Okay, not really a throw-down, but very nearly.
I chose a check-out line behind a woman whose cart was heaped with groceries. She talked the entire time, explaining at length to the cashier that she was from out of town and that she only made the trip in town once a month. Meanwhile, her very young daughter buzzed around the register like a caffeinated bee, ramming a child-sized shopping card into the calves of anyone who got too close, including me. "Careful, sweetie," I said gently, having at least a modicum of patience when children are involved. Her mother turned quickly toward me, pausing in the middle of her story. "Excuse me? What did you say to my daughter?" Her voice was relatively polite but had an edge to it. "Oh, I just asked her to be careful, she hit my leg is all."
The woman didn't reply, instead turning back to the cashier and barking at her daughter to stand beside her. I already didn't like this woman. She chattered on and on about how awesome Trader Joe's was, and which route down the highway she was going to take, and took her sweet time picking out other things to purchase that were stocked around the register. She had to know what the new recyclable bags on the wall said. Then she wanted to buy one. Then she wanted some of her groceries unbagged and put in the new bag because she didn't want to "waste a trip with it". When her daughter began screeching "What's that?! What's this?!" at all the impulse items on the counter, the woman instructed her to pick one out. I continued to wait. During a lull in the woman's interminable stream-of-consciousness rambling, the cashier took the chance to ask if she'd found everything she was looking for.
"Yes," the woman answered, except I didn't find my-ooh! Ooh that's it, right there!" I looked up from my phone to find her pointing and gesturing like a kid, "In the purple box, the lamb vindaloo! Were there any more?" She asked me directly. I knew it was the last one, and it had been hiding behind another box. "No, sorry." There was a pause while she continued to stare at me and I went back to my phone. "When I asked them they said they were out right now," she continued. "Hmm," I muttered noncommittally. "Well, I'm only in town once a month...why don't I just take that one and you can get it next time."
She was now speaking about me but actually addressing the words to the cashier, pointing back and forth between the carts as if she actually expected him to remove it from my basket and put it into hers. He was standing there with his eyebrows raised, seemingly frozen. "Oh, I'm afraid that won't be possible," I replied mildly, thinking of eHell. I injected a tone of regret into my voice, as if sincerely sympathetic to someone who thought that other people's carts were fair game. "What? But..what?" I spoke a little louder and a little more firmly. "I am afraid. That will not. Be. Possible. It means 'no'. " "Well,"
she muttered, swiveling back around to the cashier and angrily shoving her credit card into the chip reader. The cashier began to talk again-I don't remember what he said, but it was some sort of long, drawn-own apology, and he hoped that she would have a safe drive home, and he apologized for the inconvenience. Honestly if she hadn't been such a Special Snowflake to begin with, she could have asked me point blank and I would have handed it to her. But she was, so I didn't.