It's my turn to buy the cupcakes/cookies/whatever for a birthday at work. Fine. I'll go to the store and run in quickly and get something. (Um, it's not actually my turn, to be fair, because I got some recently but there are a number of people at my office - generally the well paid few although not all - who refuse to ever buy anything for work bday parties. Assholes.) Anyway. I run in, grab two dozen cupcakes (so pretty! so bright!) a few cans of tuna (since I'm there, right?) and head to the express, express lane right by the produce at the front door. See there are regular express landes in the regular check-out section but this is the super express lane, because it's right by the prepared foods section. Most people run to that line when they have 1 - 3 items, maybe slightly more but rarely ever reaching even the 10 item pentacle that is the line's limit.
But not the lady in front of me. Here's how my line worked out: Lady 1, like 4 things, Boy - drink, and then Cat Food Lady. At first I thought she only had a basket because she had a watermelon in it, which makes total sense. Who wants to carry a watermelon around? (At least who wants to that's not named Baby?) But her big bosom and large old-lady purse hid the real culprits: bottles of substance (couldn't tell what it was) and cat food. I see her think hard, as if debating, as she stares at her basket. I think at first it's because she's got a big bag of regular potato chips in her cart that she should totally not be eating. (I could be projecting but whatev.) Now I think it's because she was counting her plentiful items and realizing that she was putting other customers (me!) out by making us wait on her grocery line-hijacking self.
Her items: bag of chips, watermelon, cantaloupe, about 5,000 bottles of unidentified substance, and approximately 20,000 cans of cat food. In case you can't add, that's more than 10.
The real crime was not all the many minutes it took for her to load up her purchases on the tiny, tiny conveyer belt (indicative of the "express" nature of the line) or the many environmentally unfriendly plastic bags the checker had to use to bag up her 25,000+ items or even the check she wrote (in arabic, apparently, since it took her so long to get the thing written). No. None of those was the real annoyance. The biggest crime she committed was using her big bosom (I'm being very nice here) and hiding the evidence of the crimes she planned on committed. As it was, when I made my decision to stand behind her, the only visible items were the melons and fat-inducing shards of lard (chips). The mystery bottles and cat food were hidden as her mighty, mighty chest fell over the entire front part of the shopping cart and hid what was buried beneath.
I seethed so much behind her and gave so many dirty looks (with many pointed gestures at the 10 items or less sign visibly displayed) that I kind of think she got my point, but it really wasn't enough. I really, really wanted to tap her on the shoulder, kindly point out the sign, and mention that if she has more items than that and is writing a check, she might be a little more considerate to her fellow shoppers and go to a regular line. But I didn't. *sigh* I couldn't bring myself to be that confrontational, even though it wasn't really a rude comment. It would have felt wrong to die by a mad cat woman suffocating the life out of me with her moutainous jugs while she jabbed me in the eye with her readily available check-writing pen. As such, I kept my mouth shut.
Is there a polite way to tell someone they have too many items for the express lane? I've occasionally gone to the 10 items line with 11-15 items, but I always ask the cashier if it's okay and never when it's busy or there's someone behind me - I let them know I have more than 10. But I've never gone to the super-express line and expected to get away with such insolent behavior.
Oh and by the way lady, your cat's teeth are going to fall out from all that soft food. I hope you're happy.