Sunday, February 15, 2009

Domestic Engineer Guys (DEGs) and Shopping

Bad news DEGs, we have to shop more. If it helps ease the stigma, I like to say that women shop – guys buy. (Not that women do not buy. DEGs are the family CFOs - we know better.)

If you are scheduling more buying trips, you are also in more lines. I have lousy line karma. Over the years I have just learned to live with it, even while encountering enough new material for a weekly rant.

As I age, I find my patience wearing with the quick-reflex-challenged (people older than I), especially when they are ahead of me at checkouts. It never seems to occur to them to search through their purse or billfold or pants pocket to find their payment option (card, cash, or check) until the items have been checked and totaled. Only then begins the tedious task of filling in the check or sliding the club card and credit card through a gizmo that can check a card’s validity faster than you breathe. The cash-only golden oldies are the most annoying. When presented with a bill for $9.89, they will carefully count out nine dollars and then forage their coin purse, the purse’s bottom, or dig into the pants pocket for loose change. When they’ve finished counting 75 - 85 – 86 – 87 – 88 - 89 cents on the counter, they smugly smile as if they’ve just had a good poop. Not that there’s anything wrong with a good poop.

Last Tuesday I bought a few things at Target. On balance Target does a decent job of staffing checkouts. It is rare, at least during weekdays (this is DEG prime buying time – shorter lines, usually), for Target’s line to be more than two deep. Quickly surveying my options I settled on one. Wrong. I failed to notice the shopper at the register slowly pulling one-dollar bills out of the bottom of a piggy bank. I don’t suppose this lady (daughter in tow) gave any thought to pulling the cash out before she left the house. No, that would be thoughtful and courteous. (Maybe she envisioned a teachable moment for her daughter – “Look honey, money flows from pig’s butts.”) I suppose I should have been grateful she wasn’t counting pennies from Porky. I changed lines, and as I walked out, noted that she was still counting out.

Last Thursday I dropped by CVS for a prescription. I thought my timing was perfect - only one drug addict ahead of me. Wrong. Again. The lady was picking up enough prescriptions to open a small pharmacy. Either that or she is medically a mess. I’m guessing the latter. Worse yet, she had a shopping cart loaded with stuff. I stopped counting at 25 items. At least she wasn’t toting a piggy bank.

DEGs with bad line karma need to learn to nap while standing.

For balance, I have great parking space karma, meaning that I find spaces within a day’s walking distance, and remember which county I parked in.

If I had a choice I would choose better line karma. When you can’t find your car, at least you’re getting more exercise.


The Mom said...

I know I'm not a guy, but I'm a domestic engineer - mind if I comment? I always carry a book with me so that I don't get upset when caught in one of those long lines. I just pop out the book on the shopping cart handle and read while waiting for the line to move. Better for my blood pressure! :-)

Kelly Piepmeier

Keith Frohreich said...

Very rational suggestion, Kelly. Unfortunately guys don't have those useful attachments women carry - purses or bags. Those bottomless pits store such things as billfolds, keys, snacks, tissues, change of underwear, and a book. Guys would need a backpack - a very skeleton-compromising attachment. We're better off trying to nap - blankie optional.

TC said...

I should have thought that all that wonderful in-line-waiting training from your military service would serve in good stead. I can recall, and retain the capability of, sleeping at the position of attention while waiting (for example) in a chow line. As for exact change counters, how do you know how much EXACT CHANGE you will need until the cashier has finished ringing up your order? Which is NOT to say that I have sympathy for exact change counters (with whom I number at times when my pocket is full of silver,nickle and copper), but ya gotta do SOMETHING with all that weight or else you tend to take on a list like the Andrea Doria's. But bringing a piggy bank to the Target just goes to prove the old maxim that intelligence is not a requirement for membership in humanity.