Living Retired: ‘THE PROBLEM PURSE’
Living Retired — ‘THE PROBLEM PURSE’
My iPhone suddenly ringing jarred me from my sleepy stupor.
“Gary you said you were going out to pick up a few groceries. That was more than an hour ago. What is taking you so much time?”
“Jan, I have been standing in the grocery store checkout lane so long that I fell asleep standing up. Maybe I should consider an encore career as a customer service representative at the license bureau.”
How long have I been waiting? Well, the cello package of organic, triple-washed baby spinach in my grocery cart is now entering precocious puberty — listen closely and you can hear the little leaves pleading to get their very own cellphone, “Just like all the other baby spinach leaves have!”
A customer further back in the line complains, “What is the hold-up?”
I will tell you what the holdup is: the woman in front of me is buying enough groceries to feed the Duggar clan of kids!
Then, just as the cashier tucked loaves of bread next to a package of Tide Pods in the grocery bag — go figure! — it happened. The woman said those 7 dreaded words that cause customers standing in line to cringe: “I have a coupon somewhere in here.”
With that, she reached deep down into her purse and produced her wallet.
But wait. That is not a wallet.
It is a bright yellow piece of leather damn near the size of a piece of carry-on luggage. It is overflowing with scraps of paper, credit cards, loyalty cards, proof of Covid vaccination, pencil-scribbled lists, documents — I swear she has the entire contents of her safety deposit box!
I glanced down at my grocery cart. I have been in line so long that dark bruises are already appearing on my fresh peaches. Swarms of gnats are circling over them!
I look back at the woman. OMG! She is about to pop open the shiny snap that barely holds the leather wallet together. I better take cover because I swear when she cracks it open all her life possessions will explode like one of those successful ballistic scud missile attacks you see on CNN.
Men do not have wallets like this. We have thin billfolds. Inside we have a couple of credit cards. Maybe, a car wash ticket. No Huggies baby wipes. No department store Clinique makeover appointment cards. No tattered receipts from Pottery Barn….
It takes about as long for her to come up with her coupon as the American presidential campaign lasts. BUT THEN…
The clerk asked the customer if she wanted to swipe her store loyalty card. “You collect our points right?”
While she collects her points — I tried to collect myself!
In my cart the friggin’ Best Before Date on my California raisins expired!
It gets worse…
The customer said she would pay her bill with cash. She is rummaging through that wallet again — a small round folding makeup mirror falls to the ground. Eventually she hands over a fistful of tightly scrunched $20 bills, $10 bills, and some $5 bills. THEN, “I have the .67 cents with me.”
With that she starts foraging through her purse. This time she is searching for her small round coin purse — a little soft bag with a zipper. She fumbles with the zipper, poking around through loose change. Postage stamps fall to the ground — stamps!? It takes so long that the cashiers’ outstretched hand waiting for the coins is shaking. I am shaking!
Men do not have coin purses. We have pockets. Maybe some loose change. Perhaps a parking token. Nothing with cheep beads and an owl design on it!
“Give me a minute. I have the dime in here somewhere, dear,” she said.
Ring. Ring. Ring.
“Gary, I am beginning to worry about you. Are you still in the checkout lane?”
“Jan, what can I say? This is a fate purse than death!”