Wait in line
‘Til your time


Every now and then, I like to do a nice thing to balance out all the not-so-nice things I do on a daily basis. One of the nice things I do is obey the “No turn on red” signs. I believe this makes up for the fact that I speed, tailgate drivers, and scream obscenities at hapless pedestrians who don’t get out of my way.

Another nice thing I do is let people go ahead of me in the checkout line if they have only a few items and I have a cart full of groceries. This makes up for all the times I “accidentally” slam my cart into someone who’s moving too slowly, knock over an old lady in my eagerness to get the last Kraft Easy-Mac, or slink away after spilling a container of milk. Clean-up on Aisle 6!

It sure feels good letting some poor schmuck with his pathetic jar of mayonnaise, Hungryman fro-din, and jock-itch cream save 10 minutes of his miserable life by not having to wait for me to unload my week’s worth of food and diet pills.

“Why don’t you go ahead of me?” I say magnanimously, with a graceful flourish of my arm to indicate not only the wide expanse of space that lies beyond my cart but also the hugeness of my heart.

Sunday was a shopping day and, as usual, I was filled with the milk of human kindness as well as a large McDonald’s coffee. My cart was extra-full of stuff for a family party: paper plates, paper cups, $1.99 tablecloth—no expense spared. Also the new Star magazine, which promised to show me the “Worst Beach Bodies.” This will make me feel better after I read US magazine, telling me how Christina Aguilera got her body back.

As I approached the checkout aisle, I saw a woman carrying a few items.

“Go ahead,” I said in my most beneficent manner. There was another man behind her, also with just a few things, so I grandly motioned for him to go ahead, too. As I wheeled my cart in, another man appeared behind me.

“Why don’t you go ahead of me?” I suggest, holding up my hand to fend off his grateful thanks.

OK, that’s three people in front of me. More than enough to ensure my Good Samaritan status. I feel pretty damn pleased with myself and can finally start unloading my stuff.

Oh, but wait. Yet ANOTHER guy appears behind me. Peripheral vision tells me he’s holding a few things, but I will NOT make eye contact. I furiously scoop up my groceries from my cart. I want to tell this guy about this great new invention they have called the SELF-CHECKOUT LINE, which is really not that hard to use plus there’s always someone there to help you and why would you choose to wait in line when you can just go do it yourself (breathes), but I don’t dare acknowledge him.

Doesn’t matter. This guy seals my fate with one word.


UGH! You can’t ignore the “Ma’am.”

I back out my cart to let him in front of me, but I can only be a Good Samaritan for so long. Sooner or later, the good wears off, and the bad emerges. Smiling through gritted teeth, I can’t help but mutter that I’ve already let about sixteen people ahead of me, grumble, grumble, can’t stay here all day, my milk will spoil, and so on. I catch the eye of the guy in front of me, hoping for some acknowledgment of my sacrifice, but he just looks disappointed that the Good Samaritan has turned into a normal, everyday bitchy person.

So now there’s four people in front of me, and my Good Samaritan glow has been ruined. By me. But I have a chance to redeem myself, because . . . you guessed it. Here comes another loser, carrying a cheap-looking bottle of brandy and a 12-pack of Bud.

No freaking way. My Good Samaritan days are officially over. I turn my back and finish unloading my cart. He is giving me the stink-eye; I can feel it boring holes into my back.

Luckily the checkout lady comes to my rescue. As she finishes with the ingrate in front of me, she says loudly, “I’d better check you out, or you’ll never get out of here!”

“YES!” I agree, “I do have to get this stuff home!” I grabbed the closest item on the belt, which unfortunately was the “Worst Beach Bodies.”

What bothered me more? The fact that the guy behind me hated me and didn’t realize what a Good Samaritan I had been just seconds before he showed up . . . or the fact that I cared what a total stranger thought?

As I drove home, I screamed at a few pedestrians. I felt much better.


There’s no waiting at humor blogs.

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34 Responses to “I Am a Good Samaritan”

  1. 1 Maureen

    Oh this is hilarious!!! This is SO me. Although maybe I would have only let ONE person in… not a zillion.

    You have stockpiled a lot of GSP (Good Samaritan Points) to scream at people for a few days now.

    Well done.

