The Crazy Person in Wal-Mart

I’ll be honest right up front and admit it…the crazy person I’m referring to is me!

Let’s face it, going to Wal-Mart during Christmas week is no one’s cup of tea. But I gathered my courage, and headed out to go grocery shopping today, not only because I needed the supplies for our Christmas dinner, but because we’ve become accustomed to eating in general. I didn’t make it there as early as I would have liked, but I did still get to the store before lunch, and the parking lot wasn’t terrible, so I was hopeful…

It started out OK. Some things were more expensive than I was expecting, (oranges, I’m looking at you), which was annoying, but not terrible. And then I discovered that they were out of stock on a few key items I needed for recipes, (how do you run out of peppermint mocha creamer at this time of year?), so I came to the realization that I’d also have to stop at the grocery store. It was at that point that my mood began to sour, I guess.

You know how when you’re in a routine, going up and down each aisle, you begin to realize that you’re crossing paths with the same person, going the opposite direction, in every aisle? Well, I quickly came to that realization about a lady that was shopping at the same time as me, but when I say we “crossed paths,” what I really mean is that I waited for her to move out of the way in every aisle. Because she’s one of that special breed of shopper that needs to leave her cart in the middle of each aisle as she searches the shelves, peruses her list, and talks to some long-lost acquaintance that she just happened to run into. I kept hoping that eventually our shopping would fall out of sync, and I’d have the aisle, (at least my side of it), free and clear, but no such luck. She even got into the check-out lane next to me! Weird.

The real trouble didn’t start, however, until I got to the canned meat aisle. Ryan asked for canned tuna for his lunches this week, so I dutifully squatted down, (why must they keep those tiny cans on the bottom shelf?!?), to get a few cans. But, I must be more pregnant than I thought, because I almost didn’t make it back up! I’m sure the other shoppers must have gotten a chuckle at the crazy pregnant woman trying to get to her feet without making a bigger fool of herself…at least maybe I brightened someone’s shopping experience!

I didn’t really start to lose it until the toy department. I don’t even know what possessed me to go back there–I wasn’t actually looking for anything in¬†particular. Just morbidly curious, I guess. But as I was wandering down one of the aisles, the inevitable happened…one of the toys started talking to me. You know, the kind with the motion detectors that launch into their shtick whenever someone goes past? Unfortunately, though, I was deep in thought at the time, and had no idea there were such toys around. So, again, my fellow shoppers probably got a good laugh when I noticeably jumped at the disruption.

Things just kind of fell apart after that. I realized at one point that I was actually talking to myself…out loud. Just a little, but still. When did I become that person?

As I was checking out, a child in a line near mine starting crying that she was hungry. As her mother tried to shush her with promises of lunch at Subway as soon as they paid, I couldn’t help but think I really understood where the little girl was coming from. At this point, I had been in the store for over an hour, (and remember, I still have to stop at a regular grocery store on the way home for the missing items from my list), it was past lunch time, and I was hungry, too! Not a good situation for a pregnant woman!

Then, as I was paying, I realized that the cashier didn’t even bother to card me for the bottle of peppermint schnapps I was buying for our Christmas cake, which I felt weird doing in the first place, because I don’t usually buy liquor when pregnant, and I always feel like the pregnancy police is going to yell at me. But not to even be carded? Then I really did want to cry.

I was quite relieved to finally leave the store, so I could stop making a fool out of myself. As I was putting the groceries in the van, though, I couldn’t help but think that my shopping experience would have been better if they would hand out stickers at the check-out saying, “I survived Christmas 2011 at Wal-Mart,” or something to that effect. Because it really was quite an accomplishment!

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