Jen's Law of Shopping

October 2006 - This is the month of Halloween and all things scary. So, I've been thinking about what scares me. And, I've come to realize that it's not ghouls or goblins or spiders or snakes. Well, maybe snakes scare me. A little. But, what really scares me is the consistency of Jen's Law of Shopping.

Jen's Law of Shopping states: The slowest checkout lane will be whichever one Jen gets into. In fact, some sort of rule of inverse proportions also seems to apply, whereby the shorter the line, and the fewer items I have, the longer it will take to get through it.

This rule/law/cruel joke of the universe recently proved itself once again when I went to my least favorite store in the world. I wanted to hang a picture in my office, so I needed a frame, a matte and some nails. That's it. Nothing else.

This excursion took place on a weekday, and I arrived at the store in the middle of the afternoon. As usual, the place was mobbed with people meandering through the aisles, looking every which way except where they're going. It was also very loud. A combination of pop music and conversations made for a din that was louder than it needed to be, really.

Anyway, I picked up my three items - a frame, a matte and some nails - and headed to the checkout area. About half of the lanes seemed to be open, and they all seemed to have quite a few customers in them. Then, I spotted the self-checkout area. Aha! That's usually good for small purchases.

Not at my least favorite store in the world, it's not. Despite signs which promise "Self Checkout - Fast Lane," there were fairly long lines at each one, and a majority of people had carts which were fairly full. I eventually ended up in a self-checkout lane, behind an older couple who had a few cans of peanuts. They were behind a woman who had a cart but appeared to be close to getting done.

Not at my least favorite store in the world, she's not. This woman had enough stuff to last a family of five for a week. And, she was the SLOWEST self-checker-outer I have ever seen. She was so slow that I can't even describe how slow she was. Let me just say that it didn't help speed things up any when she kept pausing to pull her wandering kids back to her side.

So much for the "fast lane." Jen would like there to be some laws about these things.

The old folks in front of me got fed up and took their stuff to the girl who was there to help people who needed help with the self checkout. I and my three items – a frame, a matte and some nails - followed right behind. I think we qualified as "needing help" - to get out of the store!

This would never happen at Target.