On of the things I've been meaning to for months is to get a photo album for my mother. As a Christmas gift, I took all of her loose photographs home with me and promised I'd update her albums from 1988 to the present. Fortunately, she has a tendency to forget her camera on special occasions, so this isn't as big of a job as it sounds. The obsessive-compulsive in me wanted to get a new photo album that matches her old ones, and for some reason I thought it would be hard to find a white photo album with gold trim. I got on an earlier train than usual and I had about 15 minutes before the shuttle was to arrive to take me back to my apartment, so I ran into the Linens and Things in Pentagon City to see if they had any photo albums. Not only did they have the right album, but they had another one of those collapsible lawn chairs with the cup holder for eight dollars. These bad boys do wonders to solve the seating dilemma at my place. If only there was somewhere I could buy collapsible parking spots...
I make haste to the checkout lines only to find someone trying in vain to make a return at each of the two of six lanes that are open: lady trying to return about a dozen pillows at one line, guy trying to exchange two footmats at another. From the announcements made on the PA, both of these people needed someone named Tom to complete their transactions, so I chose the rug line, thinking it would go faster. And I waited. Nathalie, the drooling checkout girl stood there staring at the manager helping the other line. The line grows behind me. Nathalie stares. The guy returning the rugs starts showing signs of guilt and shifts on his feet. The line is eight people long. Nathalie stares. Finally, rug guy offers her to help the rest of the line while we're waiting for the manager. Nathalie rolls her eyes, turns her back to him and begins staring at the manager again. I guess Nathalie figured this was break time and waiting customers be damned.
I pointed out to Nathalie that I only had two items and that I promised I would be done before the manager finished with the pillow lady if she served me now. Remember, I had 15 minutes to spare before, I had already spent seven standing in this line. The actual shopping part of the trip took less than one. Nathalie rolled her eyes again, wordlessly scanned my two items, took my credit card and I was out the door, making a point to thank rug guy on the way.
Now why was that so hard?