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Haiku Hijinx

We are taking a detour from our traditional Saturday Evening Post for me to share something with you. A laugh? A sneer? A rant? Why, yes. All of the scoffing laughter and indignant outrage you can muster over what can happen on any given Wednesday.

I have been very blunt about my ineptitude in the area of haiku. I watch with fascination when the haiku challenges come ’round. It has never been a format which struck me. In total, my aversion to it is odd. Why? (snide, dimpled chuckle) Because I am odd.

Yes, I am that kind of odd, but when it comes to rhyme, I prefer odd feet to even. Go ahead. Laugh. I did.

So, when I came home on Wednesday and tucked the day into bed, I picked up Mantra’s notebook to pen what follows. No one was more surprised than I to discover the entire thing is written in haiku.

No, not the sprawling quatrains and octets. No repetition of sonnet bodies without the couplet. What to hear something funny? You have been there. Oh, yes, you have. We all have. Let’s go shopping.

This is the size cart we use in the grocery.

The name of this little ditty is Check out. Precisely what you are thinking…the beeping UPC hades at the end of most nearly every shopping spree. The time when your credit card groans. The time when ill-mannered people consider you a captive audience for their drama du jour. Or worse, a hand warmer.

And your livelihood is left in the hands of a teenager who is avoiding biology homework, with designs on a different sort of biology when the shift is over for the night. How much faith do you have in the system? Me? I will let you read it for yourself.

Check Out

Standing in the check out line,
Eyeing candy shelves,
Reading tabloid headlines scream.

The beeping driving me bats.
Teenage employees’
Eyes glazed as the wares are packed.

Swipe the card once, twice, again.
Computer is down.
Sigh and write a paper check.

The bags splitting on floorboards,
The telephone rings.
“Welcome to Mobile Banking!”

“Your account is overdrawn.”
The store is smiling.
You bought three little bags,

Bread, juice, cantaloupe and cheese,
Cereal and milk
Cost one thirty-eight eighteen.

And that’s before all the fees.
Technology rules…
Only in the hands of those

Who know how to use it right.
Computer’s only
Smart as the operator.

Of course, you must realize,
Those handling your
Money are techno-challenged.



Have you ever been caught in the switches in the check out line? Ever been charged too much or too many times? Ever paid 1,288% of the listed price for something because of a scanning error? Do you agree with banking policy of “guilty until we say otherwise, proof notwithstanding”?

© Red Dwyer 2012
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  1. no to the banking policy because if you make an error it is all about them – even a refund – how can they take money out of our account in minutes,,no seconds and when it needs to come back to us it may take days..and usually does.. ?? In the mean time what happens? you bounce crap left and right because the money should have been there? arrgghh… blah. Lizzie <3
    Lizzie Cracked recently posted..OOSTA! Mid Afternoon Mental MomentMy Profile

    • Red

       /  May 6, 2012

      Yes, definitely seconds. When I called the bank, I asked them if it was plausible for me to have spent nearly $500 in three transactions in less than 75 seconds…as in three identical transactions. The ever popular answer? The computer says… I asked her if she had the volume sufficiently loud to hear how ludicrous the statement sounded. Sheesh.

      Fortunately, it took about 10 minutes for it all to be refunded. No so in the past. Normally, it takes more than two weeks for them to replace money they mis-distribute. I had to point out to them, in the 25 years I have had the account, I have never bounced anything. That helps. Blah is right <3

  2. Oh it made me laugh!
    These moments I can relate.
    So wisely captured.

    Large stores, much less help
    Everything is self serve now
    Frustrating for sure
    Phil recently posted..Music Passion – May EditionMy Profile

    • Red

       /  May 6, 2012

      I love it. I would have expected this level of gradu from a big box. Unfortunately, this is my neighborhood grocery. A place where I doubt I have ever spent more than $50 in any one trip. Not sure which makes me angrier…the deficiency of the equipment at the store or the obvious missing string in the algorithm of the bank. Ugh.

  3. Hi hun! 🙂

    We can still use cash here in the UK, but overcharging is (so I hear) a reoccurring problem when using a card to pay!

    Thankfully all the people I have to deal with are over the age of consent and competent! 🙂

    Love the poem – very true! 🙂

    Huge hugs!

    prenin recently posted..Saturday – A small lottery win.My Profile

    • Red

       /  May 6, 2012

      We can as well, but the inconvenience of cash is more than I like. Also, cash is a large expense for our government to cover a boatload of monies they should never be spending. Frankly, I wish cash was done with for good. Unfortunately, where I live, there are many businesses which belong better in the 19th century. I have had to resort to using and carrying cash for the first time in nearly two decades.

