What Do You Do When Your Checker Brings Up “The Pecker?”

Yeah, you heard me right. If you’ve been hanging out with me here at More Cowbell for a while, you might’ve read about Holly and her famous Pecker Lead Balloon.

No? Let me back up a little and share it with you then. We’ll see if you laugh as hard as my husband did.

Holly WASN'T dressed like this little vixen...but I FELT like she was. (Photo from http://decoratingforbacheloretteparties.wordpress.com)


It all started during a long holiday check-out line at Trader Joe’s about a year ago. I was waiting in line, minding my own business…

OK, o-kay… I was talking on the phone to Hubby to make sure I got everything for the Sexy-Pie Friday Night dinner I was fixing him. I wanted to be sure I didn’t forget anything, before I waited in this huge-o line, and we got to chatting. (Yes, I know it’s RUDE…I was as quiet as possible.)

So I get to the front of the line, finish my conversation  and hang up so I can say hi to the cashier, whose name was Holly. (You’ll understand in a moment why her name is burned on my brain forever.)

Holly’s first words: “So, who were you on the phone with?”

Inner City Jenny wanted to respond, “WHY  are you all up in Mama’s business?? But Holly seemed like a sweet girl so I answered in kind. “I was talking to my husband. I wanted to make sure I got everything he wanted for dinner tonight.”

I had a cart full of groceries and Holly was obviously a chatty checker (unusual in my neck of the woods) so I didn’t see a polite way out of this conversation.

Then SHE says,“That’s important, that you cook for your husband.”

Important?? I’m turning her word choice over in my mind but, before I can respond, she zings me with another gem:

“Yeah, my stepmother told me the secret to keeping a man happy and it sounds like your mom told you.”

Suddenly I’m afraid – very afraid – to encourage more conversation with this filter-less girl.

I scoped the conveyor belt to see how many items were left and snuck a glance at the businessman in line behind me (he was so  tuned into this conversation [dang it]). I tried to look non-encouraging when I answered, “Oh?”

Holly was undeterred. “Yep. My stepmother said it’s real simple to keep a man happy. You just keep his pecker empty and his belly full.”

I swear, the word “pecker” swooped down the conveyor belt and tangoed through the line behind me.

Why, WHY do people tell me these kinds of things?  I thought it was just that I look friendly but I’ve heard from other writers that this happens to them too. I’ve noticed that people we DON’T know seem to enjoy telling us things we don’t WANT  to know.

I’m sure these crazy conversations are gifts from the Writing Gods who want us to have great material. But at the time???  Oy… It was Death By Pecker in the TJ’s line.

The dude behind me coughed (in that way that said he was smothering a laugh) and I blushed to the roots of my hair. The only thoughts in my head were: I’m not looking at the guys in line. Not looking…not looking. Oh Dear God, get me out of this store….

My hubby laughed his ass off at me when I got home and told him (although he had some choice comments about how sterotypical Holly was). That night over a bottle of wine, she became the Pecker Checker at Trader Ho’s…and that is who she shall always be to us.

Do people have these kinds of conversations with you or is it just that I have a friendly face? Do you have any embarrassing grocery store moments to entertain the rest of us on this fine Monday? Enquiring minds love  to know these things here at More Cowbell!


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About Jenny Hansen

Avid seeker of "more"...More words, more creativity, More Cowbell! My passion is finding those qualities that are unique in every person and every piece of fiction. Founding blogger at Writers In The Storm (http://writersinthestorm.wordpress.com). Write on!
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52 Responses to What Do You Do When Your Checker Brings Up “The Pecker?”

  1. Christy Farmer says:

    Oh my goodness, some people just have no filter! There are some just some moments that cannot be created in fiction. The best way I handle these moments is a gentle smile forms on my lips and I treat it as future material. :-)

  2. I guess I look too boring or too old. I can’t recall a situation like this.

  3. Brinda Berry says:

    Just think about all the jewels you would have gotten if you had encouraged more conversation. ;)

    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Don’t think I didn’t consider that, Brinda! lol…

      But the guy behind me was hot and it seemed like I was just surrounded by men. I couldn’t do it. :-)

  4. What a GEM of a story. I love it!! LOL!!
    No stories jump out at me although I know they exist. I’ll have to ponder this one today…hehehehe…Sadly, it’s usually hubby and I having all too loud conversations that have people chuckling and turning red. LOL!!!

