Check it out!

Published 2:28 pm Wednesday, February 11, 2009

There you are minding your business and bam… they got you. You fall for their evil plan. They manipulate, tempt and bait you with items at the check out counter because they know they can! You are in the “convenient” check out line.

I try not to give in to the corporate plot for me to buy an impulse item just out of stubborn refusal, but I am weak and their techniques are strong!

I wonder if the store’s secret policy is to purposely refuse to put out more cashiers, so the lines move slowly, and I end up staring at the convenient items displayed around me, beckoning me to spend more money.

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Add kids and it’s not only temptation alley that I struggle with but a power struggle with whiney rugrats who are affected by the “greedy gimme’s” thanks to the properly placed convenient toys.

Who gets to the cashier and thinks, “Oh! I forgot a toy! I need a hot wheels fast?” Or, how about an overly priced sucker with a spinning light in the shape of Sponge Bob? It is a money trap of epic proportions! Does the parent win in this case? Does corporate greed?

Hope you are not easily offended. If so, don’t hang out at the magazine rack in the check out line. The air brushed beauties may be too fleshy for you, and just forget reading the racy titles.

I shop at one grocery store that politely censures the covers for their delicate natured customers by providing a white screen placed strategically in front of the magazine. I always peek. Not saying its right, just saying my curiosity will get me killed one day!

What really aggravates me is that all these magazines are supposedly geared to women. At least the articles are but the beautiful cover girls only seem to entice the men to stand at the check out line with a smile on their face. Rarely do you find one actually buying the magazine. The opportunity lost is that these magazines could be educating our men with useful knowledge, like “How to romance a woman: Complete the ‘Honey do’ list and wash the dishes!”

Standing in line I become well informed of the progress of the end of the world, UFO’s and the brainless activity of Hollywood. For example, I learned how to lose weight from Jay Lo who lost 40 pounds! Except, to emulate her success, I have to have twins again! No thanks!

I do need to lose weight, and everything at the check out line screams calories, such as candy, chips, soft drinks and gum. Do you ever see fruit at the check out line? Or celery sticks? What about the economics of walking a few feet to the chip aisle to buy a big bag for the same cost of the convenient single portion bag?

In the endeavor to help us out of our hard earned cash, the stores have filled the check out line shelves with helpful items such as pain killers, lip balm, tissues, pens, phone cards, batteries, an expensive box of band aids cleverly disguised as a first-aid kit, flashlights, and warming lubricant oil for those things the magazine instructs us on… could this be a conspiracy?

Why am I complaining? Convenience has always cost us money. The trip to any sports arena or stadium can take an ordinary hot dog and exhort the value to five dollars for a piece of bread and a wiener. Does the word convenience mean, “You’re stuck and we got you?”

I think paying four dollars for a coke and five dollars for popcorn in a movie theater is more about extortion rather than convenience. Popcorn is cheap! It is part of the movie experience and should be included in the price of the ticket.

We are at the mercy of the convenience monsters of the world. I pay the big bucks for the opportunity to gain what our country loves so well, immediate gratification. It will be the downfall of our generation.

Until then, you will find me at the check out line, reading magazines, drinking sodas, beating the youngin’s and grabbing for that convenient pack of corporate propaganda. Viva la Convenience!

Tracy Williams is a guest columnist for the Item and can be reached by e-mailing