      *giggles* The age of consent where I live is 14. {HUGZ} Red.

      • Here it’s 16, but that doesn’t stop the many under-age pregnancies we see here! 🙁

        What amazes me is that these kids get a job behind a checkout without basic numeracy skills and the morals of Jack the Ripper!

        We’ve many stories of £20 cash back being put on credit cards without the consent of the card owner and the money being passed on to one of their friends so it doesn’t show up in the till receipts…

        Love and hugs!


        • Red

           /  May 6, 2012

          I think that happens everywhere, to be honest. I have great protection on most all of my cards. The one I use the most (and the one I used that day) has a storied history of the bank fixing all the ills. My identity was stolen from that account two years ago. They were great about restoring my money and replacing my card…that may be a post I have to share with everyone, though 😉 {HUGZ} Red.

  4. An then they ask you if you have Flybys,if I had Flybys I would be shopping in bloody Paris or Rome or Vienna
    Ian aka Emu or Emu aka Ian , I forget , off ta get another beer
    aussieian2011 recently posted..The Flight of the CondorMy Profile

    • Red

       /  May 6, 2012

      LOL! I hear that! Fix me something whilst you are in there!

  5. You can’t get much shopping in that trolley!

    • Red

       /  May 6, 2012

      Aye! When we go to that store, it is never for more than just weekly perishables. Milk, fruit, bread. I rarely spend more than $50 in that particular store. The shopping only cost $35, but they charged my credit card nearly $500 before I gave up and wrote a check to get out of line.

      On the other hand, I shop once per month for the household. My average transaction is around 200 items…and takes two or three of the large carts 😉

  6. I think that was most excellent! Made me laugh, was it supposed to? If it wasn’t I am sorry that it did, otherwise …. well it did 🙂
    valentinelogar recently posted..Inside Domestic AbuseMy Profile

    • Red

       /  May 6, 2012

      Perfectly okay to laugh. If you cannot laugh at things like this…they make you pull your hair out from the roots.

  7. Love the poem, Red. Very entertaining and very true.
    Cash?…I can’t remember that last time I’ve seen the stuff. Oh yes, I remember now. The toll b0oth.
    Have a lovely evening.
    Hugs xx
    Deb recently posted..RainMy Profile

    • Red

       /  May 6, 2012

      Oh, my. The last time I used actual money at a toll booth was in the ’80s!

  8. Great Haiku, Red, amazing it ended up in that form. ‘Up their kilts’ with expensive and unreliable technology that can be beaten at every turn, stolen, misused and misrepresented at our expense, especially when incompetents are in charge, displaying their incompetence at every transaction that goes sour…~R
    Raymond Alexander Kukkee recently posted..An ordinary SaturdayMy Profile

    • Red

       /  May 6, 2012

      It is one of the easiest systems to beat, if that is what your gig is. I worked in retail a very long time. The vast majority of errors are in favor of the establishment. The second? In favor of the government in misrepresented taxes.

  9. I haven’t had too many problems in this modern era. But, maybe in a town near the end of civilization, these things happen more often. Our grocery store has scanners I use to scan and bag as we go. Then I just scan a bar code, swipe my card and out the door I go. It is excellent and all price problems are caught right away.

    There are very few things I actually use cash for anymore. I find that if I have cash, I am more apt to spend it. If I use plastic, it all gets counted in our monthly spending plan because we don’t carry credit card balances.
    Derek Mansker recently posted..Why do we sing songs to Jesus?My Profile

    • Red

       /  May 6, 2012

      I do fine with self-check out. Unfortunately, these people have a hard time understanding plastic. Ugh. I need to move closer to civilization.

  10. Loved this poem, Red! You had me smiling! I still haven’t decided if technology is a good thing or not…I may sound odd, but I’m trying to use more cash these days…I’ve had errors by the bank made on my debit card and as was mentioned before, when they want it, they get it in seconds, but if they’re refunding, it takes days…so unfair! The idea of self serve everything is a bit annoying and whatever happened to real good customer service? Well, another haiku, perhaps? 🙂
    LScott recently posted..A Tribute to Mom’s ♥My Profile

    • Red

       /  May 12, 2012

      I am completely thinking real customer service is nearly extinct. That is why I frequent the full service gas stations where I live. I appreciate the window wash and the fluid checks.


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