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Express Line
by Eric Miller

Feeling guilty that I had invited friends for dinner at the last minute, I told my wife I would run to the supermarket to pick up what we needed.

“It will take you too long. You're the kind of person who has to walk up and down each aisle, even if you only need one item. I'll go, it will be much more efficient."

"I’ll be fine,” I reassured her.

True to my claim, I got what I needed quickly and pushed my cart up to the checkout line, behind several overflowing carts. A manager approached me and told me to go through the Express Line.

"I have too many items for Express,” I told him.

"It’s fine. Don’t worry,” he said.

"Will you defend me if I come under attack?"

"Sir, it’s fine. Don’t worry,” he repeated.

"The manager sent me here, even though I have too many items," I explained to the Express cashier.

"Yeah, yeah, yeah," she muttered, as she started to ring me up.

"Are these Bosc or Bartlett pears?," she asked.

"I have no idea," I answered.

"I can't ring you up without a code," she said, as two customers, each carrying one item, lined up behind me.

"Ring these people up first," I offered, graciously.

"I can't, I've already started you."

"Call the pear whatever you want," I suggested.

"I might call it by the wrong name."

"It's okay. Just ring it up," I replied.

"I might charge too much, plus skew the inventory," she advised, with a look of dismay at my cavalier attitude.

"Hey, you've got too many items. Get out of the line," the woman behind me blurted out loudly.

"Yes, I know, but the manager sent me here," I emphasized.

"He was wrong. Get out of the line."

"Yeah, what are you doing in this line," a guy holding a six pack of beer yelled.

"See what you've caused,"  the cashier growled.

"What I've caused?," I barked. "Just ring this stuff up, so I can get out of here."

"What's the problem?," a different manager asked, as he approached quickly.

"This guy isn't supposed to be here."

"Sir, step aside," the manager said, taking my arm.

"No,"  I shouted. “Another manager told me to come here. You people don’t know what you’re doing.”

"You people?," the manager said, glaring.

"You people?," the cashier said, scowling.

"You people?," everyone in line shouted.

"Yes, you people," I shouted back, as I started to pick up each item, one by one, from my cart and hand it to the cashier. "This is a Forelle pear; ring it up. This is a MacIntosh apple; ring it up. This is endive; ring it up. The Latin name for this plant  is 'Leafusupyoursius'; ring it up."

"Sir," a woman in the adjacent aisle said, smiling: "The plant is an Aspidistra. Would you like me to tell the cashier what to do with it?"

I waved to her appreciatively as I was dragged out of the store.