Learn Not To Fear The Boop

, , , , , | Right | April 9, 2021

It’s the day after a windstorm and a tree has decided to fall on my roof. After all the limbs are removed, there’s a hole that needs to be covered until roofers can come to repair it. I go to the local hardware store for a cover of some sort.

The hole is rather large, so even the biggest tarp they have won’t do. Instead, I find a roll of 20×100 plastic, and I also get various nails and wood strips to help hold it down.

When I get to the register, there are two other people in front of me. The first has a dozen items and the next has one small bag of screws. The cashier there is one that I have seen many times; she’s always smiling, usually recognizes me, and greets people cheerfully. She starts scanning the first customer’s items.

Every item gets a beep until the last item, a trowel… boop! A misread. She tries again… boop! She smooths the label really good… boop! She tries to find the trowel in the inventory and has no luck, so she calls over a manager.

The manager tries everything again and still has no luck.

Manager: *To the customer* “You can pay for your other items and leave.”

I think the cashier looks a little annoyed; she went to all this trouble and then didn’t sell it. The next customer steps up with their small bag of maybe four screws.

The cashier scans the bag… boop! She tries again… boop! She smooths the label really good… boop! She tries to find the screws in inventory and has no luck, so she calls over a manager. 

The manager tries everything again… no luck. They call hardware and after a couple of minutes are delivered a second baggie of the original screws and another baggie of different screws. The original item still doesn’t scan, but the different screws scan okay. The man pays.

The cashier sighs; I guess seven minutes for a thirty-two-cent sale can be a bit annoying.

By now, because of all the extra time taken to check out these two people, there are a few people behind me, and this is the “builders” line; they all have a large number of items and are starting to look impatient.

The cashier starts with my items. She asks me about the plastic and I tell her about the house as she checks me out.

Bottle of water… beep. Three bundles of wood strips, beep, beep, beep. Box of nails, beep. Finally, the LARGE, HEAVY roll of plastic sheeting! She drags it over to the scanner, and… boop!

The cashier’s eyes widen a bit. She snatches the bottle of water back up and scans it again — beep.

She totals the transaction, looks at me, and says with smile:

Cashier: “That’ll be $13.30.”

Me: “But that roll is like fifty dollars!”

She GLARES at me, BARES HER TEETH, and growls:

Cashier: “The total is $13.30!”

Knowing better than to poke the bear, I nodded, quickly paid, and left. Even now, years later, she always grins and asks if my house is still dry when I come in the store.


This story is part of our Best Of April 2021 roundup!

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