and now i totally wanna read dean v. automated checkout line. :D
Here ya go dude....XD
Title: Self Service
Rating: PG - Gen - Humor
Spoilers: General (for all aired episodes)
Disclaimers: SPN & characters are owned by their various creators.
Summary: Winchesters vs. The Automated Self-Checkout Lane.
“Why do these joints always stock the pregnancy tests right next to the rubbers?”
Sam watched his brother flip through several brands of ribbed, lubricated and holiday colored condoms. There was some residual shame about the purchase of prophylactics that his adulthood hadn’t magnanimously set aside. He tried concentrating on the rainbow of soothing plastic bottles that promised shinier hair, fuller body and goodbye to split ends.
He noted that the vast array of hair care products were flanked by another aisle of creams, lotions and tonics that would bleach, burn and rip out all the other hair you didn’t want.
“Convenience I guess.”
“More like a buzz kill if ya ask me.” Dean said. “It’s corporate morality. They set all this shit up according to studies and for some reason those market dudes don’t want anyone to get laid—oh man.”
Wondering when his brother began developing conspiracy paranoia, Sam checked the section of the pharmacy Dean had inadvertently wandered into. It seemed that along side the birth control and home pregnancy tests, there was an ample variety of treatments for the untold ravages of the female domain.
Sam stared for moment at the pastel boxes of Monistat 7.
“Can we get out of here?” He asked.
Going for 48 hours without sleep made him twitchy amongst the concentrated energy of shoppers. He side stepped a cart as it ploughed like a battering ram through the bustling crowd. For some reason walking around under the fluorescents of a grocery store during daylight hours made him feel slow and obvious amongst the high speed patrons. Looking despondently at the long rows of swarming checkout lines, he took a deep breath and got ready to fight it out just like everyone else.
He turned in the direction his brother was gesturing. There was one checkout lane that was completely empty although the number on the pole above it was clearly lit to indicate that it was free for use. Confused as to why the impatient herds of consumers weren’t heading for it, he quickly realized the reason why as they got closer.
“It’s one of those automatic ones.” Sam heard the unease in his voice. “A self-checkout.”
“And it’s all ours.”
“Hey look, the line over there isn’t so bad—“
The sound of their items drummed across the conveyer belt as Dean nosily emptied the overfilled red plastic basket.
“Turn and face the strange, Sam.”
Sam had to pause and force his fogged brain to think.
“When the mood strikes.”
Dean’s cut off rule for any ambiguously defined rock stars allowed for any lyric quotations if written and released prior to 1975.
Sam glanced down nervously at the bag of assorted fruit hanging at his side. The cellophane wrapped sandwich he’d picked up at the deli felt like a lead weight in his hand. A local and unlabeled carton of freshly squeezed orange juice bumped ominously against his thigh. The automated check out service waited silently as Dean picked which language in which he desired to proceed. With a small sigh, Sam resignedly placed all his freakish and barcode-less items next to everything else.
Hello! Please swipe your coupon card or simply begin scanning your purchases!
Dean hefted a shrink wrapped package and quickly found the neat small square of encoded lines. It made a satisfying beep as the red laser lights through the thick pane of glass read and catalogued its acquisition on the screen above.
Please place your “DURAFLAME FIRESTARTERS” on the belt!
“See that?” Dean said as the belt whirred to life and dutifully carried the package away towards the waiting bags. “No problem.”
Sam looked hopefully at an option that appeared to display all mixed produce and other random junk that didn’t have a handy price tag. As his loose fruit anxiety eased, the automated voice startled him again by announcing to the entire supermarket what they were buying.
Please place your “ISOPROPYL ALCOHOL” on the belt!
Anxiously checking the faces of the other distracted and oblivious shoppers, he was at least glad to know that a few of their missing basics were being replaced. It had been a while since he’d even thought about replenishing their supply of antiseptics and chemical incendiaries. The last of both had been used up over a week ago and he’d been raised to own a healthy dislike of leaving any inventory improperly stocked.
Please place your “MILWAUKEE’S BEST LITE” on the belt!
He turned it into an uncertain smile when a young woman appeared to wait close behind them. His smile faltered as he noted all she had in her possession was a stroller with a dozing infant and one tiny box of instant Jello.
Please place your “TROJAN VERY SENSITIVE LUBRICANT CONDOMS” on the belt!
Sam raised his eyebrows.
“I’ve got a thing.” Dean explained with a dismissive shake of his head.
Please place your “NYQUIL LIQUID MEGA-PACK” on the belt!
The gigantic container filled with potent flu and cough relief rolled down the conveyor.
Please place your “NYQUIL LIQUID MEGA-PACK” on the belt!
“Two of ‘em?”
“It’s cheaper by the gallon.”
“Holy crap.” Dean breathed a laugh. “There’s like 1 jillion kinds of apples on here. What's a Winesap?”
“I don’t know.” Sam felt the woman’s eyes boring into his back. “Just pick a damn apple—“
Please place your “IMPORTED ISRAELI MOUNTAIN FIGS” on the belt!
“It’s fine.” Sam reasoned. “Just leave it.”
“You kiddin’? Those things are bucks.”
“It’s not like we’re paying for—“ Sam stopped at the appearance of an employee that had arrived to efficiently fill their bags. “I-It’s not like the card won’t take it?”
Dean was regarding him thoughtfully with a look that Sam recognized with dread. He’d seen it often enough growing up. Like his lingering phobia for certain adult purchases, the reproachful knowing gaze of his elders had never quite faded away.
“It’s the principle, Sam.” He began.
The baby in the stroller behind them started a soft whimper that was about to lead into a full blown wail.
“You can’t go around charging people for figs they don’t want.” Dean continued. “Hell, I’ve never even seen a goddamn fig that wasn’t shoved up a Newton. Lamest cookie ever by the way—“
“Ya know, yer right?” Sam chucked the last remaining unscanned items into a rack of discounted Entenmann's cakes. “We should go to that customer service counter right after we finish up here.”
Dean was momentarily pacified by the plan and sidetracked by the system providing a swift authorization of the selected payment method.
Please use the touch pad to leave your signature. When your signature is complete please do not forget to take your receipt!
Sam snatched the paper off the printer and grabbed the heavy bags in one hand. He left the bulky cardboard case of skunked beer for Dean.
He paused with a small grateful smile.
The customer service line was packed around the corner all the way to the mini Donut-n-Donuts and didn’t appear to be moving at all. Looked like real live humans beings still maintained the full mastery and privilege of listening to others bitch and moan. Sam hovered impatiently as his brother debated whether or not the fruit fraud was worth standing around for half an hour. The final decision wasn’t much of a shocker.
“Screw that noise.” Dean mumbled.
Sam followed him eagerly towards the sliding door exit.
Glancing back regretfully at the abandoned sandwich, he heard the courteous computer bidding him and his brother a fond farewell. The far less perkier sentiment radiating off the lady with the Jello and a sobbing kid made him quicken his step. Sam grimly hurried his pace out into the liberation of the sun baked parking lot. He decided some services were never meant to be performed by the common man. An annoying smirk from one trained and completely silent cashier was a price he was willing to pay.
Next time he’d just wait in line like everyone else.