Paying it forward for a Payday

Dennis Matingly - Contributing columnist

I recently stopped at Kroger’s for a few items. Waiting in the cashier line, I noticed the girl in front of me, probably in her late twenties, unloading about 15 items from one of those little carts like mine.

She had two small kids hanging on to her, both quietly inspecting the overflowing candy bins. She pulled two twenties from her pocket. I couldn’t see her total on the screen, but because she started digging in her other pockets, what she had was clearly not enough to pay her total.

She probed her pockets, then her tiny purse, finally pulling out a credit card. She swiped it, but the card reader declined it.

The cashier was very calm and suggested running it through as a credit, which told me it was not a food debit card.

At that point, one of little girls picked up a Payday and a Twix bar and looked up toward her already embarrassed mother’s face. Mom quietly said, “I’m sorry girls, but it will spoil your supper. Please put them back.”

By now, the man standing behind me, holding a case of beer and a bag of Fritos, and muttering under his breath, leaned forward and said, “Why do people come to the damn store without any money? Jesus, that makes me sick.”

I didn’t acknowledge his comment, and I could see by the look on the cashier’s face that she had also heard him. We both also noticed the t-shirt that he was sporting, which spoke volumes about the guy inside of it.

The young lady started removing things from her bagged items while the cashier scanned them in an effort to reduce the total bill … two items, then four items.

As I watched, I thought about the fact that I had no cash in my pocket, only my debit card. There have been occasions when my debit card didn’t work, and with my luck it would happen today while this guy was standing behind me.

A second time, he leaned toward me and gargled, “This is going to take all day. She’s probably on welfare anyway and we are paying for her crap too.”

My mind raced, as I searched for an object to swing at this moron. Maybe the bottle of wine I was purchasing, or the plastic dividers used to separate orders. Maybe a drop kick in the cahoonies would suffice, assuming I didn’t fall down too.

The young mother’s total was now under $40. She surrendered her two twenties, got her receipt, and started to leave. I looked at my debit card and decided that would be a great weapon with which to attack the guy.

Making sure he could hear me, I handed the card to the cashier and told her to re-scan the items removed by the young mother. I picked up a Payday and a Twix and said to include those too, and then asked the bag boy to run the bag out to the departing customer.

I’ve never seen a bag boy smile so big.

After I checked out, I turned at the somewhat confused man behind me and politely suggested he consult with a neuro-proctologist to help him understand what just happened.

As for me, it was an additional $6.75 well spent.

Dennis Mattingly is a resident of Sabina.

Dennis Matingly

Contributing columnist