The Handicapped Lane


(photo by Cameron Russell)

I had never used the handicapped lane at Shoprite or any other grocery store before. I thought it was off limits to me, but the young cashier beckoned me, “Come on, I’m open.”

“Oh, I thought it was only for the handicapped. Well, I guess I fit in if you include the mentally handicapped.”

She smiled, her long brown ponytail swinging like a pendulum.

“It’s a guideline, but other people use it all the time,” she said.

“Oh, I didn’t know that,” I said.

I unloaded my groceries quickly in case real handicapped people showed up and needed the lane. It was Friday night, not a very busy one at Shoprite.

“Paper or plastic?” she said.

She had prepared a couple double bags, paper inside plastic.

“That’s fine,” I said, “or all plastic.”

I know it’s environmentally un-PC, but I need them for cleaning the kitty litter boxes.

Behind me was a heavy couple in flannel shirts and overalls who didn’t appear to be handicapped either.

They glanced at me as if to say, “You don’t belong here, imposter.” Perhaps I was being paranoid.

I wondered what their handicap was.

The handicapped lane was a lonely one, I would imagine, especially for the cashier.

I wondered how many people used it on a daily basis.

Are there other shoppers who never use it for fear it’s off limits to them too?

I try to only use the express lanes when I have the requisite number of items, but I’ve gone over by at least a couple items at times. The express lane cashiers have never beckoned me. Perhaps they’re less lonely; they seem to be an insular group, and chatty.

Express lane vs. handicapped, fast vs. slow, efficient vs. wobbly or more deliberate.

More express customers than handicapped ones, I suppose.

Does fast always win?


5 thoughts on “The Handicapped Lane

  1. Hm….we don’t have “handicap lanes” at our stores. What a great idea…we don’t have plastic bags for our kitty’s litter, either, so we have to BUY them now…so much for “progressive CA”!

    Your post made me smile…. as usual, highly enjoy your writing…

    Liked by 1 person

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