Grass Valley, CA — The BriarPatch Co-op in Grass Valley is experimenting with a new form of checkout lane that relies on the good graces of their shoppers. The “Pay It Forward” checkout line allows BriarPatch customers to pay for the groceries of the person directly behind them in line.
“Pay it forward” is an expression for a good deed repaid to others by the original benefactor of a good deed. The concept is old, and Lily Hardy Hammond may have coined the phrase in her 1916 book In the Garden of Delight. The BriarPatch is taking their lead from the Pay It Forward film starring Kevin Spacey and Helen Hunt. In the movie, a person who receives one good deed has to “Pay it Forward” with a good deed for three other individuals. How this will work in a grocery store checkout line is not known at this point, but it is undoubtedly a lofty gesture.
“I don’t know how this is going to work,” said longtime BriarPatch employee Nathan Johnson while shopping at the Grass Valley Grocery Outlet supermarket. “I mean, do customers have to pay for three people behind them in line? What if there are only two people in line? What if you are the only person? I think they need to work those kinks out.”
Details are sketchy, but according to sources within the BriarPatch, they plan on installing this particular checkout lane at the register nearest the deli. Customers using this lane will be encouraged to pay for the people behind them. As an incentive for being the first person in line, which means no one ahead of you to pay for your goods, the BriarPatch is offering 50% off membership costs and a year’s supply of nutritional yeast and hemp hearts to help offset the initial costs.
“All I know is that I don’t want to be the first one in line,” said Janet Williams of Cedar Ridge as she dug through her purse, looking for her car keys. “Maybe they could start small. You know, make the lane available only for chewing gum purchases. And then move up from there. God knows that one bag of groceries here is like $80.00.”
Not everyone in the community was happy about this new checkout procedure.
“Look,” said former Supervisor and part-time blogger Todd “Toodles” DeVos. “They’re doing all of this because the Trimmigants are arriving in town to chop up dope. It’s harvest season for hippies and stoners. What better way to get them to come to your hippy store than to try some Liberal prank like this? I can’t believe people can’t see through this Political Correctness.”
According to BriarPatch insiders, the Pay It Forward checkout line will start operations by the end of this month.