Three Strikes

18 Aug

Had I’d left the store without paying?

This thought gnawed at me as I sat at my desk to balance my checkbook after doing groceries.  I had no receipt and my bank account showed no pending transactions. I closed my eyes and tried to visualize myself paying, but nothing came. I grabbed my keys and wallet and headed back to the store.

To be fair, it had already been a trying morning. I left the house before eight with three goals in mind: mail two bills, make a deposit in the credit union, and get groceries. It should have been quick and easy.

But, when I stopped at a nearby mailbox, I encountered this:

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I was disappointed – and quite angry about the politics behind this situation  – but I knew there was an actual post office not too far from the credit union.

As I approached the credit union, I was surprised to see that the ATMs had been removed. Driving past the front entrance, I  wondered when this branch had been closed and remembered that I’d seen another one opening in a location that used to house a Pier One store. I drove to the post office, where I managed to drop the bills, and on to the former Pier One location, where new ATMs let me do my business.

At the grocery store, I got what I needed quickly and opted to use the self check out. Portland has a plastic bag ban, but my local supermarket has been having trouble getting paper bags. If I went through the regular lines, I had to take plastic because grocery checkers aren’t allowed to pack bags brought from home. At that time in the morning, not many checkout stands were open. I figured the self serve line might be faster.

I had one large item that required a scan by the associate working the self check area.  I called her back a few minutes later, to scan my coupons. Once done, I drove home, prepared to spend the rest of the day in typical COVID fashion.

But, after unpacking the groceries and taking a shower, I realized I hadn’t paid for the groceries.

“I didn’t pay, did I?” I asked when I returned to the self check area, my heart still pounding.

“No, you didn’t,” said the same associate, who waved off my apology.

“It happens more than you’d think. But you came back,”was all she said.

She called her manager, who had to hand enter my order from the receipt the associate had printed when I’d absconded with my groceries. As I paid, I felt my heart rate return to normal.

 

2 Responses to “Three Strikes”

  1. arjeha August 18, 2020 at 7:50 am #

    I think it is so easy to get distracted at the self checkout and this happens more often than we might thing. You did realize that you didn’t pay and you went back to set things right. That says lots about your character. I know many who would not have done that.

  2. jumpofffindwings August 18, 2020 at 4:41 pm #

    “But you came back,” says it all. We are all just trying to do the best we can, distracted though we may sometimes be. Your best was truly that. I wonder how many people realize their error but do nothing to rectify it. May tomorrow be without the drama!

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