When Half A Yard Feels Very Long Indeed

, , , | Right | February 3, 2020

(I drop my girlfriend off for an appointment with the promise to pick her up in an hour or so, and I head to a crafts store for some fabric. That store has none, so, checking my watch, I head further afield to a fabric store. I have just grabbed a bolt of the fabric and taken it to the cutting counter when an older woman customer gets there, literally a second before me, with two bolts in her shopping cart. I find this annoying because it would have taken the clerk only a minute to cut my fabric, and I am feeling the time pinch. Mea culpa — I should have asked to go first, as it turns out.)

Customer: *putting one bolt on the counter* “I’d like to see half a yard of this fabric.”

Me: *thinking to myself* “She wants to see half a yard? She needs a clerk to show her what half a yard looks like?”

(The clerk rolls out half a yard, and the two of them discuss it for a couple of minutes, including price and alternatives. The woman decides not to get any.)

Customer: “I’m also looking for some oilcloth, but this–” *gestures to the other bolt she brought to the counter* “–is all I could find.”

Clerk: “No, we don’t have oilcloth. We haven’t had that for many years. We do have fabric-backed vinyl…”

Customer: “No, I need it in colors.”

Clerk: “Yes, we have it in colors on the rack back there.”

Customer: “Well, will this do, instead? Is it waterproof?”

Clerk: “No, it isn’t.”

(FINALLY, the woman wanders away and I get my half a yard of fabric cut. I then head back to notions and, after searching the racks for a while, find an item that probably will do for my other needs. I’m now getting even more pressed for time, so I head right up to the checkout counter, only to find the same woman there!)

Customer: “If I use this [one-item] 20% discount coupon, will it apply to this [item A]?”

Teller: “Let’s see.” *scans her items and observes the monitor* “No, it always discounts the most expensive item, so it will apply to this [item B].”

Customer: “Well, that’s not what I want. I’ll buy [item B] next week.”

Teller: *un-scans [item B], looks at the monitor, and then studies the coupon* “Well, that didn’t work. This coupon excludes [items like [item B]].”

(The woman spends the next couple of minutes discussing with the teller various coupons and upcoming sales, and she finally concludes that she could get [item B] at a discount next week. The teller then un-scans [item B] and rescans [item A].)

(I’m watching the clock, fuming, and rolling my eyes, but holding my peace. I’m at a distance from the woman, so she is oblivious to my discomfiture, but the teller is starting to realize that there are two people behind ME also waiting to be checked out while this woman has been shilly-shallying.)

Teller: *making store-wide announcement* “Calling for assistance at the front registers.”

(A man walked up and started up a second register. He quickly checked me out as the first teller finished with the woman, who bumped me with her cart — albeit, she apologized for that — as she left. All in all, this ONE woman wasted ten to fifteen minutes of my time FOR NO REASON when I was feeling pressed for time. Had I not promised to pick up my girlfriend, I would have been only mildly annoyed by the delay and might have resorted to browsing the store till this woman had left. I only held my peace because I was mentally figuring out the best route, calculating the driving time, and still figuring that I could pick up my girlfriend without her having to wait long, which, in fact, I did. I figure the woman was lonely and wanted to visit with people, which I don’t object to, but she should be sensitive to OTHER people’s needs, as well!)

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