The other day we got cut off in Walmart.
That happens all the time in the parking lot. It doesn’t bother me because that is the way folks drive out there. I was cut off in the check-out line. It was Sunday afternoon and we were not in a hurry. We didn’t have much in our basket. We were walking up to a vacant register. Those are rare in Walmart. But there she was. Nothing on the belt by her register and she was standing there with a smile. I was grateful for our fortune as I turned into her line and prepared for a pleasant checkout experience. When coming up from the other direction was a lady, and I use that term loosely, with a full basket of stuff. She ran up and slammed her buggy against the register and started handing her items to the stunned Walmart employee. Wrong-Way Wanda came from the wrong direction. Her buggy was pointed in the wrong direction. She was standing at the plastic bag carousel of the check-out facility. Wanda handed the items out of her basket rather than placing them on the belt. Well she couldn’t. She hadn’t reached the belt yet. She stood there backwards, but she was first in that line!
I have now been cut off in the checkout line at Walmart.
Another nice employee in Walmart invited us into her empty checkout line.
This empty line was actually passed over by Wrong-Way Wanda. My bride was “preacher wife not pleased.” Preachers are cursed at times that we can’t curse at times. Preacher’s spouses have no such prohibition. My bride was talking loudly under her breath about the rudeness of some people. At this point I was in prayer, “Lord, get us out of here before this Walmart scene goes viral.” My bride once managed an apartment complex in Lubbock, Texas. It was late night and I was on the phone with her. I heard, “pop…pop…pop” in the background. I asked, “What was that?” She said, “Gunshots, let me go outside and see what happened.” My bride is fearless. She wanted to walk over and converse with Wanda about her buggy driving. I blocked her path by unloading our basket quickly.
We did check out and left the store before the rude, thoughtless, selfish, arrogant and not very nice Wrong-Way Wanda finished checking out her groceries. What the heck, there is no way to make the lady and what she did sound nice or even funny. It was low hanging fruit illustrating the decline of civility in our culture. I thought at the time that she might be fodder for an article. I was thinking about taking her picture, but she deserves some anonymity.
I have thought about her this week. Maybe she had an emergency. Maybe she had a sick child at home. Maybe she was late for work. You know, I am weary of doing that. Maybe she was simply rude and thought her hurry constituted a reason to be first at any cost. “C’mon man,” going backwards to a Walmart check out so you can be first in line. If she is your mom, wife or sister, I don’t want to hear from you. If you are Wrong-Way Wanda, call me, we’ll talk.
Wednesday I was in Sam’s in Alexandria. There are people still standing in the checkout lines in that Sam’s from the Christmas season. The checkout lines in that place are notorious even early when folks with Business Cards shop. I was in no hurry. Got my stuff and got in line. I was in line behind a guy who had one of those flat rolling pallets. It was stacked higher than he was tall. He had hundreds of dollars of stuff. It was one of those stacks that told he was in charge the food for a Scout jamboree or he was in charge of the concession stand at the baseball field. This dude had some merchandise. I pulled up and he saw my short stack and said, “Would you like to go ahead of me?” I thanked him and declined his offer. I said, “Go ahead, please.” He checked out and paid cash. I like cash and credit cards at Sam’s, they don’t slow things down.
The person behind me was fortunate as well. Not only didn’t I have much stuff, I turn all the stuff where the bar codes are upright. I checked out one hundred and seventy dollars in less than 30 seconds. The clerk thanked me for turning items with barcodes visible and making his job easier. I play this game to see how fast I can check out of Sam’s. It is one of my little quirky things. This was a ratio record, amount of purchase divided by checkout time.
A broad spectrum of human behavior is experienced in a check-out line. I pray that God would give me grace that when you share a check-out line with me, it would be a pleasant experience for all involved.
Can we be Christian even in the check-out line?