Wednesday, July 27, 2022



I never know what to expect when I go to Walmart because there always seems to be something interesting (or just plain crazy) going on there. But never, not in a million years, could I ever have anticipated what happened when I went shopping last week. And as a result, I’m pretty sure I’ll never show my face in that store again.

It all began after I finished shopping and was at the checkout. I had a few heavy things in my cart, like an 18-lb. bag of dog food, a 12-pack of bottled water and six separate gallons of water, along with my usual groceries. 

The cashier told me to hand her only one of the gallons, which I did, then I watched her scan it and multiply it by six. She also told me to leave the bag of dog food and the 12-pack of water in my cart. She came out from behind the register and scanned those so I wouldn’t have to lift them up onto the counter.

I paid for my purchases, shoved the receipt into my wallet in my handbag, and headed for the exit. When I reached it, there was a mature female employee standing there. She eyed my cart, extended her hand and said, “May I see your receipt, please?”

I reached into my wallet and pulled out the receipt and gave it to her. She then began to match my purchases to the items on the receipt as she explained that there had been a lot of thefts recently by people using the self-checkouts and purposely not scanning all of their items.

“But I used a regular checkout and a cashier,” I told her.

“Yes, but you have some unbagged items I need to make sure were paid for.”

She stared at my receipt, looked up at me, then back down at the receipt and said, “Your gallons of water aren’t listed on here.”

I said, “Well, that doesn’t make any sense because I watched the cashier scan one gallon and multiply it by six!”

She handed me the receipt. “Then show me where.”

She was right. They weren’t on it.

“I’m not accusing you of stealing,” she said. “But…your 12-pack of water's not on the receipt either.”

By then, it was pretty clear to me that something must have been wrong with the equipment at the checkout because I knew I’d seen my items being scanned.

“Look,” I said to the woman, “if I were going to shoplift, it would be something a heck of lot more exciting than water!”

But she was too busy looking at my receipt once again to listen to me. “The bag of dog food isn’t on here,” she said, frowning at me.

I couldn’t believe it. “No way," I said, shaking my head. "I mean, the cashier came out from behind the register and scanned it while it was in my cart!” 

The look she gave me clearly said, “Yeah, lady, tell me another one. You’re going to look great in a bright orange jumpsuit.”

Finally, after she found yet another item not on my receipt, she called for assistance. The guy who showed up looked about 13. She explained to him that certain items weren’t on my receipt. So he did his own search through my cart. By then, the chicken I’d purchased was throwing a salmonella adoption party in its package.

“She's right," the guy said to me. "There definitely are some items that aren’t listed on your receipt.” He grabbed my cart. “Follow me.”

 I thought he might be leading me to someone who was going to slap handcuffs on me and haul me off to jail for grand-theft water, but he led me over to one of the self-checkout registers. There, he scanned the items missing from the receipt, which came to just a few cents under $25 and said, “Now insert your card and pay for them and you’re all set.”

I paid the extra money and then was allowed to leave.

After I put the groceries into my car, I sat in the driver’s seat for a few minutes and said to myself, “What the heck just happened? This makes NO sense!”

I had shoved the receipt into my pocket, along the new one the guy had scanned for me, so I pulled them out and studied them. The employees were right – the items I’d just paid for weren't on the original receipt. But why not? I really wanted to know.

As I continued to stare at the receipt, I happened to notice two items listed on it that I hadn’t purchased that day. However, I did remember purchasing them the last time I’d been in Walmart, about two weeks before. I checked the date on the receipt…July 6.

I searched my wallet and there was the current receipt – with the gallons of water on it, along with the bag of dog food and the 12-pack of water. Yep! They all were there.

That's when I realized I'd handed the employee the wrong receipt. I had pulled an old one out of my wallet by mistake, which explained why some of my purchases hadn’t been on it...while some had. I'm a creature of habit who tends to buy almost the same thing every time I shop at Walmart, so those repeat items in my cart had matched the old receipt.

I can’t remember when I’ve felt more embarrassed…or dumb. And even worse, I knew I had to go back into the store and get my $25 back…which meant I'd have to face the woman at the door again. Believe me, if it had been only a dollar or two, I’d have just zoomed out of the parking lot and headed straight home.

When the woman saw me enter the store, her eyebrows rose and she eyed me suspiciously. Maybe she thought I was returning to steal more water.

“Um...guess what?” I said to her, showing her both receipts. “I handed you the wrong receipt. I pulled an old one out of my wallet by mistake. That’s why some of the items weren’t on it. I really apologize for the inconvenience.”

Having to eat crow certainly didn't taste very good.

At first, she gave me an icy stare, but then she finally laughed and said, “No, I apologize! I should have checked the date on it. I’m sorry!” She paused before adding, “But you still have to admit I’m good at my job, right?”