  2. 2 Alice

    That’s why I mainly let Babycakes do the shopping! Oh – and I’ve given you bonus points for being so nice.

    Alice’s last blog post..Late Night Poker-Didn’t-Even-Know-Her Rant

  3. 3 Canucklehead

    RE: poor schmuck with his pathetic jar of mayonnaise, Hungryman fro-din, and jock-itch cream.

    Considering how far away we leave from each other – how is it that we shop at the same place? Oh, you couldn’t see the bacon as it was under the TV dinner.

    ps – +2 cool points (my good deed)

  4. 4 cardiogirl

    This is like the Seinfeld episode where George wants to get credit at the pizza place for dropping the $5 tip in the tip jar. But the guy had his back turned, so George was scooping the money out again, to re-tip and be seen. But, alas. All that was noted was that he was taking money *out* of the jar.

    And he just wanted to be a Good Samaritan.

    It is funny the limits we put on Good Samaritan-ism.

    I’m the same way when I’m picking my kids up at school, waiting in the car, for the line to move. I’ll let one or two stragglers in, who clearly have gotten there late. But number three YOU WILL NOT GET EYE CONTACT and I WILL NOT LET YOU IN.

    It’s not my fault you were late. I already let TWO people ahead of me.

    Never mind that this is a Catholic elementary school.

    cardiogirl’s last blog post..The one where I dropped the ball and then tried to act like it never happened

  5. 5 JT

    LOL! Here’s one for you. I’m down to moving around on one crutch which seems to strike people as being more pathetic then being on 2 crutches. People offer to let me by, go through first, offer to help with anything and everything. Then there’s always the people who give ME the stink eye, like I just went home to get a crutch before I come to the store just so people can feel sorry for me. I had one of them practically run me over the other day, unfortunately in view of a clerk. Who promptly came to me, cooing with concern, “Oh honey, come over here and let me check you out right away.
    She opened an aisle just for me, closed it behind me so no one else could come in and I stood there all happily getting checked and grinning at the woman who tried to run me down, standing in line behind several other people, all with hugely full carts.
    Totally made my day.

    JT’s last blog post..Little things that piss me off – Part 2

  6. 6 Kathy

    In my last grocery Good Samaritan episode, I allowed a guy with 2 liters of soda, a bag of Doritos and a box of Ding Dongs ahead of me, only to be punished by having to wait for him to feed the last $0.35 of his bill into the self-checkout machine in pennies. Clink. Clink. Clink. Clink. Clink. Clink. Clink. Clink. Clink. Clink. Clink. Clink. Clink. Clink. Clink. Clink. Clink. Clink. Clink. Clink. Clink. Clink. Clink. Clink.Clink. Clink. Clink. Clink. Clink. Clink. Clink. Clink. Clink. Clink. aaaaaand Clink.

    Never again.

    Kathy’s last blog post..Clean Up in Cubicle 4

  7. 7 babs (beetle)

    I usually the one waiting in line with only one or two things! Do they let me through first? NO THEY DON’T! Do I let people with only a couple of items through first, when I have a lot in my basket? Yes I do.

    Who’s the idiot here?

    babs (beetle)’s last blog post..What treasure hunt?

  8. 8 Jay

    HAHAHAHA! Oh yes, we all recognise ourselves, don’t we? Me? I’ll let one in, two on a good day, but my policy is ‘one for one’ both in check out queues and when filtering from a side road out into traffic or merging two lanes into one.

    I like being a nice person. I do not like being a doormat. ;)

    Jay’s last blog post..The Demon Drink

  9. 9 JD

    Maureen: Thanks. I have a feeling this is
    “so” everyone! It was starting to feel like something out of The Twilight Zone: more and more people with 10 items or less! AAaaaggghhh!

    I’m gonna use every one of those extra points, too!

    Alice: Thanks for the bonus points! Dave and I switch shopping every other week. He hates it so much, I’m tempted to offer to take over for him. But I’m not that good.

    Canucklehead: I thought that guy looked familiar, but without the bacon . . . Only 2 points? Man, you must really hate American Idol!

    cardiogirl: This was EXACTLY like that Seinfeld episode! I want credit! Recognition! Acknowledgment!

    You have to put your foot down, or people will walk all over you. It’s all about eye contact. Don’t look!

