I ran a bunch of errands today and had my Christmas cards printed – got a great deal at Macadam Documart and they did a really nice job – just a plug because I almost feel guilty because they treated me so well.

But I’m not here to be nice or friendly, I’m here to make fun of the world, or at least report the funny things I see, and one of them was the checkout line at Fred Meyer today. I bought some stamps, but the cashier was short one book so I had to wait at the end of the checkout counter until someone went to Siberia to fetch it.

While I whiled away the hours, I noticed people checking out. They glance at the cash register to see if the checker is catching all the sales items, looking at their checkbook on the little stand and back up at the subtotal, as if the checkbook is talking to them and saying, “We can’t afford that, don’t you know there’s not enough money in here?”  Older women pay in cash and wait until the cashier gives their total before they fish their change purse out of their deep, dark handbags. Men play pocket pool and rattle change as if to say, “I got your money right here, baby, and there’s plenty of it.”

Except for one really tall guy who had a lot of anxiety about the whole ringing up process. He literally had his hand over his face and was looking through the fingers like you do at a scary movie. He kept peeking out, watching as item after item made its way down the conveyor belt and across the scanner. I can only imagine what he was thinking. “If I don’t look, maybe it won’t go over $100. Holy crap, it’s at $106! I can’t look!  I have to look. WHAT? $114? How can that be???”

I can sympathize. I’ve asked cashiers to double check prices because I’m astounded at how only a few items, barely enough to cover the bottom of a grocery cart, can add up to seventy-nine bucks. Did someone throw a diamond ring in there when I wasn’t looking?

I read something interesting the other day about spending during the holidays that made me fighting mad. Yes, I was spitting and clawing. If there had been curtains anywhere in my house, I would have scratched them down. You know that lady in the Sunday Supplement (in The Oregonian it’s called “Parade”) who has an IQ so high it makes Einstein look like a Teletubby? Here name is Marilyn Vos Savant (no relation to director Gus Van Sant), and someone wrote in last Sunday asking what percent does holiday spending in December represent of the total US economy. Mz. Vos Savant says that it’s only ¾ of 1 percent. A mere blip on the economy barely visible with a high-powered electron microscope. If that’s the case, why do they hound us to buy buy buy earlier and earlier and earlier?

I won’t ramble on about this topic because I’ve done it before at length, and you’re lucky I remembered I did it before because I’d be launching off into a tirade like a rocket to Saturn. This is a pet peeve, and I have lots of peeves but this is one of very few I call pet.

So I finally got my stamps – which, at 44 cents a pop are about 70% of my gross December income once I buy enough to send out all the cards I had printed up. I got such a good deal I guess I over-ordered. I’ve never met you, but you will probably get a Christmas card from me this year. In case you don’t, I’ll tell you the clever poem I wrote. If you read yesterday’s blog, you’ll know that I took a picture of my mini-gingerbread houses for the front of the card. On the inside here’s what I wrote:

We downsized our gingerbread houses

Because of the economy

But we hope you’re enjoying this season

With high spirits and good company!

Merry Christmas and a Prosperous New Year!

Well, at least it rhymes (this line isn’t in the card, but maybe it should have been).