You don’t get into Connie’s aisle if you’re in a hurry. They never, ever, put her in an express lane – there’d be a riot. I put my stuff on the conveyor, just as she walks away to wrap flowers for the guy at the front of the line.


“Hey, Gary, you need these wrapped separately?” She waves the two bouquets in the air. “You got two different girls?” She cackles at her own joke, and, luckily, he thinks she’s funny, too.


The woman in front of me, but behind Gary, is tapping her foot. Connie waves good-bye to Gary, tells him it was nice seeing him again. Gary tells her not to be a stranger, call sometime. Then, Connie focuses on the woman in front of me.


She scans the woman’s flour, chocolate chips. “Oh, someone’s doing some baking, hey? Gonna be good, I bet. And real butter, too. None of that low-fat, I don’t trust the low-fat, there’s always some fad, ain’t there, next thing you know they’ll be telling us to live on air! And love!” The woman smiles, but only with her mouth. She’s got a little girl with her. Connie likes the kids, none of them leave without a sticker. This kid’s shy, though.


“Oh, little cutie don’t want a sticker, huh? The shy ones, they’re so cute. What’s your name, cutie? She’s so blonde, look at that blonde hair. I used to be like that. But you know, I dye it, now, to get this color.” She points to her head. Yellow blonde, with 2 inches of black roots. “My daughter was blonde, like that, too. She just had a little one, 3 months ago, her hair’s really light, too. But I guess it changes, doesn’t it, you never know how they’ll end up, as long as she don’t end up a GD…” Connie looks around, lowers her voice to a whisper, “vegetarian! Her daddy’s a vegetarian, don’t know what my daughter was thinking, they’re not together anymore, of course. Those folks just ain’t right, all pale, and you know what, they even smell a little off, if you ask me.”


The woman’s mouth isn’t smiling anymore, and she’s not making eye contact, and she’s holding her money out, willing Connie to be done, to take the cash.


Another worker comes up to the till, tells Connie to go on her break, she’ll take over. Connie tells the woman thrusting the cash at her that she needs to go for lunch, she’s been on her feet since 10, so if you don’t mind, this lady’s gonna finish up your order. The woman looks relieved, finishes, points her kid to the door.


A supervisor sees Connie leaving. “There’s already 3 people gone. I’m not losing another one. You’ll wait.” Connie stares at her for a minute. Opens her mouth. Closes it again.


She slips back behind her cash register.


She smiles at me. “You know, I could stand all day in these shoes. They’ve got these insoles, they’re like pillows…”


And it’s her register and it’s her story, and I’m not in a hurry.



(Image is Checkout 1 by denizen8)


21 responses to “Connie

  1. Sadly, I’d be more like the woman with the frozen smile than you. I hate shopping so much that I just want to fly in and out. I get enough small talk about bunions and babies at work

  2. sometimes a Connie can make my day… but it’s the girl at the grocery store with the 2″ long fake nails, who takes an hour to dig the coins out of the drawer because of her plasti-claws that makes me want to get out the “whacking stick of justice”…

  3. <– Frozen smile

    If I wanted conversation, I’d go to the bar.

    (big fan of the “check it out yourself” lane)

  4. I always wonder about people like Connie… I cringe at her prejudices but pity her ignorance… and I always get upset with myself if I harbor any negative thoughts toward her because I never really know her story…

  5. I would definitely give a fake half smile and maybe some yeah’s and that’s all connie would get.

  6. I used to get in trouble working the register. I talked to every.single.person.

  7. And people always talk to me while I’m waiting in line. I have that face. It’s always, “are you related to…” fucking whoever. Bathrooms. Airplanes. Benches. Grocery store. Common face, man.

  8. SNL has a skit about Connie. Every time I see it, I’m reminded how much I like shopping for groceries online. Not only does it eliminate Connie, but my kids are less likely to get beaten when they’re not in the checkout line, grabbing at everything they can reach.

  9. This is why I only shop at stores with U-Scan.

  10. Here, her name is Miss Hattie, and she’s a wonderful little old black lady. I will pick her line EVERY time-you never know what little gem she will send you on your way with. Here’s to ALL the Connies out there-these little boxes we sit in front of make life impersonal enough. Too bad more people aren’t willing to interact face to face anymore.

  11. I was really bad at customer service jobs because I hated the damn customers.

    I agree with Connie, vegetarians do smell a little off.

  12. Yes! Thank the Good Lord for your Connie and derfina’s Miss Hattie and my Jeremy and all the other members of their genuine club out there … we’d be right miserable bastards without them. Just the fact that someone is making the effort to actually communicate; I love it. I hope I always have the patience and understanding to jump right in and share the experience.

  13. nursemyra: You get the Connies after they’ve stopped working. Hmmm, you must have some pretty long days.

    daisyfae: Here, they never touch the coins – the machine just spits them out. Lessens the opportunities for annoyance.

    Stephanie: The do it yourself lanes make me so NERVOUS! I always fuck up, and then the little red light goes off, and someone has to help me, so I boycott them. I’m lame.

    Katie: Yup, no matter what crazy shit comes out of her mouth, I feel like she’s seen things I’ll never know about.

    O.G.: That’s how I was the first 4 or 5 times I got into her lane. Now, I know enough not to go into her lane unless I’m in the mood for what she’s dishing out.

    Rassles: I always get “You look just like this guy I know.” I’m not surprised people want to talk to you. Not one bit.

    Kathleen: Oh, she’s not nearly as bad as the Target Lady. I’m not sure why I’ve never done the online thing. Probably because I’d have nothing to write about 😉

    hereinfranklin: As previously discussed, I’m too lame for those. Really, it’s amazing I can walk upright.

    derfina: Some days, I like some character with my groceries. And some days, I just want to get the hell out of there. But Connie doesn’t care, she tries to connect with everybody, and for some reason, I adore her for it.

    cdv: I appreciate vegetarians, because that means there’s more meat for me. Mmm, meat.

    la isla: Word up. It’s incredibly easy to go a whole day without actually talking to another person. Scary.

  14. Great piece, Ginny. Easily part of a story or a novel.

  15. I love people like Connie! I love that the “People that don’t want to hear it” get forced to! ha-ha

    Sometimes a Connie is too much for me some days, but I am patient.

  16. michael: Thanks so much.

    Loni: Yup, totally depends on the day.

  17. I loved this post. It depends on my mood, but I generally enjoy conversational people. I am amused by them. I actually feel like people aren’t friendly enough anymore. People on cell phones constantly talking to people they already know. It’s suddenly like strangers don’t matter at all. That makes me sad.

  18. I know Connie. Was sort of blasted by Connie-ness when she first came to the neighbourhood Safeway. Ended up with a couple of bunches of free flowers from Connie. Nicknamed her ‘Crazy Connie’ in my head. I don’t always want to get in her lane, but when I do, I know I’m going to get a big helping of personality along with my receipt. I kind of like that.

  19. I can’t seem to get a cashier to talk to me. Husband always gets them to talk and laugh. Me? I crack a joke and the look at me like I just told them I was going home to skin my dogs.

  20. Gwen: Thanks! I like strangers: conversation with no committment.

    Tara: I took the girl to school one day, festooned in stickers. One of the other moms looks her up, looks her down. “You were in Connie’s aisle, weren’t you?” Yes, you have to be in the mood for Connie. And when I am, I dig her.

    Beej: Maybe you have to play hard to get.

  21. yup, you in Connie territory.

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