Thursday, May 11, 2006


Having run out of fruit and vegetables, a trip to the supermarket was in order. The very same supermarket that allows or at least closes its eyes to shoppers tasting-before-they-buy. Given the fact that I ended up needing more than a hand-full of items, a shopping cart was required. Not any particular shopping cart, mind you. Any shopping cart would suffice.

Silly me!

There is a long line of shoppping carts inside the entrance of the supermarket, placed one inside the other. I pull at the first one...and pull...and pull but the*&%$%/* cart is wedged in. At this point I'm consumed with frustration and there are beads of perspiration on my forehead. 'Calm down Eleanor' I keep telling myself in an attempt to regain my composure. There are more carts outside and it galls me to have to actually go back outside to retrieve a cart when there are approx. 100 carts right in front of me that are unusable. However...out I go.

I pull...I push...I curse with heavy emphasis on the latter.

March into the supermarket and I'm ready to battle with any supermarket employee that crosses my path. There is a 5-7 minute wait at the customer service counter where a customer and the employee decide whether to exchange or reimburse a client for a frozen food item that has gone bad. No bill equals big decisions.
"Excuse me," I finally butt in, "but I need a shopping cart."
There was dead silence as all eyes turned to the lonnng line of carts at the entrance and then back at me.
"I can't pull them apart," I tell them. "All I need is one."
"I'm helping this customer now," the clerk informs me and returns to her customer. At that point the frozen food item was defrosting and a puddle of water was slowly getting wider accross the counter.
"Look - it's not a lot to ask," I jump in again. "All I want - all I need - is a shopping cart and then I won't bother you anymore."
She calls for an outside clerk over the loud speaker. I wait...and wait...and... Ten minutes later I remind her of my presence.
"They're all at lunch," she explains.
"What about the cart problem?" I gesture to a growing line up of people working at trying to extricate a cart. At this point people - strangers - were working in pairs trying to de-wedge one...any.
Probably sensing there could be a customer rebellion brewing, she calls a certain name over the store speaker and a tall guy in his early 20's who obviously worked out, saunters over. His arms are rippled with muscles.
The two of us return to the carts and there are now approx. a dozen people gathered around the carts discussing ways in which to get one.

It was like a scene out of the Ten Commandments where Moses extends his hand over the waters and the sea parts.

Using one hand the outside clerk removed the first shopping cart in the long line and suddenly all the rest wheeled forward, waiting to be retrieved. Together we all said "ahhhhhhh" as if he had just performed the greatest magic trick. Actually, he had.

Quickly grabbing a cart, I returned to the customer service counter waiting patiently in line to return a mini rose bush that I had purchased two days before, since the bottom leaves were dropping off. The customer service clerk looked a little nervous as she reimbursed me. Can't imagine why.

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