A Conversation With The Aldi Checkout Guy

I went to Aldi to get bacon. And I was checking out. A little high. And the checkout guy asked me something, or was about to, but then I sort of interrupted and asked him if he was a vegetarian. And he said no and I said sorry I don’t know why I asked that and he said it’s probably because I’m so skinny and I thought no it has nothing to do with you being skinny. And then I thought silently to myself is that weird that he said that? And to reassure us both I said out loud no no, I don’t know why I asked that. He had already finished scanning the items, and a lady was in line behind me, but I didn’t notice as much as I should have so I maintained eye contact and asked him what he was going to ask me. What were you saying before I interrupted, I asked. 

I bought bacon. But I also bought eggs and coconut oil and bananas and tomatoes. All organic except for the bacon because they didn’t have organic bacon. But they did have no hormones, no antibiotics, so I was like yeah alright sold, give me the non organic bacon. I paid for the some of the stuff with a gift card left over from Christmas. I won it at a blind gift exchange with my family, the night after Christmas and the night before I got the stomach flu. I didn’t bring a gift for the gift exchange because I think the last thing anyone needs is more shit they don’t need, but my sisters or dad or his wife or somebody I can’t remember who brought a gift for me to play with anyway. And that’s how I got this Aldi card and I used a couple bucks the other day and finished it today with the non organic bacon and stuff. 

When the vegetarian guy said the card is finished, he then asked me if I wanted him to to throw it out. I said yes please. And he said okay and then he said whatever the remaining balance owed was. And I slid my card but the card slider thing just beeped and he pointed to the card machine and said slide your card again and made a face kind of like he was surprised the card machine was acting up. I say kind of because he didn’t like 100% surprised, just polite, faking polite, because this probably happens to every other customer because the card slider machine is probably overworked and so you probably have to slide it a certain way and he’s probably just being polite letting me fail a few times before I look up stupidly and he can rescue the situation and save face. So I slide a few more times, and eventually get it, and meanwhile he asks me the question he was going to ask me before I interrupted him and asked about him being a vegan. Or vegetarian. He shrugged and then shrugsaid I was going to ask how your New Years was. And like I said I’m still a little high so my mind is ping ponging through neuro circuitry and I remember that I asked a girl I gave a massage to a similar question right before I gave her a thai massage, which I rarely do, I rarely/never engage in conversation during a massage but I felt comfortable so I asked, but I didn’t ask about New Years, I asked how her Christmas was, and for some reason I asked her to limit her answer to three or four or nine words, and she said grateful. I’m grateful for Christmas, and I told the vegan vegetarian guy this, and I said that was suuuuuch a good response, and I felt a little weird, because the vegan guy did the polite enthusiasm again, I felt maybe he felt a little weird because my story really didn’t answer his question, but he smiled after I told him about the grateful girl and the smile seemed semi genuine, but like I said how can you tell?

I think I still may be a little high or tired but I already took a nap and I just swam for 45 minutes. I swam a mile and even did some sprinting so you would think it would be all out of there.

But okay the crazy part about the Aldi interaction was the next customer. Man what a trip. Like jesus people you have to get with the times before you go out in public. This lady was like from the 1960s, one of these heinous nasty white ladies you see from the documentaries about how fucked black people were in the confederate south, you know those stuffy white ladies with skirts and weird poofy hair? I guess documentaries focus on how heinous the men were, like the KKK and the police, but imagine that egregious egotism inside a woman okay? Yeah that was her and she was checking out behind me with this paper ice cream tub and it looked a little bit skinny on the side so she said son give me dollar off for this here ice cream and she shook her head and said I can’t have that. And the vegan said sorry ma’am the best I can do is offer you a different ice cream but I can’t give you a dollar off because we’re not allowed to lower the prices on items. And 1960s shook her head like she was very disappointed and she said no I want this one, I don’t want a different one. Real violence in her voice, but without the violence. All under the surface. That's how southern white people were in the 1960s. So real defiant, but without any trace of anger, she said no I just want a dollar off because this here ain’t worth it and then she shook her head more and I was lingering watching, stacking my eggs and tomatoes and bananas and bacon in my hands, fumbling my receipt and keys and little duct tape thing I call a wallet. And also like I said I was still a smidgeon high so I was probably lingering too long, but that 1960s lady man.

So the woman said boy go run back there and get me a new one then. She actually said boy. Like are you nuts lady? That’d be like me calling you 1960s lady. Jesus. But then the tall vegan dude bounced up. He didn’t run but he walked back there, and then I snapped out of it and left, looking over my shoulder, talk-curse-mumbling under my breath, saying to myself what a trip. This lady. What is she the goddamn Aldi royalty? Coming into the store and feeling so entitled. If I were the tall vegan guy I would told her straight up. No ice cream for you! No ice cream! 

On the drive home I was still in disbelief and time and emotions and memory were shifting back and forth like this thing had just happened and was still happening so I went on Instagram live because everybody keeps saying social media is huugggge and I told the story i just wrote here except I was telling it and it was on video and you know you can see yourself while you’re recording and I was like ugh I don’t look that good, my hair is matted, and I’ve been wearing the same sweatshirt and neon hat I’ve been wearing the last three days, and i was like jesus ry what are you doing with your life?

During this surge of despair and self-loathing, the dog kept sniffing the bacon, because the dog was in the car too, and I told him no and then I put the phone down because my dad was calling and I don’t know what happened to the Instagram video but I pressed the green button and my dad’s voice came on and then I got home finally and unloaded the groceries and fried four pieces of bacon and then I napped and then swam and here we are.