    JT: Oh, that’s a great story. See, just when you think the jerks are going to take over the world, there’s hope.

    I think people tend to associate the whole one-crutch thing with Tiny Tim, who was such a pathetic little character. I hope you’re on two legs soon.

    Kathy: You have just described some exotic form of Chinese water torture. Were you not tempted to grab him, push him out of the way, and shove a dollar in the slot? And then kick him in the head?

    babs (beetle): Aw, you’re not an idiot. C’mon over to my town, and I’ll let you go ahead of me, no matter how many items you have.

    Jay: Very important distinction. The one-for-one rule would work fine if only everyone would obey it. But you always have that one extra guy who wants to sneak in and ruin it for everyone.

  10. 10 Butt Sniffing Spider

    What a good girl you are! LOL… I like to let people in when they’re trying to turn out of a parking lot, into traffic. Makes me feel all warm and fuzzy. Then I tailgate them and scream until they turn off somewhere. :-)

    Butt Sniffing Spider’s last blog post..I Guess I Swear A Lot

  11. 11 jennypenny

    Okay, here’s my good sam story. Listen up because these occasions are few and far between. The other day I was at the store and couldn’t figure out which line to get into … not that it matters all that much because generally speaking any line I get into either slows to the pace of a geriatric snail or stops altogether! It’s my gift to the world of retail shopping and I am uncommonly good at it.

    But as I dithered I saw another lady dithering too, and she dithered the opposite direction as me so I got into the line she had eschewed on the advice of her little-man of a son who was helping her. So then as soon as I was getting into position in that line, I noticed out of the peripheral that she had almost immediately rued her decision to choose another line and was coming back to the one she had originally ever-so-briefly sort of been in … only now I was there, ahead of her.

    Well now, of COURSE I put her out of her misery by graciously insisting that she go ahead of me … then I noticed that she was (is) my neighbor from two doors down! And I remembered her kid’s name and everything! So while she checked out, my girls and I busied ourselves looking at those Worst (and Best) beach pics on the cover of US … so who was the skank with the super-cellulite on the backs of her thighs? I was not motivated to open the cover and find out.

    jennypenny’s last blog post..BUT I Missed You So Much …

  12. 12 Ernie

    I actually asked Canucklehead to pick up that “salve” for me. I was pretty embarrassed about my little itch, but I know he has no shame at all (everybody knows exactly how much he “loves” bacon).

    Ernie’s last blog post..I Will Survive

  13. 13 Regan

    OMG! I just got the new Star magazine on Sunday! Not very pretty beach bodies…. *shudders* I’m tryuing out different magazines, because I want to subscribe and get a magazine monthly/weekly. I like getting things in the mail, which I never do.

    Also, one time, me and my dad were at the store and in front of us was this guy with like, 10 huge crates of oranges, maybe 50 each. And he was writing a CHECK. A CHECK. It took about 15 minutes of waiting and figuring out how many crates and how many oranges in each crate.

  14. 14 Kelly

    Thank you!! My extent of being a Good Samaritan at the grocery store is not snarling at the clerks. Ok, usually the check out person is fine because I’ve figured out who are the idiots and avoid their lanes… but those baggers! Yes, I feel virtuous when I don’t smack them upside their heads when they put a 2-liter bottle of soda in the same bag as a loaf of bread. Heh.

    Kelly’s last blog post..Collaged Words: Love

  15. 15 JD

    Butt Sniffing Spider: How are you getting past Akismet with that name? Ah, another screamer. It keeps other drivers on their toes!

    jennypenny: Aw, good for you. You have earned this week’s Good Samaritan Award. That peripheral vision is everything. The cellulite-y “celeb” on the cover is none other than Phoebe Price!, spotlighted in my “Redhead” post. Scary!

    Ernie: Right! And I’m surprised to hear that, given how much C-head does indeed “love” his bacon, he didn’t need some “salve” of his own!

    Regan: I like getting stuff in the mail, too. May I recommend Entertainment Weekly? It has a lot of the embarrassing celebrity stuff, but also has non-shameful articles, too.

    And they should just stop allowing checks at the store. CHECKS! Who actually writes checks anymore?

    Kelly: I usually do my shopping early in the AM, and there aren’t always baggers, so I’m grateful at whomever I get. Unfortunately, it’s usually that crabby old man who takes FORever and insists on commenting on all my purchases.

