I’m in the grocery store a lot these days, what with two very hungry kids who show no signs of slowing down in their growth. It’s always a little alarming to go for just a few things and walk out with $300 worth of food in your cart, knowing full well you’ll be back in the store in less than a week to do it all over again.
That said, I enjoy grocery shopping. Inevitably, it’s a social experience; living in a small town, you’re bound to run into friends and family. I know most of the people who work there too, so it’s never an endeavor in silence, these forays into grocery land.
A couple weeks ago, I was meandering through the aisles when I happened upon a common experience: the Aisle Shopping Cart Traffic Jam. With a young man stocking the shelves and then a woman bending over choosing either black beans or chickpeas, with her cart left right in the middle of the aisle, I was stuck, with no way past. I waited for a few seconds, thinking she’d notice me and we’d share a smile and shuffle our way around one another, with stereotypically Canadian apologies exchanged.
She didn’t notice me, so I said “Excuse me, would you mind moving your cart?” with a smile.
She stood, ever so slowly, with her mixed beans in hand and looked at me. Face expressionless, her eyes met mine and she reached over and moved the cart to let me by. Nary a whisper of a returned smile graced her sullen face. She glared at me in silence and I said thank you and sidled on by. I could feel her gaze drilling holes in the back of my head.
“Well, THAT was weird,” I thought to myself and shopped on.
Three aisles later, I pulled off to one side to choose some tea. No lie, folks. I followed the etiquette of shopping, leaving the left hand lane free and clear for passage. There I was, in front of my cart, when BAM, my cart slammed into the back of my leg. Not gently either.
I jumped a bit, startled and turned to see HER. Same expression on her face, by which I mean pinched grim lips and glaring eyes, morose as ever. Her hands gripping the handle of her own cart, blatantly responsible for bumping into my own. It was a stare-down in Aisle 7, ladies and gentlemen. I could almost hear that music from that old cowboy movie….
I realized that I had two options. I could channel my inner redneck and tell her off or ignore her. I chose the latter as something in me was ringing a warning bell. I think this lady was legitimately loco, and I for one wasn’t interested in any sort of epic grocery store throw down. (Although that would make for a funnier blog post, I suppose.)
Sometimes it’s just better to walk away…..