I headed to the service desk to get my refund, but to do so, I had to explain everything to the clerk. He stood there, not saying a word as he listened, his eyes growing wider with each detail I gave him. He checked all three receipts – the old one, the current one and the additional payment one for $25. He then glanced up at me…and burst out laughing.

“That has to be the craziest thing I’ve ever heard!” he said.

He refunded my $25 and then, still shaking his head and laughing, wished me a nice day.

As I approached the exit, the female clerk at the door said to me, “So, did you get your money back?”

“Yeah,” I muttered, “once the guy stopped laughing!”

She laughed, too, and then apologized again.

When I finally got home, one of my friends called to ask how I was doing. I told her what had happened at Walmart.

“Why did you still have an old receipt in your wallet?” she asked, her tone serious.

“Because I forgot to take it out,” I said. “After all, I go shopping only twice a month.”

“Well, that was a really dumb thing you did,” she said, without even so much as a chuckle or a snicker.

Some people have no sense of humor.

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Sally Breslin is an award-winning syndicated columnist who has written regularly for newspapers and magazines all of her adult life. She is the author of several novels in a variety of genres, from humor and romance to science-fiction. Contact her at:




Monday, July 18, 2022



I hate to say it, but my wardrobe ever since the pandemic first began has been nothing but sweatpants, sweatshirts, T-shirts and lounging pants (which basically are sweatpants made of T-shirt material), all in a couple sizes larger than my actual size, for the sake of comfort.

 I also haven’t kept up anything as far as my hair is concerned. No conditioning, coloring, trimming, etc.  I just pull it back into a ponytail and shove a baseball cap over it.

In other words, I have chosen comfort over fashion…or “shabby chic,” minus the chic.

When I looked at myself in the mirror the other day, I was reminded of a TV show called "What Not to Wear" that I really got a kick out of watching during its 10-year run from 2003 to 2013.

Perhaps it was because I could empathize with the poor victims who were unmercifully taunted every week by Stacy and Clinton, the show's fashion experts. Stacy and Clinton’s mission was to scope out a person who dressed in a style that most people never would classify as “fashionable” and then secretly videotape that person in the most unflattering positions imaginable: bending over, getting out of the car, yawning and stretching, adjusting underwear. Even a fashion model would have looked less than attractive in those same situations. 

Finally, Clinton and Stacy would ambush the unsuspecting victim and show her (or, on occasion, "him") the embarrassing video footage. 

Just as the person was on the verge of suing them for invasion of privacy, they’d make amends by handing her/him a complimentary credit-card worth $5000 toward the purchase an entire new wardrobe. 

There was a catch, however. Every piece of the victim's current wardrobe had to be tossed out, and Stacy and Clinton had to oversee the purchase of the new one (in New York City, no less) just to make certain the person didn't rush out and buy a gross of sweatpants with the money. 

When I first started watching the show, I thought it might be fun to get $5,000 worth of clothes for nothing other than a bit of national humiliation and a few close-ups of my cellulite, but after several weeks of observing Stacy and Clinton in action, I changed my mind. The two of them were, well...pretty brutal. 

"Did you get dragged behind a stagecoach while wearing that outfit?" Clinton asked as he critically eyed one of the victim's baggy sweater and pants. 

“Tell your great-grandmother she can have her sweater back!" Stacy would add as she and Clinton shared a wicked cackle. 


They then proceeded to snatch the clothes from the victim and toss them into a trash barrel, which conveniently happened to be sitting in the middle of their living room. 

"But my aunt in Scotland stitched that skirt by hand for me a month before she died," the victim protested as they crumpled the plaid, woolen skirt and heaved it as if it were a basketball, into the trash can. 

"Well, too bad your aunt didn't have better taste in clothes!" Clinton, who was wearing a purple flowered shirt, snapped. 

The whole experience was pretty intimidating for the chosen victim, but what I always found the most intimidating was Stacy and Clinton's obsession with legs. 

"Why are you hiding your legs in pants?" they’d ask all of the women. "Would it kill you to wear a skirt or dress and show the world that you actually have ankles and calves?"

 Whenever they said that, which was just about every week (except when their victim was a guy) I’d think of my mother-in-law, who frequently reminded me that she hadn't seen me in a skirt since Amelia Earhart had boarded a plane.

The fact is, I don’t like my legs because they’ve always been pretty shapeless, so I prefer not to show them off.  I think I've received only two "nice legs" compliments in the past 50 years, and one of them was from a farmer who was at least 85 years old and probably had spent too much time staring at cows.

So even now, with the temperatures soaring into the 90s, I still won’t be baring my legs in shorts or skirts. I will just continue to wear what has become my normal, everyday attire.

After all, they don’t call them “sweat” pants for nothing.

