Hi there!  I’m the guy behind you in line.  We should know each other pretty well by now, considering I’ve been standing back here with my roll of Tums for about half an hour.

No, please… take your time arguing with the guy at the cash register.  I’m enjoying all the headlines of the magazines in the rack.  I mean, who knew Demi Moore was having Pauly Shore’s lovechild?  That info will come in really useful for me at my weekly housewives bridge game.  You know how we love to gossip!

Of course, I probably didn’t need to read that same line 37 times.  It sunk in after the first 15, you know?  But I’m enjoying myself immensely, and not considering ways to kill myself with last month’s People magazine at all.

As a point of interest, however, I’m wondering what exactly a 73-year-old woman needs with 14 bottles of rubbing alcohol.  On second thought, please don’t tell me; I’m sure the thought wouldn’t do much for my future sex life.  That is, if I’m not afflicted with arthritis and age spots by the time you get done debating the fine print of your coupons.

Don’t get me wrong; I’m on your side.  You totally deserve that 5 cents off each bottle.  I mean, that’s a savings of nearly $0.70!  Think what you could do with that money… it’s enough to buy… to buy… well, I’m sure with your exquisite skill at clipping newspapers you could find something to spend it on.  And with any luck, I’ll be behind you in line again when you do!

Oh, good!  You’re sending the cash register guy to the back of the shop to check the sticker on the one bottle of purple hair dye you didn’t buy!  That’ll give us some good quality time to stand around looking awkwardly at each other while you roll your eyes at me like we’re lifelong friends.  No, no, there’s no need to explain to me your position on the issue of buy-one-get-one-free in regards to gum in exponential quantities; you’ve been shouting it at the top of your lungs for twenty minutes.  Say, what is the brand of that hearing aid, anyway?

Yes, yes, you’re totally right: customer service isn’t what it used to be.  Also, Harry Truman was a great man, children used to respect their elders, and when did young women decide it was appropriate to show their bellies in public?  And while we’re at it, wasn’t it so much better when dinosaurs roamed the earth and all you had to worry about was whether or not that glacier was getting closer?

Yay!  The cash register guy is back!  By all means, let’s discuss your 23 coupons for milk of magnesium.  I always wondered why the Penny Saver kiosks in this neighborhood are perpetually empty.

Of course, this is a Walgreens, and those clippings are for CVS, but don’t let that stop you – I’m quite certain Walgreens has a sophisticated and expedient price matching policy on $1.49 items.  I’m sorry, $1.46 items; you’ve got the documentation right there.  Would it be easier if I just gave you 69 cents?  No, of course not.  A penny saved is a penny earned… tediously.

Alas, a number has finally appeared on the cash register screen; it appears our time together is almost at a close.  Also, I think I qualify for Social Security now, so that should help me afford this one item I’ve got.  And to think, I considered throwing it at you!

Yes, I’m sure the cash register guy added it up wrong; $17.23 is way too much for only 58 items.  Of course, I’m pretty sure he has one of those new-fangled machines that does the math for him, but by all means, go through the receipt line by line as if it were a mortgage agreement until you’re satisfied that your superior mental adding skills have confirmed his ability to press buttons with numbers on them.  I don’t have anywhere to be until my lunch break ends… well… 20 minutes ago, so take as long as you need.  Don’t worry about the 16 people behind me in line; we’re all rooting for you.

You know, I’m pretty sure there’s not a trophy or anything for having exact change.  Just give him… give him the quarter and the… yes, count out three pennies and… there’s a dime, a dime right there under the…

Fuck it.  I’m stealing this.