I have accepted and swallowed--gulp--that my ego has been put in it's place...by Meijer.
okay, keep reading.
perhaps the reason Meijer was so chock full of customers was because it was the last Saturday before Christmas. whatever. the wide-open-west parking lot was still west, but no longer wide open. I finally found a parking space in the "F" section...no comment.
I grabbed two of my Whole Foods reusable grocery bags, pulled on a coat since I had an arctic snow storm trek to endure before I could get inside the 73 degree store, sloshed through leftover gray slush from last night's storm and created a mental stratagem that I would not bring a cart out through this slop: shop light and carry the bags to my car.
I breeze through the first automatic glass door and stumble upon a heretofore never experienced line...inside the airlock. get this, there are no carts to be had and people are standing in line, waiting for someone to give up a cart as they leave the store.
yeah...somehow that scenario just doesn't fit into the paradigm I've adopted through most of my life called, "too impatient to be stupid." I wade through the line of hapless, hopeless, cart-less line waiters (suckers, I chuckle heartlessly to myself), secure in my own muscle power to carry my two or three purchases, I don't need no blankety-blank Meijer cart!
with said reusable grocery bags tucked under my arm, I make my way to the Rice Crispy Treat fixin's aisle, grab the two large boxes of crispies, two large bags of marshmallows (making them for church activity and for home), pile those up on top of each other, smile smugly to myself while again repeating the Yosemite Sam-esque declaration of "not needin' nothin' from noooo-body!"
then I recall that I could use some naan (Indian flat bread and no, I don't mean Native American) and some hummus, and ooooooo, those black seedless grapes look so de-li-ci-oso! grocery stacking tip: grapes don't stack so well.
I stumble over to a pallet of stacked flour, and dump my desired purchases. determined not to give in to Meijer's gauntlet-thrown-down, pathetic attempt to challenge me via a cart fiasco. in the spirit of ingenuity, imagination, pragmatism--what else?--and cleverness, I remove my reusable Whole Foods bag from under my arm and put all my groceries inside the bag!
yay for me! problem solved and I can still fit in a few more groceries! I maneuver through the busy store like, well, like whatever unencumbered metaphor you can come up with on your own. I'm dodging cart collisions, weaving through cart and produce stands, squeezing into meat counter sweet-spots and snatching up items with cat-like reflexes. it's time to check-out, yippee-ki-yay!
now, I like to park in the wide-open-west and use the check-out lanes on the west side of the store, because most Meijer sheep, I mean, customers, park and check-out on the east side of the store. with reusable grocery bag full I head over to the west. I'm smiling, feeling very smart, I even consider waving to the poor fools still waiting for carts, you know trying to do my part to uplift humanity during the holidays.
I see Meijer Tzar staring at me while talking on his Meijer issued cell phone. his stare becomes more intense and his mouth slackens as he looks me up and down (oh yeah, the nearly 40 year old gal's still got it!). I give a slight nod, and a nondescript, closed mouth smile--I'm married, I don't like to encourage such wildly flirtatious behavior from other males--and walk by. I get a little farther on my search for an empty check-out lane, making my way towards the west exit area when Meijer second-in-command-Tzar, on his cell phone, walks by me and gives me the furtive eye! I "reply" with raised eyebrows and a squeamish smile. what? am I ooozing pheromones or something, what is goin' on?!
then, just as I'm nearing the 12 item or less u-scan machines next to the exit, I see Pat (Pat is the name I have given for one of the Meijer House Detectives. Pat is one of those SNL skit personas, not sure if "it" is a male or female), even Pat is giving me "the look!" (cue shivers, I think?) I see "shim" reading a Better Homes and Gardens magazine. I stop at the u-scan machine line while a nagging thought surfaces, "why would Pat care about 26 Holiday Gift Ideas under $20?"
At the same time, I see Head Honcho #2 coming towards me, while giving me a more serious glance. I watch as he walks purposefully to the exit and then just non chalantly paces, cell phone to his ear. I notice him give a slight nod to someone over to the left of me. I follow his line of sight and see Pat pull itself away from BHG, and walk over to the exit. that's when the light bulb blinked on over my big, fat, egoistic head: huh. apparently, I'm not the subject of all men's and men-look-alike's desires, I'm a suspected shoplifter! I think at this point I mentally went from sexy-almost-40-year-old to maligned-low-life-crook...with egg on her humiliated, non-sexy face.
ever a bastion of calm and grace I wait my turn for a u-scan, remove all the items from my grocery bag, scan them, re-bag them, purchase them and with head held somewhat high, walk through the line of cart waiters, and smile at the disbanding sheriff's posse, now ignoring me as I exit into the wide-open-west.
I repeat, gulp.