Thursday, December 01, 2005

The Aisle of Doom

I suppose the first mistake was simply setting foot in a craft store. But the siren song of the 40% off coupon lured me in.

The second mistake was that I didn't run out the door screaming when I saw the checkout lines stretched halfway back into the store. It did cross my mind. But that coupon was like the last chip in a compulsive gambler's sweaty fist -- I had to use it. (Um, I hope I didn't mess up the gambling analogy. I don't even like the slots.)

Anyway, after procuring a lovely knit-your-own too-small-to-be-actually-functional purse kit for my daughter (at 40% off it doesn't need to be functional) it was off to checkout.

And the big decision. Which of the hideously clogged checkout lines to choose? Any time spent comparing could mean several other folks (I might as well say "women," because any man going into a craft store is required to check his genitals at the door) could dash ahead of me in line.

After careful analysis of shopper to cart-content ratio, I just headed to the nearest line.

Almost immediately, it was apparent that I had a pretty good chance of seeing the seasons change several times before reaching the register.

Normally, I would proceed to scrutinize the other lines and then dash off to a better prospect.

But we all know how well that usually works -- you move to a different line and then suddenly, somewhere ahead of you, a call to the manager is required and again you're back to watching the seasons change.

So, it seems a new and exceedingly radical approach was called for. I was going to wait CALMLY in this same line.

CALM. A novel prospect. Much deep breathing was required, and the silent repeating of the mantra "40-percent."

With my new-found zen attitude, I would observe the other shoppers and take in details of the store I would never notice in my usual harried pace.

Know what? A craft store is really boring. Really, painfully boring. Even the point of purchase stuff is excruciatingly dull.

But no mind. I am above thinking horrible thoughts about which method of torture might speed up my cashier, who appears to have found a way to fool time by moving slower than slow motion.

As in all things crafty, I soon find a comrade in the lady in front of me. An older lady, with that peculiar pinkish orange-red hair color that only older ladies have. She is chatty (obvious if you know me, because I would never strike up a conversation myself in a craft store line) and shows me how she is going to decorate the artificial wreath in her cart with little felt Christmas stockings. She shows me this several times.

I consider poking my eyes out with the knitting needles in my little make-your-own-purse kit, just to pass the time.

Meanwhile, every other line is moving at breakneck speed compared to ours, and every customer behind me has bailed for another checkout.

But a commitment has been made. There's been a mantra involved, dammit!

The seasons cycle several times, and my new friend is now next in line. She leans closer to me and whispers conspiratorially, "This (checkout) lady is always slow. This is the 2nd or 3rd time I've been in her line and she's always slow..."

Now why she didn't share this little tidbit of information with me, oh, 30 minutes ago...?

But, it's all good. It's the Christmas season for Christ's sake! And from my studied craft store observation, there will be artificial greenery and faux flowers everywhere!

And really, what more can we ask for?


At December 04, 2005 7:07 PM, Blogger Merujo said...

40% off coupons from Michaels and A.C. Moore are very dangerous things. And the fact that half-finished and half-assed craft projects are deeply ingrained in my DNA doesn't help matters much...


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