Sunday, January 4, 2015

Grocery Store Throwdown

For the last five days, I have been hosting two of my best friends from college in beautiful Bellingham, Washington. As wonderful as my hometown is, Sasha is convinced that Washingtonians are terribly unfriendly. At first I thought that was unfair, but after a woman at the grocery store tried to fight me, I’m starting to agree.

On Wednesday evening, we found ourselves at the local Fred Meyer, a massive supermarket reminiscent of Wal-Mart. We were only purchasing alcohol, so we grabbed our goods and headed straight for the express checkout lane. Fred Meyer generally overwhelms me, and the New Year’s Eve lines were especially long, so I was annoyed to see that the woman in front of us had disregarded the 12-item rule. I turned to Megan and Sasha and grumbled, “Well I thought we got the express lane, but apparently not.”

My passive aggressive comment did not go unnoticed, and the woman in front of me whirled around to reveal face tattoos and a look of fury. “Do you have a problem? I don’t even have 12 items! Why don’t you go to the self check-out if you’re in such a hurry!” She didn’t stop there, and kept up her diatribe as she loaded more and more items onto the conveyer belt. Megan was thoroughly intimidated and tried to convince us to change to a different lane, but Sasha and I remained firmly in place.

“She’s crazy,” said Sasha loudly in Russian.

“She didn’t even count right,” I continued in Russian. “I see 15 items.”

It was pretty obvious we were talking about the lady in front of us, but politeness didn’t seem particularly relevant now. Megan was starting to feel left out, so she decided to interject with the only phrase she knows in Russian.

“Menya zovut Megan.” My name is Megan.

I burst out laughing, which did nothing to defuse the situation. Face Tattoo was now visibly shaking in rage, which was really hampering her ability to get her quinoa and black beans out of her grocery basket.

“Maybe I’ll see you outside,” she said, glaring straight at me.

Megan immediately stopped laughing, since she was convinced we were going to get knifed in the parking lot by a Washington hippie. Meanwhile, I was fairly confident that Sasha and her inherent Russianness could take a malnourished vegan any day, face tattoos or not.

“Lady, I don’t want to fight you over groceries.”

In the end, she did not wait for us in the parking lot, though I may need to find a new place to do my grocery shopping for the next week (we all know I wouldn’t survive a fight without Sasha to back me up). I never thought I’d say this, but I am really missing my local Moscow produkti and its snippy Russian cashier. She may not let me pay with large bills, but at least she doesn’t try to fight me when I grumble about her stupid system.

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