There’s a Safeway not far from my house. It’s important because they have a much better and more reasonably priced ice cream selection than other grocery stores that are probably a bit closer. And as I found out yesterday the excitement isn’t left behind when you walk in the doors.
I get into line at the checkout. Not the express because this one was shorter. Paying at the time I dump my stuff on the counter is a youngish native woman, probably in her early twenties. Just in front of me is a forty-something year old skinny black guy buying a big jug of water.
Now I have my headphones in because I don’t have to be interacting with people at this point. But I slip them out when the girl who was paying and the cashier start having a bit of a discussion culminating in the girl stalking back through the line past me and out to where they keep the chocolate bars. I was a bit confused, not having heard what happened, but then she goes back to the payment part of the counter, brow all furrowed. She and the cashier start talking again and the cashier gives the “I’m sorry, but you’re wrong” kind of polite look you need if you work in retail and have a backbone.
The guy in front of me in line, he’s not constrained by politeness though, and he’s pissed off. He goes to the native woman (in a great Caribbean accent), “Why you gotta lie all the time? Everyone can see what you’re tryin’ and it ain’t gonna work. That’s why no one wants you around.” She turns to him and is all “Why don’t you mind your fuckin’ business?” While he goes on about how he’s sick of watching “you guys” lie and steal all the time, the cashier calls security.
The security guy (a portly young black guy) wanders over, holding a cup of coffee, in a laid back “what’s with all the feudin’ and a fussin’” kind of attitude. The native woman has by then taken her groceries and left, but the black guy in front of me is still pissed. He’s ignoring the security guy and talking to the cashier, giving her his support. “She gave you tens, not twenties. Lying stupid woman, it makes me so mad!” The cashier, who’s a small Filipino woman, is bemused by the whole thing and tries to reassure the guy that it wasn’t a big deal. “She does that all the time,” she tells him.
At that point the guy is trying to buy his water, and the security guy is still trying to get a handle on the situation. “So buddy, was that your wife?” The cashier and I both laugh, and the angry guy turns to the security guy, “You think I’m that dumb? I’ve been in this country 22 years and I know better! You must think I’m really dumb don’t you? I know a few things!” The security guy is saying “Well it’s over, why don’t we all calm down?” but the guy is still outraged at the injustice of it all as he leaves.
Then I get up to pay for my groceries and the cashier apologizes. “No problem” I say. As I take my stuff she tells me to have a good day and I tell her I hope the rest of hers is less exciting. And then her supervisor comes over for a debriefing.safeway winnipeg