The Checkout Lane

The Checkout Lane


We’ve all been there.

There was the usual chaos at the local Walmart that morning.  Five registers were humming along while four hundred customers waited to check out.

I was one of them.

I only had a single item, cane tips, for $1.76.  Because there was no express lane, I settled in line amongst the fray.  It didn’t matter how long it took—I had nothing to do and was seated comfortably in my wheelchair, so.

Besides, it would give me time to peruse the candy selection and read the tabloid papers in front of me (that’s what they are there for, right?).


I was paragraphs deep in a story about J-Lo/Jen Anniston/Britney (not sure which) when it was my turn at the register.

A friendly voice greeted me.

“Good morning, did you find everything?”

“Why yes I did” I replied, looking up to see a cashier sporting a surgical mask and latex gloves.

“What the?” I thought.  I mean, she was a haz-mat suit short of a chemical spill.  Workers at Chernobyl wore less.  Sure, a guy the next lane over was hacking up a lung but was it critical to “gown-up” to run a register a Walmart?

The place to be…for the infirmed.


I became suspicious.  Did she know something I didn’t?  Had there been a plutonium spill in the decongestant aisle?  Poison gas released in the air?

I took it personal.  Was my breath bad?  Do I stink?  I showered—okay it was yesterday, but it was a shower dammit!

And she was so personable.  Was it because she knew she was protected from flesh-eating bacteria lurking between shelves of 3-Musketeers & Snickers?

I gave her two dollar bills for my purchase then froze in terror as she presented twenty-four cents change with her gloved hands.

“Should I take these contaminated coins?” I thought.  Imagine what germified microbes were crawling on her gloves.

I grimaced as though the money was white-hot in my palm.  Quickly shoving it in my pocket.

“Thank you very much.  Have a great day” she said with a smile beneath her mask.  I know it was there as you can hear a smile—and she definitely had one.  Big & toothy.  Because she knew she was protected from….whatever.

Two weeks have since passed.  I still have all my gangly limbs and hairy flesh.  Gingivitis maybe but no sign of disease otherwise.  I’m sure the cashier is fine as well.  She should be—sterile enough to scan your Cocoa Krispies…OR…do angioplasty.

Just a typical day in the checkout lane.




4 Replies to “The Checkout Lane”

  1. Now you are making me wonder WT*

    The only thing that immediately comes to mind is I wonder if maybe that cashier has cancer or some other serious condition and can’t be exposed to germs. With the Equal Opportunity Act Walmart would have to hire her even if she had to work wearing gloves and a mask.

    Or maybe it is the other way around, and she doesn’t want to GIVE anyone any germs. Maybe she couldn’t afford to stay home from work sick.

    Everything is so PC these days, who knows what the scenario could be.

    I still also wonder how many customers would be afraid to go in her line?

    1. Margaret,
      Very good points. We will never know. I was tempted to ask her but didn’t. Maybe next time.
      Thanks for your side. Appreciate it!

  2. You crack me up Doug ‼️ Sad but true story. I think people just assume that anything ” not normal” is contagious. SMH…..

    1. Joanne,
      You got a point. I am a bit of a germaphobe and if I was a cashier at Walmart no doubt I would be “geared up” head to toe as well. Thanks for your comment!