Monday, September 11, 2006

One Banana, Please

*From the true story files of Mimi Pencil Skirt*

The greeters know me by name at the local Walmart. They don't even ask to see a receipt when I leave. They just pass me on with a nod and a wave. Small town luxury. No one wants to inspect my buggy to see what I might be hiding in the sunglasses case or egg carton (not that I would, just speculating)....... so why should I have to endure the third degree during checkout?
I've started using the self-checkout stands now just so I won't have to converse with the baggers.
I know. That's un-American.
But I have a beef with those insolent grocery boys. They alone are responsible for the midlife crisis that began when I turned thirty-one. I'll never forget those brutal words as long as I live.

"Would you like me to put that in the back seat or the trunk, ma'am?"

I turned around to see who he was talking to.


It was me alright.
I'd been ma'amed.

I'd rather hunt for bar codes on the bottoms of watermelons myself and drag it across the beep-beep thingy than play 20 questions with Gladys the Checker. I wasn't so lucky last week.

"Please rescan item. Item not found. Unidentified item in bag. Please wait for assistance."
Steel doors slamming.
Search lights blazing.
Woman trying to steal a banana.
Lock down Walmart.
Hide your children.

"Can I help you?" smirked Gladys.
"This thing won't let me scan my banana."
"Did you weigh them first?"
"Of course I did. I've never had this problem before."
"Well, let me have them. I'll try it for you."

I hand over the fruit.

"This is it?"
"You asked for the banana, right?"
"Where are the REST of your bananas, ma'am?"


Clerk sweating.
Beady-eyed suspicion.
Reaching for the walkie-talkie.......

"That's it." I said. "I swear. Search me. I don't have any more bananas!"

"You gave me one banana."

Sherlock is sharp.

"I only want one." 

 Is that a crime?? Don't I have the right to buy just one piece of fruit if I want? My banana isn't being impolite or anything. I bought ONE watermelon and you didn't question that. One tube of toothpaste, one pair of pantyhose, one loaf of bread....what's a lonely banana to you?

"Well, ma'am.....people usually buy more than one banana.".

Buttons pushed. Scanner fixed. Gladys disappears but camps out nearby watching girl with solo banana. Closely.
Now I ask you. What could be more embarrassing than having to explain to a perfect stranger why you must have a single banana in the middle of a store full of locals who want to see the prissy lady dragged off in chains?
Not much.

Unless you forget your Visa card.
"Uh. Excuse me."
"I seem to have misplaced my credit card (found later in between the seats of my car) and I have to write a check. Could you help me, please?'
Oh, it's YOU. Banana girl.

I write the check. She checks the check. I'm good to go. "Phone number please?"
Unless George Clooney is standing nearby Mimi does NOT give out her phone number in public places. Ever.
I'm theoretically, philosophically, constitutionally, fundamentally OPPOSED to giving out my personal information to complete strangers.

"I don't have a phone."
And pigs fly.

"You don't have a phone?"
"Some people don't, you know."
"Can I have your phone number please?"
" I told you. I don't have a phone."
"You don't have a phone?"'
"I already told you and the other lady. No, I DO NOT HAVE A PHONE."
They looked at me liked I'd just landed in a spaceship. They exchange surly nods and scrambled for the keyboard.

"Let's see......we have a phone number for you in our system. Is it 555-5555?"

"If you HAD a phone number already why did you ask me?"
"Just procedure, ma'am. It's our policy........Is this your phone number?"
" used to be."
I'm such a bad liar.

"So.....glared Gladys.....this is a disconnected number?"
"No, I changed my number. But if you wish, you can just keep that one in your system."
I mean really .What are they gonna do?
Call the FBI to verify my identity?
She has no idea what to do.
Manager is summoned.
Greeters are forming a posse.
Gladys is not happy.

Neither am I. My banana is turning brown.
These gals should work interrogation operations for the Army.

"Do you have a current phone number?" asked the manager.

OK! OK! I'll talk!
"Yes" I confessed. "Yes, I do."

Waiting.....waiting.....fingers poised to punch.
"But......I don't give it out."

Gladys to Manager. "She says she don't give it out."
Uh huh.
By now, I have decided that come hell or high water they ain't getting my phone number.
I asked, "Why would I go to all the trouble of getting an unlisted phone number and then give it to YOU to write on a check for all to see?"
"Well......we have to have a phone number."

"OK. Fine. I'll give you a phone number. ......Let's see....How about this, that's too hard to about....540-3333."

She is not amused.

"Are you going to give me a phone number or not?"

"I just gave you two!"

"We need a phone number, ma'am.""OK" I said. "If you insist."

Sighs of relief. Greeters are high-fiving and hoisting up their belt loops. We've broken the crazy banana lady.

"I'll make one up."
And I did.

Shaking her head, she punched the fake number into her sacred system and I left with my smushed fruit and bruised checkbook. Really.
What's a girl gotta do to get some privacy around here?


Lizza said...

Hilarious post, Mimi! The first time I experienced the local equivalent of being ma'amed was disturbing too.

I applaud your standing up for your privacy policy--even for the sake of a single banana!

Serena said...


thats awesome.

Justin said...

Too funny!

That better be the best banana you have ever tasted in your entire life.

Next time, give them this number:


It is the Rejection Hotline, guaranteed to please.

Mimi Lenox said...

Hi Lizza! Glad you could relate. I still cringe at the dreaded M word.

Mimi Lenox said...

Hi Serena! Thanks for visiting. I checked out your blog, too. Very interesting and unique.
Please come back anytime!

Mimi Lenox said...

Hi, Justin! Thanks for the number. I might just use it!

Bazza said...

I read that Walmart are devastating some small towns in America and turning the downtown shopping areas into dustbowls. They bought-out Asda in the UK, who are also very cheap but they have managed to mantain a quality image so far. To be honest one banana is a bit unusual! To be fair they do get over ripe rather suddenly, don't they?

Mimi Lenox said...

Bazza....There are several small Mom and Pop stores here that are struggling to hang on since WalMart came to town. I hope they don't cave because I love the quaint shops so much!
P.S. Well....I suppose my banana quandry was a bit exaggerated but I hate to waste ANYthing. Can't see buying a bunch at a time for little ol' me.

The Bizarre Jokester said...

Ha Ha! That was a hilarious post you put in for the Bestest Blog Carnival 1.3! Very well written!

Keep up the good work!

zorak163 said...

I really hate grocery stores, lol. Funny post!

NoMas said...

One pair of pantyhose and a banana - you could have robbed the joint! He he funny post.

Kara said...

HAHAHA, that was great!

~*SilverNeurotic*~ said...

I used to do check out and I don't think I'd have made you give out your phone number if you didn't want to. Though, I might have given you a strange look with the one banana.

Don said...

Adding insult to the injury is that Walmart keeps employees on part-time schedules in order to avoid having to offer them health insurance on top of terribly low pay.

Funny story - just the kind of thing I'm now learning is "classic Pencil Skirt"!

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