivers of prescutto; suave.

as i'm less of a grocery shopper and more of a grocery whimmer, i frequently find myself in her checkout lane during cindy's reign. anytime i use the self checkout while she is working, i feel guilt and shame and hang my head as i make 14 smooth, autistic slides over the scanner to figure out how much regular absorbancy tampons cost in the time that it has taken her to service three customers.

my other favorite people involved with monetary transactions include:

1) tom, the camel lite pusher at the ghetto spur;
2) the omnipresent woman with the blonde bob at bixby's who has mathematically figured out the lite plain cream cheese - to - everything bagal ratio;
3) robyn from blockbuster, a multitasking phenom who can prescribe effective ways to suck a day and a half off your life in front of the tv;
4) the sandwich artist from subway who wants to buy my civic;
5) the tall guy at starbucks who finds it reasonable that i select my coffee based on the description, in a sort of backward version of the horoscope;
6) jeannie, the former bartender at the pioneer who always let me use a 32 ounce mug with the name sasquatch engraved in the side, even when everyone else was using 12ers;
7) the woman at vision world who deconstructed my face to find a suitable pair of eyeware.

a few nights ago i was at cub foods with a desperate craving for apple cinnamon apple jacks. cindy's line was three deep -- and in a strange twist of consumer fate, my favorite blockbuster employee was in front of me.

"hi, christa!" cindy chirped, midscan.
"hi!" i said, then turned to robyn, "i'm a bit of a regular."
"me, too," she said.
during robyn's turn, the two discussed waffles and french toast.
cindy didn't have much to say about my apple jacks.
but when another woman got into line with a catfood-filled cart, cindy said:
"hey! you aren't wearing my favorite shirt today!"
"i wore it yesterday," the woman replied. "i can't wear it everyday."
"she has a shirt with paw prints on it," cindy explained to me, oozing with the kitchy cuteness. "it says 'all my kids have paws.'"
i nodded.
"sounds adorable," i agreed.
"i'm a cat lady," the woman behind me explained.
i nodded again, bagged my food and traded some hearty bon voyages with cindy.

i was driving out of the parking lot when cindy flagged me down waving a dollar bill.

"you dropped this," she said, handing it through my window. "the woman behind you saw it."

i thanked her and drove away.

it reminded me of the time i found a dollar laying on the floor in the checkout lane and the pissy goth girl who was ringing me up ripped the bill from my hand and said:

"i'll put it in the lost and found."

she sucked.

1 comment:

Bottle Rocket Fire Alarm said...

I'm trying to be everyone's favorite waiter at Wild Wings. Although it's a sports bar, I put one arm behind my back and carry tray high like a French waiter.

I say things like "Did everything arrive to your satisfaction?"

I get a kick out of it.