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May 27, 2006

The Snoot

I can, with great accuracy, spot a snoot.

I was standing in the only checkout line open in the electronics/computer/stationary section a few days ago with my son. Technically, you can stand in this line even if you have products from other areas of the store. It is a well-known exploit I have been taking advantage of for years because the line is usually shorter than the ones at the front. I have picked up a package of AAA batteries just so I could feel better about myself for using this line to buy the other products not found in this section of the store- clothes, automotive parts, children's toys, etc.

I was fourth in line but I could see that the three people in front of me only had a few items. The lady at the register was busily checking a large pad of data looking for something that the customer evidently needed before moving on with her own life. This process was taking an unusually long amount of time was foiling my speedy checkout. I was holding a can of carburetor cleaner but I had picked up a coloring pad for my son along with some magic markers and a box for all his assorted artistic utensils.

Too many minutes had slipped by but it was only after I realized I had watched a lengthy clip of Hoodwinked on the huge display in the huge television section of the store. Children of assorted colors were standing, kneeling, lying in front of the 20 monitors used to make up the composite movie screen. There were no parents around, obviously content in the sense of safety this electronic babysitter provides.

My annoyance with the customer was compounded by her small child who was crying in a notable rhythm, heard by anyone within 50 feet of this check out counter. A crying child, in my opinion, is the most nerve grating sound the brain can process. It is one of the many feats of intelligent design that astounds me because no matter how long the child cries, eventually, someone takes notice and something must be done, perhaps not for the benevolence of the child but for the sake of the sanity for all those within ear shot.

The woman directly in front of me, and third in line, was in her mid twenties, attractive, slim and abnormally tall for her build. I noticed that she was wearing platform sandals that added at least 3 inches to her stature. I was able to get a glimpse of her face as she turned away from the woman ignoring her crying child in front of her. Her look of disgust was outdone only by her short nasal expulsions of noticeable grunting sounds coupled with a hint of smugness. I could easily see what this woman would look like in 50 years, mouth pursed into a contemptuous but tight frown, crows feet around the eyes from all the self-righteous squinting and several other mean thoughts I whipped up at her expense. I identified this woman as a snoot immediately after I saw her profile- she had too much hair pushed behind her ear for my taste and the hair that wasn’t tucked away was pulled back tightly into a bun on the back of her head. Oh yeah, she had snoot written all over her.

The parent with the crying child, after all this time in line, was told that she would have to go to customer service. Thanks, jack hole, for making us all stand here and watch you ignore your crying kid for 7-8 minutes. The man in front of the snoot was efficiently processed through and sent on his way with his box of chocolate covered macadamia nuts, DVD, and unknown, from my perspective, a bag of something. I turned to my son who was watching the crying little girl walk away with her mother who was nonchalantly waving a summoning had to her daughter.

“That is the definition of ‘ignore’”, I said.

“Ignore?”

“Yep.”

The person behind me made a little snicker but the snoot would have nothing to do with my social commentary. She gave a half-turn glance in my direction, lips pursed, as my son started his own commentary about the small boom box on display right next to us. At first I was thinking about how she should be fucked in the ass by some black dude with a freakishly huge penis. Maybe that would get that look off her face and loosen her up in the process.

It was now the snoot’s turn to check out and I tried to get a glimpse of what she was buying but it was slid across the bar code reader and shoved into sack too quickly for my prying eyes. It was at this point that I saw God’s sense of humor and Buddha’s law of karma and the snoot was going to take the full brunt of the deity’s attention. After the snoot grabbed one of the many credit cards she had neatly lined up in a fold of her pocketbook divine intervention to grasp- her card was declined. Her upturned nose and pursed mouth suddenly turned in to a look of exasperation as the clerk handed her card back. The snoot quickly but nervously slid another card from its slot.

Declined.

She took her second failed attempt at exercising power as a consumer as a direct hit and expeditiously packed up her pocketbook and replied that she would not be coming back for her iPod accessory, which I got a look at as I place my things on the counter. While the snoot was still within earshot I made a comment to the clerk, “I know this card will go through”, as I held it up between my first and middle finger.

The snoot couldn’t get away from that counter fast enough as she made a compensatory throat clearing noise.

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