100 pounds of potatoes, please

My husband has tsked and shaken his head while averting his eyes from me enough times that I sometimes step back and reconsider appropriateness of my actions, sometimes even BEFORE I act. On occasion, like yesterday in the stupidmarket, I have even managed self-control all by myself.

However, yesterday it was very hard not to do this:

Imagine little me, tired from a long Monday workday, pushing my cart through the produce department, hungry. I snort, take out my dumbphone, and take a picture, presumably of the hexagonal close packing of the apples. Next, you see me loading the cart with the equivalent of about twenty-five bags of potatoes, but I do so one potato at a time because, well, that seems to be the “deal.”

With the cart loaded down with one hundred pounds of potatoes, I forgo the rest of my shopping list, dig behind the ripped seam in the bottom of my purse for loose change, align my body parallel to the floor to push the cart, and head to the cashier. One by one, I load my one hundred pounds of potatoes on the conveyor. They roll around and try to get away, but I corral them in like a juggling sheepdog.

The cashier and bagger are intrigued but too polite to ask. So I keep my face neutral, too. Until it happens.

“That’ll be 98 dollars. Cash or credit?” cashier asks.

I smile and say, “Cash. I only have four quarters, and you can toss my two pennies of change in your jar.” I hold out the quarters and say, ” There’s something wrong with your scale. It’s about 97 dollars over.”

The bagger has, by now, caught all of the potatoes and bagged them up in dozens of plastic bags.

The cashier says, “No, ma’am, it says 98 dollars.”

“Check it for me. How much did you charge me for the potatoes per pound?”

She looks under her glasses at the stub of the printed receipt, breathes through her nose, and finally reports, “98 cents.”

So I go for it. “The sign in produce over the potatoes says they’re a penny a pound.”

“No, ma’am, you must’ve read it wrong. It’s 98 cents a pound.”

“Nope. They’re on some kind of super sale. Look. I took a picture.” And I show her this.


Like I said, I pictured doing all of this. And then I visualized Mike shaking his head, blowing his breath out his nose, and saying, “Laur” in his two-syllable way, and it shook me back to reality. It’s a sad reality. But I acknowledge quite an assorted list of things I cannot change (my brother’s mind, dog walkers who refuse to pick up poop, drivers who hang in the left lane) so I threw up my hands and bought coffee instead.

But, people, please. Be careful with decimals. They matter. Misplaced, they are as bad as fake news, alternative facts, false advertising, and not laughing at Melissa McCarthy.



12 thoughts on “100 pounds of potatoes, please

    1. I know. But imagine if I got them to white out the decimal. Ah, the thrill it woulda been.
      A few years ago I harassed the store manager to change an E to an O on a DEODERANT sign that drove me nuts for months. I’d walk in, get a cart, check the sign, tell the manager I couldn’t shop there, park my cart and leave (hungry). The bagger finally fixed it with white out.

      1. I KNEW there was going to be a deoderant reference somewhere in here!

        Proud of your self-control 🙂 Love ya.

    1. Glad to produce a smile.

      Perhaps they get away with it because nobody notices, or maybe those who notice don’t care, or somehow humans have reached a state where it isn’t socially acceptable to fix things broken by others who can’t understand the need for repair.

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