  16. 16 Shieldmaiden96

    I once let a woman in front of me, not because she had less stuff but she had some really cranky little ones and I could tell they were waaay past needing to be in bed.


    They rang up all her stuff, she put her WIC card through. Denied.
    Okay. This happens. Bad day. Sucks to be poor. I know. Then…..

    She whips out her cell phone, calls the person who (apparently) depleted the card, and screams at him. The word F___ was featured prominently. We’re all sort of standing there like a deer in headlights.

    I backed out and got in another line but I could still hear her shrieking into the phone. I see her in town all the time and always have that instant of fear that she’s going to start yelling at any moment.

    Shieldmaiden96′s last blog post..Innapropriate Laughter, The Best Medicine

  17. 17 Lori

    While living in south Florida, I was unaware of the rule – You let no one in front of you in line, EVER!

    I was at the store and had a cartful of stuff. So I let this lady in front of me since she only had a couple of things. She could not believe that I would do such a thing. Did she say Thank You? NO!!! While moving in front of me, she said “You must not be from around here…”

  18. 18 Gizmo

    I let people ahead of me now and then but what really gets my goat (and I really do have goats) is people in the 10 items or less checkout aisle with 50 items! They get the steamy eye in the back of their head, lemme tell ya and I make it very obvious that I am glaring at them. One day I had had enough and complained to the cashier after the offender left (yes I was a chicken that day, probably because I was so furious I would have killed her) and she said they can’t turn anyone away. As I was walking out of the store, there she was, and then,I did say something. “Maybe you need to learn to count lady!” I blurted out and walked off in a huff..

  19. 19 Natural

    dang you are nice, i wish i could follow you around from store to store so i could get in front of you. i do let people get in front of me, but i haven’t lately. even old ladies are pushing me around in grocery stores and causing arguments. i need to get in line so i can get out of there before someone pulls out a cane on me.

    when waiting in line someone once said i don’t need to be first, just next. lol

    Natural’s last blog post..How to Get Out and Stay Out of Debt Book Giveaway

  20. 20 Regan

    Well, my parents already get the EW. I just like getting things addressed to me. =) Like Cat Fancy. I won’t read it though. I’ll look at the pictures!

  21. 21 Daisy the Curly Cat

    I am pretty sure the Good Samaritan code of conduct states that you only have to allow THREE people in front of you in line. After that, it is okay to become a Bad Samaritan. Also, you should allow anyone buying bags of cat treats to step to the head of the line. In case there is a treat emergency.

    Daisy the Curly Cat’s last blog post..Tattle Tail Tuesday: My Mommie done a bad, bad thing!

  22. 22 JD

    Shieldmaiden96: Oh, man. Why are people like that allowed out in public, never mind allowed to have kids? No wonder they were cranky.

    Lori: That’s funny! Well, I guess you learned pretty quickly.

    windyridge: That gets my goat too, and I don’t even have goats! That’s interesting that the checkout people aren’t allowed to turn anyone away. I always kinda felt like it was their fault—that people were always going to try to take advantage, and it was up to the checkout person to draw the line.

    We live in a society, people! There are rules!

    Natural: Heh. You can follow me around! I’ll let you ahead of me exactly 3 times, tho, and that’s IT!

    Regan: Well, of course! The pictures are the only reason I “read” Star and US. Maybe I should subscribe to Cat Fancy…

    Daisy the Curly Cat: You are as wise as you are beautiful. Treat emergencies overrule any other checkout line behavior. I wouldn’t dream of delaying anyone with cat treats.

  23. 23 Jeff

    Oh, this is too funny. I haven’t heard anyone speak magnanimously in ages!

    Although that reminds me of a few weeks ago at a nightclub I was playing at, when I heard a guy speaking cro-magnonously around closing time.

  24. 24 Dave

    I was once the guy a good samaritan let go ahead of them.

    I had two items in my hand, one of which would not scan. I turned to said samaritan and sheepishly apologized as the clerk called in a runner to verify the price that I had told her it was, having previously committed it to memory.

    Having taken a course in time management, I informed the clerk that I needed smokes too, and she could get them now while we waited. No dice. She waited until the runner came back, and sent him on a cigarette run.

