So I go to check out of the supermarket. I find a nice short line - one person, in fact, who's already checking out. Jackpot!

The fact that they hadn't taken everything out of their cart yet should have warned me. The fact that the conveyor belt was bare-empty should have been a second clue.

I get there just as she's nodding and saying "Okay." Then she takes an item out of her cart and hands it to the teller.

"This is 2.99."

He nods, and swipes it. Beep.

She peers up at the monitor listing her items. This takes her several seconds - she has very thick glasses. "Squints up" would be more accurate. Finally she nods. "Okay."

She then takes another item out of her cart. "This is 1.39."

Swipe.

Beep.

Squint.

. . .

"Okay."

I suddenly have the sinking feeling she plans to go through this ritual for her entire remaining cart. I was right.

"This is 1.99."
Swipe.
Beep.
Squint.
. . .
"Okay. This is 2.59."
Swipe.
Beep.
Squint.
The cashier and I glance at each other.
We share a moment.
It's a long moment.
"Okay. This is 79 cents."
Swipe.
Beep.
Squint.
. . .
"Okay. This is 1.49."
Swipe.
Beep.
Squint.
I suddenly have a horrible thought. What if one of the prices is wrong? We could be here all day!
"Okay. This is 1.79."
Swipe.
Beep.
Squint.
Even worse, she doesn't look like she's getting any younger. What if she simply forgets a price? What if she remembers it wrong?
"Okay. This is, um . . . um . . ."
My heart stops.
Swipe.
Beep.
Squint.
. . .
. . .
The cashier helpfully says, "It's 2.69."
"Oh. Okay."
My heart resumes beating.

Finally she is finished checking out, and - natch - she insists on counting exact change. And then personally double-bagging every single bag of groceries. Meanwhile, I check out - which takes two minutes at most, and half of that is waiting for credit card verification.

As she finally pushes her cart out of the checkout isle, with me standing behind her waiting very patiently for her to leave, she turns and looks at me.

"You should double-bag that."

I refrain from saying anything that might, in the unlikely situation of her sudden brutal murder, point to me as a suspect. I mumble something along the lines of "My car's close."

Once I get home, I pick up the bag and one of the handles breaks.

It's going to be one of those days.
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