  5. Juli Hoffman says:

    LMAO!!!!! I seem to attract the “crazies” as well. Just a few days ago, I was at work, trying to be polite and I must have said something that was funny, though I have no memory of what this “gem” might have been. I was told, “You know who you remind my of? Carol Burnett’s best friend! Every time I see you, you’re sooo funny!” I could tell this person was trying to be sincere, but it did seem like an odd complement, especially from a stranger. GEEZ!!! :)

  6. I can’t say I recall a stranger ever hitting me with such a conversation. I’ve had a couple co-workers however. I’m so glad I know better than to read one of your posts with a beverage in hand!!!

  7. wow – you have the most amazing conversations. I’m friendly, but have never had anything like this happen to me. too funny

  8. StoriesAndSweetPotatoes says:

    Oh I’ve definitely had tons of over-share experiences, but from the other side of the counter when I worked at TJs. I would never say something like that because I wouldn’t want to get fired for one…and also I’d just never say something like that. Hilarious. I do think these things follow writers. Weirdness follows weirdness or something like that :) Either way, I think that’s an awesome story.

  9. Laura Drake says:

    You know me, Jenny, I have boundaries that look like many South African country’s — moving minute to minute. I’d be much more likely to BE the Pecker Checker….

    Embarrassing, but there it is.

  10. Julie Glover says:

    Thanks to you and to Holly for entertaining us all. I’m trying to imagine as a mother giving my child that kind of blunt advice. I do discuss things with my kids, but I’m pretty sure the word “pecker” hasn’t been part of those enlightening conversations. Hilarious.

    • Jenny Hansen says:

      I would NEVER give my daughter this kind of advice. She needs to know how to cook for herself, not to keep some mythical man happy. I’m just sayin… My husband was really hacked off about what this says about male/female stereotypes. I happen to be a good cook but it has nothing to do with why he married me.

  11. That is so funny! And yes, people tell me stuff all the time, in the strangest places. I haven’t had a pecker checker moment, though! (I just had to type it!)

  12. Oh god, more than I care to remember. Now you’ve got me thinking that I need to jot down notes for future posts… usually I just try to bleach them from my memory.

    ‘Pecker empty and their belly full’ Oh.My.Heck.

  13. Marcia says:

    Funny! That’s some step-mother! I have that happen to me frequently. Last night, in fact, while waiting for a table at Red Lobster, a woman about 10 or 15 yrs my senior sat right next to me on this otherwise empty bench and began telling me all about her granchild babysitting trials and tribulations, way more info than I needed and more than her daughter would have approved!
    I guess that’s why writers are encouraged to keep a notepad handy!

  14. Marie Trout says:

    Nope… I look way too scary, I think. And I might also “one up” the checker! Or one down – depending on how you look at it!

  15. OMG, I LOVE this story. I can’t stop chuckling. Sending the link to my hubby. He will get a kick out of it :-)

    People talk to me all the time. Everywhere!!! I must look very encouraging, because the strangers rarely keep away from chatting with me. It’s cool though, I am a social gal and a very chatty one myself. But I have not been ever given such an advice by anyone outside my close social circle, haha. I can imagine an embarrassment in the line behind you. Although, if it was me, I would turn around to make a face at them or roll my eyes. Hilarious!

  16. Stacy Green says:

    LMFAO. I so needed this laugh today! I don’t have an embarrassing story like yours to tell, but I always seem to be the one that strangers engage in meaningless conversation while waiting in line. I have no idea why – I certainly don’t encourage it, lol.

    • Jenny Hansen says:

      I’m so happy to give you a Monday laugh, Stacy. I’ll tell you I have people tell me ALL their business all the time. It’s astonishing to me. It’s nifty right now because I can change their name and add them to my blog, but that’s about the only advantage I’ve found.

  17. Lydia Sharp says:

    I can’t stop laughing! That is SO WRONG.

  18. Hilarious, Jenny. You must have one of those trusting faces because this has never happened to me! :)

  19. Maria says:

    People talk to me all of the time and tell me all sorts of things, but I am hard to embarrass and the Pecker Checker at Trader Ho’s wouldn’t have made a dent. In fact, I am never embarrassed by the words of others, but some of the things that I do? Hoy.

