The See Clearly Method

by cheri block

I remember a radio promotion spot that ran for several years called the See Clearly Method. As I undeimages-1rstood it, one could avoid, or even throw away, eye glasses and contact lenses after enrolling in such a remarkable program.

It all came down to concentration; the promoters promised as such.

In my case, that meant  if I had  truly focused on those black objects I saw trotting along our fence line, my ocular muscle memory would change and that phalanx of what I was sure were black Labrador retrievers  would come into perfect focus, revealing not a canine line of love bugs but rather a formidable contingency of  hairy wild boars.

Today, I wear glasses and on occasion, contact lenses, but I find the See Clearly Method helpful in navigating in the world around me.

When we concentrate with the  will power of Uri Geller and the intensity of the best German short haired pointer, we can look through and sometimes even past life’s annoying distractions. images

Case in point: I arrived at the grocery check stand the other night with a small basket of vegetables and approached the 15 items or less sign.

Like a longshoreman heaving the latest supply of imported sausage, blocks of Spam, and frozen ground beef from Korea onto the dock at the Port of Oakland, a smarmy stocky aggressive middle-aged Neanderthal (and that may be an insult to the Neanderthal) was unloading his shipping container.

All I did, seriously this is true, all I did was look up to the 15 items or less sign. That’s it. I just looked up.

With my  glance, Lunkhead and his wife, who resembled Joan Weston– a former roller derby fullback– glared at me, standing there with my petite satchel of veggies. Why in the hell is she in the 15 items or less line, they seemed to be transmitting in a long-lost primordial language through skulls that had an extra inch of bone surrounding brains that can only be described as translucent.

I looked through them, partly because he was scary and partly as a survival mechanism.

He said, ” You may have to wait an extra 3 minutes.”

I said, “That was an unnecessary comment.”

He said, ” Well, I can say anything I want because this is America and it is a free country so f_ _ _ you.” He smiled and continued offloading his shipment.

Even the romaine lettuce and small grape tomatoes in my basket seemed to jump at that vulgarity, spoken so harshly in such a lovely neighborhood store.

Still, I refused to meet his one eye, this cyclops at the check stand.

I wish I could report to you all, my devoted readers and at times, my cheerleaders, that the See Clearly Method worked.

It didn’t.

I called the night-manager who looked about fourteen years old and gave her a stern lecture on The Rules. The poor kid working at the check stand apologized for what he said was a “situation”they couldn’t control.Shop_T02030101_BannerLogos_SafewayLogo_SWY_200832

I took issue with that statement.

“If your employees allow people to misuse the 15 items or less aisle, then people like that Oakland Raider fan and his biker-woman will abuse the rules, oh and by the way, whoever planned your brand new check stands should know that if you can count items, like 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and so on, then the signs should read 15 items or fewer, do you GET IT?

Do you see clearly?

About Cheri

Writer, artist, cable television host, grandmother to four!
This entry was posted in Education, Life and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

50 Responses to The See Clearly Method

  1. says:

    Laughing outloud. I sent it onto my writer pal (of the Safeway Newsletter) She’ll enjoy it as we work on Safeway’s internal Employee Newsletter. I also forwarded it to my wild girls group.. omg, i am still laughing. What Safeway were you referring? I go to both religiously and know many of the checker well…Ha! Cindy

    Cindy Block Usedom Cindy and Partners

    Cell: 510-501-4140 Office: 925-426-3760

  2. Cheri says:

    Thank you Cindy. This unfortunate experience happened at the brand new Safeway Store on Bernal Avenue. I called the day manager of the store yesterday. She was not sure that she would insist on the clerks enforcing the 15 items or fewer rules. I suggested an audio reminder, similar to the bakery announcements that “fresh buns have just been removed from our ovens. Come on over and sample them. Thanks for shopping at Safeway” but she was unenthusiastic. I think I will go back to Pleasanton Raley’s where a “guest” is treated like a “guest,” not like a participant at Burning Man.

