Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Redneck Reality: Dollar General

Once I had a friend who desperately, truly needed to know if she was pregnant. It had only been 3 months since her most recent baby was born and if indeed she was pregnant that would be a total of 5 bundles of blessings in 7 years. This friend loves children and is not opposed to more, but sometimes a person just has to know, you know?!

Because of the particular level of desperation she decided not to drive the 15 miles to a town where perhaps she could have a tad more anonymousness, but decided she would just run up real quick to the Dollar General in Nowheresville, IL.

So with rapidly beating pulse she enters the Dollar General and nonchalantly tries to locate the pregnancy tests. In a normal store, they're always near the feminine care products and non-female people never go in that aisle unless they're being forced to with clenched teeth. And honestly, even females try to leave the aisle as quickly as possible. For some reason no one ever hangs out in that aisle. You might see a friend and chit chat in the dog food aisle or even the lingerie department, but basically no one stops to talk to anyone, ever in the feminine care aisle. Ever. No one chit chats there. It's sort of a lonely, forsaken aisle and most of us like it that way.

However, at the Dollar General these products are squeezed between the toothbrushes and the aluminum foil. Or at least they were that fateful day when a person was trying to anonymously purchase a pregnancy test. After checking both right and left to make sure no one was around my friend reaches for a test thinking she can quickly stuff it in her basket, check out, and exit stage right.

For the first time in my friend's life she understands why a person would want to shoplift. She's not condoning the idea, nor is she ever going to do it. But she understands the type of circumstances that could push a person that far.

But oh no. Not that easy. When her fingers reach for a test, they bounce off. My friend, being a little dense, reaches again. Again her fingers bounce off.

Though there is a placard made to appear like a stack of pregnancy tests, they are not the real tests. And printed on said placard is a note saying "Ask for this product at the register."
No. No, no, no, no, no! What is wrong with the world?!

Thinking there must be another way around this little glitch in the plan my friend locates a female clerk who had just started stocking chips directly across the aisle. (See another thing normal stores don't do--stock food and feminine care across the aisle from each other!!!) So my friend quietly asks the clerk if she could please get her a pregnancy test. The clerk replies, "No, you have to ask for them at the counter. We cain't keep 'em on the shelf anymore cuz people just walk off with 'em." (See 3 paragraphs above)

It is now 5 after 5 pm and wouldn't you know Dollar General is becoming Grand Central Station. It is the only place to buy something for a 15 mile radius and let me tell you the place is hoppin'! Those of you who live in a city and live life with a certain level of anonymousness with the rest of the world simply cannot understand the dread this sinks into the soul of one person trying to buy a pregnancy test without the whole town knowing about it! Why should she care if the whole town knows? I don't know why it matters, but it does matter!!!

So she waits. She lingers, loiters, looks at magazines and waits for the masses to clear from the register area. But evidently she was lingering too close, because the previously mentioned clerk walks up, opens a new register, looks right at my friend and says, "I c'n help ya here."
The original line has dwindled to about four groups of people and my friend breaths a sigh of relief and says a quick thank you to God that it's the same clerk she spoke to earlier, so she won't have to tell anyone else what she's buying.

Once she's put her $25 worth of things that she didn't need but was buying to cover up the pregnancy test up on the counter she says meekly, "And I'll take that test, too."

"What?" the clerk who is suddenly hard of hearing says.

So she said again, "I'll like to buy a pregnancy test, too."

"Do you want the $4 kind or the $1 dollar kind?"

Now this is the part that even I don't have any sympathy for my friend about. Who knows what she was thinking?! Why does it matter? Why didn't she just leave and go to another store, another day?

She asks, "Well, what's the difference?"

The clerk says, "I don't know, let me ask . . "

And before she can even finish her sentence the clerk from the other lane, the one standing with her back turned, stops her responsibilities of checking people out and says, "Most people 'round here buy 2 of the $1 pregnancy tests instead of buyin' a $4 pregnancy test. That way if they don't like the results from the first one, they just take it again."

And all the people in line, and all those walking in and out of the store at the moment, and all those in the front half of the store turn to see who she's talking to.

This is the true account of one trip to the Dollar General store. Some names may have been changed to protect the innocent and those who are not pregnant with either 2 of the $1 tests or with the $4 test.


Ginger said...

I LOVE that this is now a theme! I'm really going to enjoy these posts! :)

Funny story!

AKA said...

Niiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiice! I skimmed to reach the ending. :)

Anonymous said...

Ha, Jody! This one made me laugh so much that I had to leave a reply! Gotta love small town U.S.A! :-) Thanks for my good belly laugh of the day! jill jenks

shipra said...

har har. You are hilarious. I feel your, oh excuse me... HER pain. I'll be back for more.

Becca said...

I have a very similar story about my second pregnancy. I made the same bad small town decision, choosing the local grocery store. However, I brought my test to the front with no problem. That is until the cashier rang it up and refused to hand it over until I answered her question, "Do you hope for a 'yay' or 'nay'?"

Mark & Jody said...

Thanks for all your encouragement and support! I'll pass on to my friend that her sheer embarrassment has had purpose in life! Here at the Robinson's were all about making life more fun for others! And don't you worry, I'm sure there will be many more chapters in the Redneck Reality that is my new, old life!

Amy Hubbart said...

That is stinkin' hilarious! :) Your FRIEND is a brave woman.


Kelly said...

Thanks so much for writing this blog!!! I've had so much fun reading them. I feel like you're right down the street again!!
Oh, tell your friend that this happens in large towns to! It's something about buying that test that brins everyone you know to the store!!!!

Rebekah said...

Too funny! You have such a way with words...I felt like I was right there with your 'friend' in the store. Thanks for a good laugh, Jody!