There are a number of persons behind whom it is unlucky to stand at a checkout counter. These include the lottery ticket fanatic who wants to argue about Quick-Piks with the clerk, the guy at the post office who has seventeen packages to mail, all different weights, to addresses from Azerbaijan to Kuala Lumpur, and the woman at the supermarket who insists she has the exact change, somewhere in her purse--"Just give me a minute"--and laboriously covers the counter with nickels and dimes.
Trickiest is the guy who comes up holding a single item, an eggplant or a bottle of chili sauce, and you say, "Only one thing? Please, go ahead." "Thanks," he smiles. Then when he's at the checkout, he asks for a pack of cigarettes that sends the clerk to the back room where the tobacco is hidden. When she returns, holding a package, he says, "No, not that one--the blue pack." Back she goes. When she appears again, he says, "I wanted kingsize." And so on, while the lineup behind him stretches from the frozen foods to the deli.
From now on, we're telephoning our orders. Or sending our designated shopper.