  3. Rosemary says:

    So funny, and visual!!! Ah, this has SO happened to me….and you are my new HERO!! At least he wasn’t wearing a gun, unlike the online photo this week of a lady shopping in the English muffin aisle with her loaded holster…new law in Oklahoma, I think!! Gulp!! I sit here, feeling bespectacled and homely wearing my 1 year old, constantly-worn, “Progressive” eyeglasses…but at least I don’t go out anymore with toothpaste on my cheek and eyeshadow under my eyes..(Tammy Faye Baker simply needed glasses, perhaps!!). I am still chuckling….thanks, Cheri!!!!

    • Cheri says:

      A real hero would have whipped out her iPhone and taken a picture of the couple. If only that idea had crossed my mind. And your description of toothpaste blops and mascara shadows is marvelous.

  4. Dan OBrien says:

    They must allow guys named Les special dispensation at Safeway….. Maybe it should read, “Fewer than 15 Items or Les.”

  5. Brighid says:

    You go girl…! I’m laughing But it is sad that common manners have taken a back seat to rudeness by foul mouthed blowhards…

  6. Hilarious! I admire your restraint! I see that your Neanderthal was the only one verbalizing 4-letter woerds. I might have been tempted.

  7. Richard says:

    Aldous Huxley, who had very bad eyesight, wrote The Art of Seeing, describing The Bates Method.

    I remember three instructions from the book:
    1 don’t concentrate too hard, let sight come naturally;
    2 don’t be too greedy about seeing.
    Fine so far, but then came a third:
    3 practise looking at the sun.
    Not a safe way to improve your eyesight, although AH didsettle in California.

    • Cheri says:

      Richard, I forgot that song. Would have been perfect to put into this post, so thank you for doing it. Anything is possible in California. We are broke, taxing everything from eye glasses to hearing aids and Hizzoner wants to move out. Our son Ben says the best place to live is Camus Oregon, across the river from Portland Oregon. In the state of Washington, you pay no state income taxes and in Oregon, you pay no sales tax.

    • Richard says:

      It’s always difficult to know whether to let the tax tail wag the dog, isn’t it.

  8. pamela mah says:

    Cheri, you are a sight for sore eyes! You are to be commended for your vision mastery.
    Thank you for teaching us to open our own eye(s) to the wonderful world around us.
    As for Mr and Mrs. Lunkhead, bless their hearts … may they see the light!

    • Cheri says:

      Dear Pam,
      At least I could see what was happening, thanks to you and Marvin and your excellent optometry business.
      I think Mr. Lunkhead will be seeing a hot light, very hot, Dantean hot.

  9. Cyberquill says:

    Perhaps you should have called the other night manager, the one that didn’t look fourteen.

  10. !5 items or fewer? Up here it’s “8 ou moins” or “8 and Fewer”. We do also have “Lunkheads” but many cashiers turn them away on busy days. Since we are not allowed to carry guns, people feel safer when telling those guys to move to another spot.

    • Cheri says:

      You are too sweet, Paul. Luckily, I didn’t pull out my brand new Remington 20-guage shotgun that Ron gave me. When the last Rottweiler, Udo, passed on and I replaced him with loveable Dinah, I needed some protection up here on the Rancho.

      I can lock and load and shoot.


  11. Brighid says:

    Did your Ben mean Camas, WA…? One of my very favorite places when I’m up at my son’s…

  12. Cheri says:

    Thanks for the correction Brighid.

  13. T E Stazyk says:

    Oh, don’t get me started. Once I was stuck in a similar situation behind a power walking executive female who unloaded her 15+ items with one hand because she was holding her phone to her ear with her other hand and berating some poor subordinate for some reason.

    BTW, I thought I was the only person in the world who remembered Joan Weston–out on the jam with the San Francisco Bay Area Bombers!

  14. Christopher says:

    How many items exactly did Lunkhead have? Did you count them? If not, you may simply have thought he had more than 15 items, when in fact he could have had less.

    If, among the items that Lunkhead was checking out, there was a bag of 24 oranges, he may have looked upon this as just one item, whereas you may have looked upon it as 24. Ah’m sayin’, ah’m sayin’ .

  15. Cheri says:

    OK Guys, here’s the response from Safeway from the complaint I left on their website.

