Life in the stalled shopping lanes

Published 10:05am Wednesday, July 9, 2014

While I’m sure hundreds of noteworthy things happened at our local Mega-mart last Thursday, I doubt any were quite as interesting as those occurring between approximately 11:10 and 11:28 that morning. That’s because the world came to an end at the end of lane one. And lane 21. And every lane in between.

After all, it’s not every day the cash registers at such a center of commerce – all of them – lose power. And if the eerie sound of electricity draining from these devices wasn’t Katrina-like enough, the walls that day were filled with high-capacity crowds. Thursday was, as you may remember, Fourth of July Eve, and buggies were piled high with the stuff of a big-eats holiday.

And so, Dear Readers, I have decided to share what I observed from my perch beside our just-checked $216 cart of groceries, minus, of course, the three items still waiting to be rung up. I should add that I do this with malice toward no merchant, and solely in hopes my list might prove edifying to others who may someday find themselves experiencing life in the stalled lane, too. So, without further ado, here they are, my “Top Ten Things to Watch When All the Registers at Mega-mart Lose Power.”

1. Electricians in hot water. I observed two guys wearing service uniforms shuffle their feet, hang their heads, and apparently take the heat for this particular unnatural disaster. Not pretty.

2. An amazing number of managers pacing the front corridor. That’s right, the same blue shirts you can rarely find even one of were everywhere, frantically talking into their headsets.

3. Your moo bars melting. These, and all the other expensive ice creams your kids talk you into, just don’t handle sustained freezer separation very well.

4. Shoppers returning for more. Tired of waiting to check out, many customers turned around and headed back to the aisles. Perhaps the whole thing was just a ploy to increase sales …

5. Shoppers trying to leave their bargains behind. That’s when smiling greeters suddenly asserted themselves like Parchman guards during a lock-down: Think you’re going somewhere, Buster?

6. Rumblings from the republic. Can they really force us to stand here this long? Aren’t they required to have generators? Is it legal to make someone with chocolate addictions spend 18 minutes within reach of every candy bar known to man?

7. The stuff other people put in their buggies. Who knew they still make Twinkies? I haven’t seen one since junior high.

8. What happens when the registers juice back up. Everyone – me, the 15 customers in line behind me, even Luis the Cashier – got downright giddy. Then we realized my entire buggy would have to be re-checked.

9. What happens when the scales don’t juice back up. Luis took the rechecking thing in stride, but when my grapes gave him trouble, well, I guess it was just too much. He flipped the manager beacon in obvious disgust. “They won’t scale,” he told the blue shirt that came moments later. “THEY JUST WON’T SCALE!”

10. The bonding. I learned a lot about the couple behind me (“Is that really Billy Ray’s daughter on that magazine? Oh, my.”) When it was all over and I was sprinting toward the exit, they waved me on, shouting “We’ll miss you!” at the top of their lungs. I should have gotten their names.

So there you have it, friends. It always pays to be prepared.

 Wesson resident Kim Henderson is a freelance writer who writes for The Daily Leader. Contact her at