Caja Preferencia

Today we found ourselves in an awkward situation at the Metro. We picked up a couple of bulky items– a 24-pack of toilet paper, and three bottles of water– plus our usual lunch and dinner fixings. It’s a lot to carry, but it’s a nice day and probably less than half a mile to walk home. And if there is any one rule that governs our grocery expeditions it is this: never pass up a sale on bottled water. So we headed for the checkout with our few-but-bulky purchases. As long as you’re not pushing a grocery cart, you qualify for the express lane. Which is nice, because it spares you counting the stuff in your basket. Today, the line for the express lane was pretty long, but there were three cashiers so we figured it would move at a pretty quick clip.

But as soon as we got in line, the lady in front of us noticed a) the awkward load we were carrying, and b) my obvious rotund-ness, and insisted we go ahead of her. We thanked her and that would have been the end of it, but, not satisfied with moving us up one spot in line, she walked up to the front of the line to try to make an opening for us there. It was a loud and animated conversation, of which I could not grasp the particulars, but one gets the gist of it– especially the pantomime of my gigantic belly. She wasn’t getting much traction with the other customers, but she wouldn’t give up. I tried assuring her it wasn’t necessary, we were fine, but… no luck.

Finally she won a cashier to her cause, and we were sent around the registers ahead of the line to check out, probably just to get her to be quiet. If we find ourselves in this bind again– with the large items and the long line– perhaps we will avail ourselves of the caja preferencia (designated lane for the old, crippled, and pregnant) on the other side of the store. It was a bit embarrassing, but my feet were tired and my hips ached, so in the end I’m grateful.

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