Holiday Store Zombification

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I was out doing my Thanksgiving food shopping today.  I’m making some Italian-style green beans, steamed broccoli, cauliflower and carrots with rosemary and pumpkin pies to go to my mom’s for tomorrow.  Yeah, I know you’re jealous!

I’m at my friendly neighborhood Kroger in the produce section and I do what a good shopper does – I set my cart out of the way while I go and pick up items.  Your cart is like your island in a sea of craziness, but that island better not be in the middle of the aisle.

I’m picking up some green onions when I return to find my cart missing.  Suddenly, I felt like a mother father who just lost his little girl in the giant mega store on Black Friday.  I glance around and I can’t find my cart that already had most of my vegetables in it.  Finally, off to my right, I see a woman pushing my cart with all my vegetables and a bag of oranges in it.

I assume she just made a mistake and grabbed my cart, although I do momentarily imagine an orange-alert FBI warning about jihadists hijacking shopping carts for some sort of sinister grocery plot involving eggplant and rutabaga.

Anyway, I walk up to the woman and this is our exchange:

Me: Excuse me, ma’am.  I believe these are yours (holding up the oranges).
Woman – staring at me blankly
Me: These were in my cart.
Woman: What?
Me: These oranges.  I think they are yours.  You put them in my cart by mistake.
Woman: Oh, ok.
Me: I guess you thought it was your cart.
Woman: Oh, I’m sorry.  No, I don’t have a cart.

Ok, what? You don’t have a cart?  Now, I’m thinking that she just isn’t processing because she is completely absorbed in thoughts of basting turkeys, candy-ing yams and rolling her husband off the couch and out of his tryptophan-enduced comatose after the football game ends and the family has left.  Either that, or she has finally cracked and is wandering aimlessly through the store in a holiday stupor.

After that little encounter, I managed to maneuver fairly quickly through the aisles of zombie-like humans with eyes glazed over as if the thought of cranberries was just too much and they’ve decided to tune out the world.

It was a strange experience, akin with walking into a psych ward right after the meds were handed out.  Fortunately, I got out of there with my life and everything I needed except sliced almonds, but there’s always next year.

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