So since we are watching our pennies these days I've resorted to grocery shopping exclusively at Food4Less.
At the cost of revealing the alter ego of high maintenance spoiled brat' that lies within me... its been next to torture.
I despise the layout, they don't carry half the things I consider weekly necessities (case and point: fat free half and half for morning coffee. WTF!?), and then, to add insult to injury... just when you have made it thru the labyrinth of darkness and you can almost see the light of hope at the end of the checkout stand... You get to BAG YOUR OWN GROCERIES with two toddlers who are absolutely DONE with the entire shopping experience and looking for mischief.
Unfortunately... it IS less expensive and so I keep going back... every week...
This Sunday I was fortunate enough to get a shining moment of opportunity to sneak out the door for a shop without the kids while they were resting. Since it was right after church, my mother in law was in town and came along because I'm needy like that and I like to shop with other people who don't make a habit of using my sleeve to wipe their nose or shrieking when I don't pay and extra dollar fifty for the crackers with Dora on the front of the box.
When we got to the check out I felt slightly less anxious about the dreaded grocery bagging drill since I knew I wouldn't need to stop and look over my shoulder every third item bagged to make sure the candy display wasn't tipped over on top of a senior citizen in the next lane over at the hands of one of my terrible two.
But since I am emotionally scarred for life from such past experiences, I still began to cringe at the thought.
I ended up swapping lines just before check out to a lane that had a man with fewer items than the customer I was behind. Ann was still in the old line and asked if I thought she should swap also.
Me and my smart mouth... I said just loud enough for the whole line ahead of me to hear... "Oh, that's OK, stay where you are because I'm going to get this guy ahead of me to bag my groceries for me so you won't have to do it."
I meant it to be a joke, thinking Ann would go "ha ha, as if i would bag your groceries you lazy excuse for a daughter in law" (cuz were passive-aggressive like that), and the guy ahead of me would overhear and chuckle and say something friendly like 'why would I help an able bodied single woman like yourself you lazy excuse for a human soul' and we would all walk away feeling good about ourselves.
Ann got her laugh in right on cue as expected... but to my disappointment... the man ahead of me didn't look up!
But then, as I finished putting all my items on the belt and reached for my purse to swipe my card before heading down to the bagging station of dread, I glanced up and noticed the guy putting my things in his bags.... wait a minute...
Oh, no. No, no, no.... not HIS bags... MY bags!
He is putting my things in my bags!
He is bagging MY GROCERIES!
And now at a better look, he is a totally kind looking soul, with a wedding band proudly displayed on his finger for all to see, probably doing his wife's honey-do shopping on a Sunday after church... and all the while making sure to take time to smell roses, help old ladies across the street, rescue kittens from treetops, and teach the smarty pants behind him in line at the grocery store a lesson about opening her big fat mouth!
He bagged every.single.item.
I immediately turned beet red, broke into a sweat... muttered something to Ann about 'look at what is happening right now...' who then made some comment I can't recall that drew the attention of the checker who was 'so touched by his kindness and couldn't believe he was a total stranger who didn't even know me!' while I stood by not knowing whether to burst into tears and run away and hide or throw my arms around him and offer to name my (non existent and never-to-be) third child after him...
I think I might have managed to thank him... being extra careful never to make eye contact of course...
Note to self on lessons learned:
1. Be careful what you wish for (will I ever, ever learn this??)
2. Watch your mouth, stupid!
3. Try not to live life like you are the helpless victim for a random act of kindness in the next volume of "Chicken Soup for the Soul..." and if you are auditioning for the role at least make sure you have your children with you so you look less pitiful and more deserving while doing it.
4. I can't wait for the recession to end so I can go back to my fabulous life of the luxury of shopping at VONS where the high school boys are paid fairly to bag my groceries.
5. Chivalry is not dead... its just extremely rare and shockingly difficult to receive.