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Relationship Butcher

I swear, Western Beef just might end up being a relationship disintegrator. Despite the inexplicable joy James and I glean from this borderland, no frills grocery mecca, we always end up in a screaming spat by the time we get out to the car. And it's because of the check out line.

Not the length of it, which is always long, or the teeming carts (sometimes two) that take eons to unload (ours never makes it up to the half way mark) or the repeatedly rejected food stamp cards or even the nasty confrontational woman who got caught hiding a ham in her baby stroller. It's the physical space and willy-nilly procedure that raises my blood pressure and tries my patience. I like order and rule following, which is contrary to WB's philosophy.

The check-out aisles are super narrow and there isn't space for more than one cart at the end of the register before you hit the front wall. So, it's tight. No one can ever figure out whether it's optimal to be in front of or behind your cart. I usually stand in front and load the groceries on the belt. Ideally, James is behind, eventually the cart and my body move up to the end where the bag person sometimes stands, James pays (I pay him back later, don't worry) and we leave unfettered.

But it never goes like this. Some freak will have two carts and leave one behind so there's an empty ownerless one in front of me and our empty behind me. So, I'm sandwiched, the bagger starts putting food in the front one, James can't pay because he?s stuck behind our original cart, and there's no room to push or put it anywhere to get it out of the way. Meanwhile, a family will be breathing down our necks, so it's not like you can back up an inch either.

As silly as it seems, this situation will always cause a fight, which is ridiculous because it's not like I have much control over the check-out experience. Western Beef is becoming anxiety attack central, and that's just a shame.

Western Beef * 47-05 Metropolitan Ave., Ridgewood, NY

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