    Ms. Sabraw:

    Thank you for your correspondence regarding your local Safeway store.

    You expressed your concern regarding the enforcement of express lane policy at the store. You also expressed your concern regarding a customer at express checkstand. We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience you may have experienced. Communication with our customers like you enables our continued improvement. We appreciate hearing feedback on all of these subjects, and will use this information in our efforts to improve operations.

    We value you as our customer. Your comments are important to us and have been forwarded to the Store Manager for further review. Thank you for taking the time to let us know how we can better serve you.

    Ms. Sabraw, should you require further assistance, you may reply to this email or phone us at (I’ve removed phone number and contact ID). One of our associates will be happy to assist you.

    We appreciate your business and look forward to seeing you soon. Thank you for shopping at Safeway.


    Safeway Customer Service Team

    • Rosemary says:

      This is so darn funny! Let’s all go do a stake out at that Safeway and wait until The Neanderthals reappear and we can confront him with various protest signs, waving umbrellas menacingly , spitting out almost-slurs! We can call the local tv station consumer reporter!
      Then again… I don’t want him following ME home….lol!
      That response from Safeway is beyond inadequate…

    • Richard says:

      Template for Response to Reply to Complaint

      [Mr ] or [Mr] or[Ms] or [Messrs] or [ other] [name], or [customer servant]:

      Thank you for your correspondence thanking me for my correspondence regarding [insert name of complainee].

      I expressed concern regarding [insert nature of complaint] and you replied. You may have sincerely apologised for any convenience I may have experienced. Communication with your customers like me enables your continued improvement. You appreciate feedback on all of those subjects and you will use the information in your efforts to improve operations.

      You value me as a customer. My comments are important to you and have been forwarded to [insert name of person nominally responsible] for further review. Thank you for thanking me for taking the time to let you know how you can better serve me.

      Should I require further assistance, I am allowed to reply to your email or phone you at [phone number and contact ID] or [phone number and contact number withheld]. One of your associates will be pleased to assist me.

      You appreciate my business and look forward to seeing me soon. Thank you for thanking me for shopping at [insert name of complainee]



  16. bogard says:

    A little late to the conversation, but, adding to the above limit problem, I typically then encounter the offending person being totally unprepared for any form of payment method; fumbling, trying to find a card, checkbook, or cash, typically after all the items have been checked. Then, the card is invalid, the check does not have the correct information, he or she can’t find their drivers license, or cash is insufficient, and the person asks for a few items to be deleted so they can pay with the cash they do have. All the while this person has been oblivious to exasperated looks, sighs, toe-taps and other assorted signs. When I get to the cashier, it’s just “sorry for the wait.” Meanwhile, at the regular counter, six people have checked out and left the store. So much for express checkout.

  17. Cheri says:

    Just reading your detail, Bogard, reminded me to avoid express checkout. Maybe there is something to self-checkout that I ought to try. I need to get over my fear of scanning my own vegetables…

  18. I’m popping in again! Or up or something. Maybe the hulk needed a little old lady with a cane and a deceptively sweet demeanor bumping him gently a time or two. And Rosemary, I DID have some guy follow me home after an encounter. I had to drive around the block twice to lose him. Scary.

  19. W.k. kortas says:

    Everyone knows that Raiders fans have an unusual and somewhat damaged DNA strain that places them a tick below the rest of us on the evolutionary scale (as an aside, I watched a special on the Immaculate Reception last night, and took particular delight in the bitterness of ex-Raiders players–John Madden even refused to be interviewed.) Since the gentlemen you encountered only uttered one obscenity, he was obviously the Noel Coward of Raider Nation.

    Have a wonderful Christmas, my dear Cheri

  20. Cheri says:

    Thank you, my poet-friend.
    I appreciate your humor, word choice (always) and wit.

  21. imagenmots says:

    A glitch in my Email software caused the loss of my address book. So I use this to send my best wishes to you, the Judge, Dinah and all yours.

  22. Cheri says:

    Dear Paul and Therese,
    We, too, send our fondest wishes that you and your family enjoy a blessed holiday season. Dinah also wags her tail and sends canine greetings to Montreal.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s