  20. Emma Burcart says:

    That is hilarious! But scary that a woman in this day and age actually feels that way. I don’t want to use the word think, for obvious reasons, so I’m going with feel. I do remember getting some weird “relationship” advice from a friend’s mom when we were younger, but she didn’t use a word like pecker. She just said, “Don’t lay there like a dead fish.”

    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Oh. My. God!!! She told y’all that??!! Unbelievable. I don’t know if you told your mom, but she likely would’ve hit the roof. Ahh, the life of us writers…

  21. tomwisk says:

    Looking at your picture thayt graces your blog, you’ve got the kind of face that people want to open up to.

    • Jenny Hansen says:

      And you know what’s so funny, Tom? Everywhere I go, people think they know me. I look like EVERYBODY. Literally. If you met me, you’d watch me talk for 10 minutes and then turn to your (fill-in-the-blank) and say, “Doesn’t she remind you of so-and-so??” It happens all the time.

  22. Great story, Jenny! The only horrifying story I have was when I was very young, just starting my period and my mom bought me some “supplies.” I was nervous enough as I watched the “supplies” making their way down the conveyor belt, hoping no one would notice what we were buying. The cashier rang them up without saying a word or even looking at me, so I thought, Okay, that wasn’t so bad. Then the damn bagger – a teenager – picked up the box, held it up, looked at me with such a stupid, evil smirk and said loud enough for everyone to hear, “Would you like me to put these pads in a bag for you?” Ugh. I just wanted to die right then and there.

  23. gingercalem says:

    Hee hee, what a great story. I think you are write about how these things tend to happen to writers and it’s the God of Muses’ way to supplying us with fresh material. This sort of thing happens to me ALL the time. I have the best airplane stories and yes, it seems the grocery store is ripe for this sort of occurrence. Recently, I was checking out at my local grocers and there was a bottle of Pepto, among the fixings for chicken soup. An older woman in front of me, checked out my stuff, turned and asked, “Does someone in your house have a problem?” ((I thought, Lady, you have no idea!)) I pretended I didn’t understand a word she said and made her repeat it 3 times before she gave up and launched into the digestive issues at her house which she had started to do.

    • Jenny Hansen says:

      LOL…I can completely relate to this, Ginger! I’ve heard about bodily functions, dating, divorces, sex and any other number of things by TOTAL STRANGERS. Oy.

  24. Jane Sadek says:

    Back when I had something called a career, I was in the business of training people to use new office equipment that they’d just bought. Often times this involved waiting in the lobby with the receptionist (this is back in the good old days when they had receptionists rather than a sign reading “ring bell for service.”) I was always amazed what people would tell a complete stranger about their lives, their families and their romances. I counseled people on abortion, suicide and date rape. It was beyond weird.

  25. LMAO! Oh that’s just too funny! Wish I’d have been there, although I wouldn’t have been coughing to hide a laugh, I’d have just been laughing.

    No funny checker stories to tell, but my daughter is always a little surprised at how many conversations I have in stores. And very stunned at how the snooty checkers always talk to me when they won’t talk to anyone else.

    But do I have a shocking moment, similar to yours? Yup. When my kids were still in grade school I did a little babysitting. Just a kid or two here and there. At one point I was taking care of a toddler for a single mother…who was just VERY friendly and chatty. She sat there after work one day (like I had nothing better to do…like get supper ready maybe) talking about what it was like to be a single mom. I made all the appropriate comments…until she got on the subject of her ‘buddy,’ and informed me that sex with herself was safer than sex with a guy.

    O……….kay. Um…. LOL…how do you respond to something like that?

  26. The Pecker Checker at Trader Ho’s! That is stinkin hilarious Jenny! And yes, people will start talking to me about everything. It’s always been that way. Like I’m their best friend or something. Somehow I can see this happening at Trader Joes. I don’t know which one you shop at because I know that you and I are in the OC but every checker I get is very friendly. Hmm. Now I don’t know if that’s good or bad. lol :)

  27. Great laugh, Jenny. I lead such a boring life. The height of my conversations are usually “that’ll be $14.37, please.”

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