I wrote a few days ago about my first encounter with the real Winn Dixie grocery store. It was an exciting moment which led me to add a new item to my Spring Break Bucket List: shop at a Winn Dixie before going home.
So, in my pursuit of that goal, I dragged the family to the supermarket this afternoon for a quick trip through the store for a couple of things. Of course, a short list always grows once inside the store, and it wasn't much time before our arms were loaded with mid-vacation essentials: the pineapple I was craving, raisin bran, diet soda, granola bars, a loaf of bread, and several other must-haves.
We met at the front of the store after our foraging, carefully balancing our food finds. We were attracted to the self-checkout by the allure of no lines and a quick exit. Hurrying, the three of us pounced on the open checkout, beeping our items through the scanner with gusto.
Things started going downhill fast.
The woman in the machine started talking to us. "Please place your item in the bagging area," she politely, but firmly said. We tried again. Our definition of the bagging area was clearly misguided. The woman repeated herself, louder this time and more authoritatively.
I then realized an even more serious error. We didn't have a Winn Dixie savings card! We were being charged the full price for every item we were purchasing!
The tension dialed up a notch as I went in search of an employee to help us sign up for a card.
When I found him, I asked if we could please get a Winn Dixie card. He took in the situation, looked me up and down, and asked nicely if we were visiting from out of state. I would like to go back to the store and ask him how he knew on his first guess, even if the answer would hurt my feelings. He thoughtfully offered to use the store card to help us, rather than having us sign up. Smart man.
I turned with him to walk back to our check-out area.
By the time we had returned, the polite woman's monotone voice was echoing through the whole store, repeating infraction after infraction that we had somehow committed in 3 short minutes. The groceries were in the wrong place, the produce wasn't being weighed right....every sentence that poor machine had been programmed to say was being yelled all at once. At us!
I had a moment where I wasn't sure what to do. Put my hands up like a criminal? Drop everything and exit the store in defeat? Melt into the linoleum in embarrassment? What HAD we done to create such a moment of mayhem? It felt as if the whole store was looking at us. Actually, I think they were.
There we were, the tourists, who couldn't even figure out how to use the self-checkout at the local Winn Dixie.
Thankfully, the kind young man rescued us. He quickly typed in super-secret codes while machine-lady continued to chastise all of us.
He saved us.
We gathered our badly-packed bags and ducked out of the store. It was finally over.
Bucket list: CHECK.