Around twenty minutes ago, on a quick trip to the corner grocery store:
1) smiling but slightly exhausted vibe. The 80-year old lady in front of me in the queue is buying a packet of cigarettes and a newspaper and is gonna pay with her credit card. The checkout girl asks if she has the bonus card of the store (which doesn't really give anything much in return). The old lady begins rifflling through her wallet for her bonus card, can't find it but keeps looking, can't find her credit card either but becomes increasingly determined to pay electronically somehow. The lady and the checkout girl are talking past each other a bit as they try to navigate how to get the payment in without using cash. "What's your personal ID number?" the girl asks. "Do you have a driver's license so I can use the personal number on it?" The driver card is hard to find too; the elderly woman starts to spell out her SSN but gets it wrong and restarts, and the muzak radio makes it hard for the girl at the counter to pick up her low, crackly voice clearly.
Apparently there are no other employees around free to man the other checkout cash register, and the queue is now about eight people on a lazy afternoon and growing. Things drag on for several more minutes; the old lady admits to having a mental off day and the checkout girl (new to the store) is a bit too unused to the card reader to get it right. Every attempt at various solutions fucks up again in some way, the queue growing behind us. Finally
the woman realizes she'll have to pay her small purchases in cash, but she still wants the payment to get logged on her bonus card for the shop (which she has now found at last, in the depths of her wallet!). The checkout girl agrees, but she has finally decided she has to take care of a few more of us before continuing the workout with the old woman...With a deep silent sigh inside I pay my buns, fresh fruit and peanuts and slip through. The whole incident would have made a nice sketch on a tv comedy show, but when you've got a tight schedule just a bit later in the afternoon it's not that amusing.
2) Outside the shop, crossing into the park, I suddenly notice that it's SNOWING for the first time in several weeks!