The Long Checkout
by Will Bailey
I’m checking out. No, I’m not quitting my job and starting a mushroom farm in Vermont — that folded months ago due to a deranged cow that ate an entire season’s worth of baby bellas — I’m in the checkout line at the supermarket, my least favorite place in the entire universe. Why do I have such negative associations with a seemingly mundane entity? [puts on top hat, sashays down glittering staircase] “Because a-that’s…how…comedy works!” For starters, the checkout line is like the airport terminal of the grocery store. Its entire economy revolves around one, infallible principle: you cannot leave. Once you are in the checkout line, you are stuck there. So what else is there to do except flip through a trashy magazine and read your horoscope rolled up into a tiny scroll? A horoscope which, by the way, is 100% accurate (because you don’t make a bunch of generalizations about billions of people if they aren’t written in the stars). What’s worse, though, is that while you are reading about a movie star who apparently has puffy eyes in morning, the poor bagger at the end of the conveyor belt is working their tail off shoving your junk food into bags as fast as humanly possible. And the worst part? You don’t even have to tip them! That’s right: our society mandates that you must tip a hotel employee for holding a door open for you, but when it comes to supermarket baggers, who work at the same pace as coal shovelers in the engine room of a 19th century cruise ship, minimum wage it is. Well, phooey!