Dispatches

Check-Out

Thad McIlroy

Friday, August 21, 216, No Frills, Vancouver BC

A lanky unshaven guy in an old torn sweatshirt, eyes bulging, whose body seemed to twist into a pretzel every time he moved, was balancing two jumbo boxes of Honeycomb cereal, two frozen pizzas and a large aerosol can of Reddi-wip. He pulled a three-litre jug of milk out of the cooler and proceeded to drop it onto the floor, the jug exploding, milk everywhere. His female companion shrieked.

He was there again at the next checkout line, still balancing all of the items, including another jug of milk. He put the stuff down on the belt and then pushed back through the lineup and grabbed a three-litre bottle of Diet Coke, which split open when he tried to land it on the belt. The cashier grabbed the bottle before it could empty, tossed it in the trash can behind him and mopped up the mess. The man with the bulging eyes pushed his way through the line one more time, arms flailing, and grabbed another bottle. He pulled a twenty out of his back pocket and brandished it high.

At the back of the line a woman with no teeth wearing a hoodie, neither young nor old, was trying to hold an eighteen-pack of budget toilet paper with one hand. After a few moments she uttered an ugh of disgust, put the toilet paper back on the pallet and bought a gift card instead.

As I was walking out the man with the bulging eyes was trying to squeeze the big cereal boxes into regular-sized yellow No Frills bags. Progress was slow.

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Thad McIlroy

Thad McIlroy is an electronic publishing analyst and consultant, and author of more than two hundred articles and several books on the subject. He lives in Vancouver and at thefutureofpublishing.com.


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