Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Val Used to Be a Weirdo Magnet, But Now She's Just...

Surely your weren't going to finish that title with WEIRDO! Because that would be wrong. Literally, and showing a total lack of concern for Val's feelings. I am a woman, not a weirdo!

Anyhoo... I haven't been attracting nearly as many weirdos as I did before the VIRUS. Maybe they're all staying home. Maybe it's not worth weirding it up just to give Val something to write about on her blog. I totally understand. I can still find something to write about. Even if the weirdos are not forthcoming, something WEIRD my way comes.

Monday, I had to wait, holding my ever-weakening 44 oz Diet Coke, due to a snafu at the Gas Station Chicken Store. The woman ahead of me had trouble paying. Man Owner was manning the register. I bet he cleared out his machine and had that woman try her card 10 times! 

I don't hold it against the customer. It wasn't her fault. I blamed it on the Stone-Age card scanner used by the GSCS. It's a little fat rectangular device that reminds me of a 1989 GameBoy. It sits on the counter at the end of a wire, and the customer sticks the chip part of the card in the bottom of it. Since that didn't work, she had to try sliding the magnetic strip. Finally, I think by a stroke of luck, Man Owner and the gal hit the magic combination to charge that purchase as a credit card transaction. 
Not so unusual an experience. Except that TUESDAY, June 15, I was second in line at Save A Lot, and the customer had trouble paying. Save A Lot has a more modern system, mounted on the check-out counter. Again, the checker tried at least 10 times to get that card to work. The customer asked if she could pay by check.
"Um. We don't take checks any more. And the manager and assistant manager just left."
"Well, I don't know what else to do."
I might have suggested that she drive a couple blocks to an ATM, but I didn't want to be a smart-rumpus. After all, it was not the customer's fault. By that time, there were five other customers waiting behind me. So two other registers were opened. I'll be darned if all those customers weren't checked out, bagged up, and back home with their feet up watching a DVR of the Westminster Dog Show while I was still waiting.
"Well... I guess I could put my groceries back in my cart, and go to another register..."
Thing is, they'd already closed one, and the other just had one customer in progress. So they'd probably have slunk away to the back of the store by the time I got over there. I didn't just have one or two small items. I had a bag of tangerines, a bag of grapes, pack of tortillas, box of chocolate chip granola bars, box of coconut granola bars, bag of Caesar salad, tub of pulled pork, two packs of paper plates, and a Rice Krispie treat bar for The Pony. 

"Oh, I'd hate for you to do THAT! I'm so sorry. This has never happened to me before."

"Not a problem. It's not your fault. Same thing happened yesterday over at the Gas Station Chicken Store. It must be ME! I'm bad luck!"

"This has been happening all day. At all of our stores. It's something with our system."

Had I been a SAINT like Hick, I might have paid for the woman's groceries. I'm pretty sure she would have written me a check. But I only had money for MY purchases in case my card didn't work. It's not like I travel around Backroads with my casino bankroll.

Anyhoo... all at once, the lady's card WORKED! And mine did, too. I was standing next to her at the bagging counter, when she apologized again.

"Don't worry about it. I'm not in any hurry. You couldn't help it."

"You know, I always think there was some reason for things like that to happen..."


"Like maybe it kept me for being in a car accident..."

"I KNOW! I think the same thing! And maybe yesterday I avoided something, too. Maybe I'M the reason we got held up. You just never know."

Being held up by a wonky card-reader two days in a row is unusual enough, but something else happened in Save A Lot while I was in line. A big-boned lady was bagging her groceries at the counter, which runs along a window that shows the whole parking lot.

"OOH! What in the world! LOOK AT THAT!"

Everybody looked. There was a dust tornado spinning across the front window. Right in front of the store, along the glass. The whole parking lot is blacktop. I have an idea how the cartoon Roadrunner-looking dust tornado formed. About a mile or two down the road, there are the "sand flats" that used to be a lake bed, where dragster races are held. I guess the dust got picked up there, and it touched down in front of Save A Lot. It hadn't been windy at all. It was a bright sunny day, temps in lower 90s.

On the way home, while switching through my six AM stations, and 12 SiriusXM stations that I have tuned-in, I heard an announcer say, "... and it's Global Wind Day."

What in the actual Not-Heaven? Who ever heard of THAT? Right after seeing a dust tornado.

I was going to say that I used to be a weirdo magnet, but now I'm just a WEIRD magnet. But maybe I AM the weirdo...


  1. I would have loved to see the unexpected tornado. I remember when cards didn't work at our registers, after a couple of tries and maybe trying different cards, we could enter the card number by hand on the touchscreen of the register and when the receipt printed off we had the customer sign it, and they also had to show some other form of ID in case they were trying a stolen card.

    1. The tornado was exciting to watch, from behind the glass of Save A Lot. I would NOT have wanted to be caught up in it. Bad for my lovely lady-mullet!

      I have not seen a card used that way. It would save time, rather than trying the same thing over and over.

  2. I remember when they called in your credit card to make sure it was good, took forever...I hated every one that used the card back then.

    1. When I worked in the insurance salvage store back in the mid-80s, we had something called "Check Rite" that worked that way, I think. Or maybe we had to call if a message came up on the thing we slid it through.

      One of the cashiers was a 17-year-old kid, son of one of the floor managers. He LOVED to cut up credit cards. When we called, the verifiers would sometimes tell us to "Take the card and cut it up in front of them. It's not valid." In fact, he told the rest of us to page him to the front, and he'd do that task for us.

  3. Everything happens for a reason ....

    1. My mom used to say that. I agree. Even though I don't always know the reason, or approve of the happening.