Given a choice, each of us tends to avoid certain experiences. I steer clear of Houston freeways during rush hour and turn off political commentary I feel raising my blood pressure. I never go boating on holidays, and above all I try never to stop by the grocery at 6 p.m. to “pick up a few things for dinner”.
Unfortunately, poor planning can force me into the very heart of pre-suppertime pandemonium, as it did the night I made a pass through our local supermarket intending to pick up nothing more than milk, lettuce, broccoli and some kitty treats. Shopping without a list meant I ended up with far more than I’d intended. By the time I reached the checkout line I’d thrown in some celery and carrots, English muffins, two pounds of sale-priced Peet’s French Roast, some assorted canned goods, pear yogurt and a totally unnecessary pint of key lime gelato.
Plunking down the little plastic bar to divide my purchases from those of the people ahead of me, I began unloading my cart. Then I remembered the Ritz crackers. My mother was quite fond of them, and she’d asked if I’d pick up a box the next time I was in the store.
The people ahead of me in line - apparently a mother and two lovely daughters – had done some heavy shopping and still were unloading their own items onto the conveyor. Pondering the situation, I made a decision.“Excuse me,” I said to checker. “I forgot something. I’ll run and get it, and be right back.” “No problem,” she said, glancing at the woman’s still-full cart. “You’ve got time”.
Knowing the crackers were two aisles over, halfway to the meat department and on the bottom shelf, I found them quickly enough and returned to the line with time to spare. The checker, still busy with the group ahead of me, was grinning. Well, I thought. She’s a pleasant one. (more…)