    By now four people were in line behind me and the now not-so-good samaritan, turned to say to them, “Can you believe I let this guy go ahead of me…jerk” I tried to lighten the mood by saying, “This kinda thing happens to me every time I shop.” By the look of hatred and murderous rage on their faces I could tell my witty banter was not going to fly.

    Now the clerk, a possible witness to my murder, holds the cigarettes up and says, “Do you have any I.D.?” Everyone in line simutaniously gasped and began plotting my demise.

    Now I’m forty and didn’t at all take this as a compliment, so I handed her my Three Stooges Curly novelty I.D.with California on the top and she studied it carefully for what seemed like an eternity and says, “Sir, there’s a problem with this I.D.” I said “What now?”. she says “How long have you lived in Pennslyvania?” I say “all my life” she says “you’re going to have to get this changed over to PA, but I’ll let you go this time” I bolted out of the market as the woman screamed at the clerk that she was a moron and had just had a Three Stooge I.D. in her hand. Oh, did I mention it was the Express Lane?

    Dave’s last blog post..Balloon Leaves Without Deflated Jumper

  25. 25 MarketingDeviant

    lol. Being a good Samaritan is tough business. I don’t shop alot whenever I’m in the supermarket, that’s why I don’t have to be a good Samaritan!

    MarketingDeviant’s last blog post..Isolate your enemy

  26. 26 Adult Ãœhler

    You have a wicked sense of humour. Nice post.

  27. 27 JD

    Jeff: You have outdone me, sir! “cro-magnonously”? Good grief!

    Dave: That is a great story—because it happened to you, not me. Wait, a 3 Stooges driver’s license? Oh, this is too good for a comment. Get thee hence and write a Good Samaritan post…posthaste!

    MarketingDeviant: All I ask is recognition for being a Good Samaritan. Otherwise, what’s the point?

    Adult Ãœhler: Thank you, my new friend.

  28. 28 castocreations

    OMG…this is hilarious. I think you did the wrong thing by letting the second person ahead. One is enough. =)

    I don’t even let one person in front if I’m not in the right mood. And I rarely get behind the person who will let me ahead if I have one or two items. But then I HAVE used the self scan check out. I am not a moron. *grin*

    And I too often curse at pedestrians…not to mention stupid drivers.

    Here is my question…do you obey the rule that allows you to turn LEFT at a red light onto a one way street? Those who don’t make me want to ram them.

    castocreations’s last blog post..How Much Do You Spend?

  29. 29 JD

    castocreations: I think you’re right: in the future, one and one only. I don’t care how many stink-eyes I get.

    Thank God for someone who’s actually used the self checkout! It’s easy, people! Try it!

    Y’know, I don’t think I’ve seen that particular traffic rule around here. We don’t have a lot of one-way streets. But I would absolutely obey it if I came across it. I don’t want nobody ramming into me.

  30. 30 floridagirlinsydney

    I hope you learned your lesson here– stick to obeying the no right turn on red signs as your good deeds. You give a little and they just keep pushing for more.
    Oh, just thought of an idea– instead of letting people in the grocery store in front of you– let people on the road trying to change lanes in front of you. You can do it much more often.
    Came to your blog thru Random Blogger girl.

    floridagirlinsydney’s last blog post..The Texas Blues

  31. 31 JD

    floridagirlinsydney: Welcome! And thank you for the suggestions. I have no problem letting other drivers in front of me AS LONG AS they don’t shoot to the very end of the lane that’s closing and try to get in front of everyone. That doesn’t fly with me.

  32. 32 ann of the shampoo bag

    Regan- that story about the oranges sounds like some horrible algebra problem you’ll have to solve in school next year. Yea, and who uses checks anymore. They should not be allowed in grocery stores.

    JD – I love the fact that you can purchase alcohol at the grocery store. Eggs, bread, milk, Cheese Nips, Kahlua…. In Pennsylvania, we’re forced to travel to separate stores for our liquor. One place for wine and spirits, and another for beer. Of course, you’ll never find them next to each other.

    My Good Samaritan limit is one, otherwise, I’LL NEVER GET OUT MYSELF!

  33. 33 JD

    ann of the shampoo bag: I know! I thought there was going to be a quiz at the end. How many oranges did he buy? I was always terrible at that kind of stuff.

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