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The Way Out
Short Story Day 35 of 365
Oakley popped into a huge grocery store the first time since setting out on her own. She was all of 20 and with a new job, new apartment, and now a new boyfriend, things were going her way. The last time she had been in a store to buy groceries was when she was old enough to sit in the cart with her feet dangling in front of her mother. Oakley was nervous and excited all wrapped into one.
As she explored the store, she placed items into her cart. She wanted to buy a lot of things but was afraid she wouldn’t be able to pay for them. With her cart half full, she decided it was time to leave but it wasn’t apparent what she needed to do next. There were no instruction or directional signs, so she pushed her cart towards the exit.
“S’cuse me, ma’am. Have you paid for those items?” a man wearing a blue and yellow vest asked.
“No, isn’t the place I pay for it out there?”
He shook his head and pointed to self checkout lanes. “No, you take your items out of the cart, scan the bar code on them, the price rings up on your screen, and then go to the next item. At the end, you can pay in cash or with a credit card.
“There are no cashiers to check us out? You mean, you trust us to scan all the items ourselves?”
“Most people are honest enough to do it, yes.”
“Oh, okay, I guess. Thanks for your help.”
“This adult stuff’s confusing,” Oakley thought. “I mean, like, what’s a bar code?”