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Sally Breslin is an award-winning syndicated humor columnist who has written regularly for newspapers and magazines all of her adult life. She is the author of several novels in a variety of genres, from humor and romance to science-fiction. Contact her at:




Sunday, July 10, 2022



My dog, Eden, had her annual physical exam last week and believe me, it’s not something I look forward to every July.

The minute she sees the veterinary clinic, she hides on the floor in the car, which isn’t easy for a 70-lb. dog. And then trying to get her to actually walk through the clinic’s front door is like trying to drag a mule up a hill. She acts as if she’s in a movie called “Dead Dog Walking.”

Even worse, Eden is a fear biter. That means exactly what it sounds like…when she’s scared, she bites. So, because just about everyone and everything at the vet’s scares her, I have to muzzle her, something else she really much so, I now believe that if the need ever arose, I easily could wrestle an alligator.


The first thing the vet’s receptionist, after studying Eden’s chart, said to me was, “Oh, it looks like Eden needs everything today.”

I knew from past experience that everything usually required a second mortgage.

Sure enough, she then proceeded to read off what sounded like an inventory list from “Doggy Shots & Medical Tests R Us." 

Well, not one, but both of my laptops had bitten the dust only a few days before, which had resulted in my unplanned purchase of a new one, so I said,  “Um, I can spare only about $245 today. What can she get for that?” 

The employee again looked at Eden’s chart. “Well, the total for all of this comes to only $465.”

Only? No kidding, I nearly needed the vet to come check my heart.

The employee finally, although somewhat grudgingly, did divide the list into “essential and important” and “can wait until a later date.”

The final total was around $235, before my senior discount.

As I sat in the waiting room, I thought of all of the crazy things that had happened at veterinarians’ offices over the years, and pretty soon I was giggling to myself. People sitting near me were staring at me as if they thought I was the one who needed my annual shots, not Eden.

I thought back to one vet, who never failed to crack me up. I remember the first dog I took to him. She was a Lhasa Apso that looked just like a dust mop. The doctor lifted the dog’s tail and said, “Hello, there!” followed by, “Oops!  Wrong end!”

Then there was the time I brought my pet turtle to him because I’d turned it over on its back and saw what I’d thought were part of its intestines hanging out near its tail.

 “Um…Sally…that's not intestines,” the vet said. “Your turtle is a male, if you know what I mean.” He then laughed and added, “And I think he’s happy to see me!” 

Even though I was embarrassed for being so dumb, I burst out laughing.

There were other vets over the years who also made me laugh. When baby hedgehogs were being sold in pet shops at one time, I mentioned to one vet that I was thinking of getting one because they were so cute.

“Hmph!” she said, “Why don’t you just get a pet rock? It’s more exciting!”

That was the same vet who, when I'd asked her to check the overall health of an extremely vicious rottweiler I'd just adopted, said, "I guess the only time I'll ever get a chance to examine her teeth is when I'm pulling them out of my arm!"

Then there was the time Sabre, another one of my rottweilers, had symptoms of a urinary tract infection, so the vet asked me to bring in a urine sample. I can only imagine what the neighbors must have thought that day as they watched me holding an aluminum pan and chasing my dog around the yard. I couldn't keep her on a leash because I needed both hands to maneuver the pan.

Every time Sabre squatted, I’d shove the pan underneath her. The minute I did, she’d stand, give me a dirty look, as if to say, “Some privacy, please?” and walk off.  This went on for about 20 minutes until Sabre finally decided she’d had enough. She plopped down in the grass and went to sleep.

I sat and waited a few minutes, then woke her up and got her moving again. Her appointment with the vet was in less than an hour, so I was getting desperate for a sample. Finally, she squatted and I slid the pan underneath her just in time. When she stood, I saw liquid gold in the pan. I picked it up and was so excited, I did the “happy dance.”

And then I dropped the pan.

I could swear I saw Sabre pointing at me and laughing.

I’ll never forget the look on the vet’s face when I presented her with only about two drops of urine. She immediately had one of the assistants take Sabre outside to get a larger sample. Naturally, Sabre cooperated for the assistant and peed a river, just to spite me.

I’m pretty sure I drove many vets crazy over the years, what with my variety of strange pets: a de-scented skunk, an armadillo, chinchillas, turtles, a dwarf cat, an iguana, a one-winged pigeon and some albino African frogs, among other things.

My late husband was afraid to come home from work at night because he said he never knew what might greet him at the door.

But now, I just stick with dogs.  They’re more than enough to keep me busy.


Although, I was looking at new trends in pets online the other night, and saw these giant guinea pigs called capybaras, which can weigh over 60 lbs. Now they look as if they might make pretty interesting pets.

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(Oh, by the way, Eden’s physical turned out fine, but by the time we got home, there already was a voice mail from the vet’s office asking, “So, when can we schedule Eden for the rest?”).