Thursday, November 13, 2008

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. Have you noticed I have only one eye and half a face?

"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.

"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!"

These gals should work interrogation operations for the Army.

"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?

Parts of this post were reprinted from 2006.


Julie said...

You should have given out Jenny's number....and sang it!


Mimi Lenox said...

You are so silly.

Patti said...

That's a great story, Mimi. You and your lone banana, and fake phone number.

I didn't know you in 2006, so to me it was a new post. ;-)

Lee said...

Buying a single banana is almost like buying a single grape, isn't it? Around here a bunch a bananas last about as long as it would in the chimp house at the zoo.

Shannon H. said...

I buy single bananas from the local gas station because the folks at the local grocery store acted like it was a major crime to buy just one at their place.

Travis said...

Just think of the problems you would have caused if you'd also need a strawberry!

Michelle said...


That was a great story!

I hate the way the modern world thinks they can just demand any info about you and you have to cough up.

My best ever moment was my husband's response to a similar problem. The bank phoned him one night - they were going through a phase of trying to bully us into direct debits, another thing I don't like. They said they had a message for him, but first he had to prove he really was Alexander CrowsFeet by giving his name, birth date and card number.

Hubby said, "No, first prove to me you really are the bank."
Bank guy said, "No, first you must prove you are Alexander Crowsfeet."

This turned into a very long and increasingly tense/hostile exchange of "No, you tell me first - No you prove to me first"

Finally, the very angry bank official yelled, "I will report you for this behaviour!" To which hubby very calmly replied, "You can't report me - you don't know who I am."

The bank guy slamed the phone down... and we were never bothered again. :-D

Desert Songbird said...

From now on, you know you'll be known as the singular fruit lady, right? Would you like one grape with that banana? Or how about one cherry? Just one?

Mojo said...

I've been given more phake fone numbers than I could dial in two lifetimes. So what's their beef anyway?

But truly... I can't remember the last time I wrote a check in a store. Isn't that odd?

gel said...

Hehe, oh boy do I remember the first time I'd been "ma'md." Yikes!
Great post about buying one of something they expect more and the ID frisking... I've given fake phone #'s since I was a teen, a good piece of advice from the 'rents.

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