Bungee jumping and self checkouts

Ann Kuehn - Contributing columnist

My younger son resides in Jacksonville, Florida. He is very good about calling, but unfortunately it is on his way to work, so our conversations go something like this:

“What have you been up to, Mom?”

“Actually a few of us have started bungee jumping off the Jeremiah Morrow Bridge.”

“Yeah, well, I have to take this call — talk to you later.” And so, it goes.

Bungee jumping is not on my bucket list. There are a few things, and two involve the same task — getting through both the self-check-out lane at Kroger and the Kroger gas pump, without having to call an attendant.

I am old. My car is old. We spend as little time as possible on the road. Usually a tank of gas lasts until the end of the month when my gas points can be used. With $5+ a gallon, you best believe I use those points. The problem seems to be that every month the gas pump rules change.

For some reason I always pull too close to the pump and have to walk around the car or risk breaking a hip climbing over the hose.

The pump directions ask for my non-existent pin — push arrow and then insert card to be told to try again, and again, and again, and finally directed to the attendant; or, insert card which is accepted. Ignore arrows and push number corresponding to fuel points saved. That does not always work, so back to the attendant who confirms that the rules have again changed and he will come.

While the attendant is always polite and kind, I can’t help but think that behind his facade a voice is saying, “Why doesn’t she use cabs?”

Every third Sunday, as close to 8 a.m. as my body allows, I buy groceries. After 64 years I am way, way more than just a “valued customer”, having spent enough to build a Kroger in Melvin, although Uhl’s might frown.

I shop every three weeks in a vain attempt to save money, which doesn’t work because Kroger is adept at fly fishing— how does one ignore those half-off lures?

The typical three-week bill is over $300 — moving quickly to $400. For years I fed seven people for less than $100 a month, and they ate well (coming as I do from a long line of cook-from-scratch women).

A mini basket sends me to the horror of self-check-out. It starts off well. I hit the screen, swipe my card, and the “use bags” symbol. I have given up bringing my own bags — an impossible hassle. First item scanned and popped into the never-to-decomposed plastic bag, and second, third, and fourth as well. The fifth involves produce and another bag.

Too many pictures for produce — organic or non; varieties of potatoes, onions, beans, apples, pears — I am squinting — and the screen says “attendant coming.” It wouldn’t matter if it wasn’t always the same attendant. By now we are on a first-name basis and I know who taught him in first grade.

The last time I self-checked, it went perfectly! I was so relieved! Halfway out the attendant called our,”Excuse me. You left a bag on the counter.”

Ann Kuehn resides at Ohio Living Cape May in Wilmington. She says, “I gravitated to Ohio at age 18 and never left” and moved to Sabina in 1987.

Ann Kuehn

Contributing columnist