If I weren’t so peaceful, I’d poke her right in scanner

You know her.

She’s the nameless, faceless, no-bodied voice at the self-checkout aisle in the grocery store.

She is pushy and intolerant and terse.

Not only does she yell at me to place items on the belt that are clearly rolling down the lane like a steamroller (and flattening the hot dog buns that were already scanned, BTW) but she also randomly reverses the belt direction and spits back items for re-scanning about 50 or 60 times. I get charged for each of them.


She then refuses to process in-store coupons without the assistance of a store clerk — a demand, of course, that defeats the purpose of the DIY lane entirely and causes a spontaneous angry mob to form behind me.

As they loot the remnants of my cart, poke me with their pitchforks and start cauterizing my split ends with their torches, the final insult is hurled:

“Would you like to make a donation?”

OK, first of all, who are you to announce to the world whether or not I’m giving to the local foodbank? #rude

Second, after the way you treat me EVERY flipping time I check myself out, you’ve got a ton of nerve asking me for anything, sister.

And finally, of course I want to make a donation to the foodbank, which is why I did already — several times. Once at the office, once when I rounded up my total at the fast food drive through, once via a change jar at the coffee shop. Wait, don’t tell me — there was one other place I donated. Hmm; now where was that again?

And, oh, that’s right, invisible, insolent imbecile … it was the last time I was standing right here in front of you, sweetheart, remember? Don’t you, in all your computerfulness wisdom, store that information on my advantage card or in cyberspace somewhere?

Sheesh! I digress.

Yes, I realize the auto-generated voice at the self-serve grocery market counter isn’t a real person. Yes, I realize everyone and their brother faces the same frustrating situation when attempting to use said checkout line. Yes, I’m overreacting to the 581st power.

Especially because I know the Lord loves a cheerful giver, dadgum it!


And particularly right now, as we Christians observe the season of Lent, I know that I must resolve to try a little harder to peacefully coexist with my register rival. I suppose she’s just doing what she was programmed to do. Hmpf.

After all, this is a time when I should be fasting and reflecting a lot, atoning for my failings, giving more and taking less, and pretty much just trying really, really hard to not be snarky, bad-mannered, foul-mouthed and / or impolite.

The whole purpose of Lent is to recall the suffering, sacrifice, example, death and resurrection that the good Lord endured — for me. I should be able to do the aforementioned and then some, especially considering it’s so much less than He did, ya know?

So, in the spirit of assuming discomfort or annoyance or irritation for penitence, I will do my best to:

l NOT retort with a smart remark when someone is disrespectful of the ashes on my forehead;

l Not pick up my baked cod and use it to slap the person mocking me for eating fish on Fridays from Ash Wednesday through Holy Saturday;

l Not dump my scalding hot coffee on the guy in line behind me stereotyping persons of my faith as money-grubbing hypocrites

Easy, pal. I’m trying remain genteel but Catholics are people, too, yo. Ahem.

OK, wish me luck because the next time Check-Out Cindy yells at me to “please remove all bagged items” .00000007 seconds after I complete my transaction, I may have to bash the barcode out of her, capisce?

Kimerer is a Tribune Chronicle columnist with serious self-checkout issues. Please check out her blog anyway at www.patriciakimerer.com