So, in typical me fashion, I left work yesterday to do my Thanksgiving shopping at the last minute, on my lunch break, when a hoard of angry, overzealous shoppers chose the exact same time to do just that.
I’ve never been a big fan of crowds, or people. I’m a friendly person, but I tend to be claustrophobic and I can’t stand it when people don’t pay attention to their surroundings. Especially in grocery stores, people tend to have tunnel vision. They blockade the entire produce section with their cart while they stand and stare blankly at the tomatoes, oblivious to anyone else in the store. Hey people! I have an agenda to keep here! That turkey’s not gonna bake itself!
With that in mind, as soon as I entered the parking lot of Trader Joe’s, I knew I was in trouble. Not only were there dozens of cars in various stages of parking – including one lady who insisted on backing in to a spot (and had to have another go at it before she got it just right) despite all the cars around her waiting to get by; there were no spaces in the parking lot at all.
It’s not a huge lot, but I’ve never had a problem finding a spot. This time, I had to circle around back and wait for somebody to back out.
As I’m walking in, I see a guy drop his smoldering cigarette on the sidewalk, like two feet from the waste cigarette urn outside the building. I give him the shank eye, but hold my tongue.
I walk in the door am immediately bottle-necked behind the gaggle of ladies examining the flower arrangements just inside the door. I squeeze past them and take a shortcut through the bread area, conveniently snagging a bag of bake-at-home ciabatta rolls before strolling down to the produce aisle, where I hear a thundering female voice vaguely reminiscent of Judge Judy:
“Do you want to tell me where it is you’re going??!”
Apparently her (I’m assuming) husband has started to meander off the chosen path. Her voice is so loud I look over, startled, as do a few other people in the vicinity. I felt so sorry for the guy; he was like, “Okay! Can you keep your voice down please? People are looking at you.” And she just keeps yelling at him: “No I can’t! You’re not even helping!” On and on. I’m thinking to myself, at least I don’t have to spend Thanksgiving with HER.
Then I get to the meat area and all the small turkeys are gone (my fault for waiting ’til the last minute, but still). I can buy a 20 lb. turkey that my husband and I will be gnawing on for the rest of the year, or I can buy an -albeit scrumptious looking- turkey breast stuffed with cranberries that may or may not be enough for three people. OR go to another store to try to find a decent 11th-hour turkey.
Then a little boy plows into me with his little kiddie cart, and his mom half-heartedly chastises him, an order which he promptly ignores and goes right on pushing the cart into anyone in his path. Its like a grocery store version of Chicken. I back away from the turkeys, opting for the 11th hour alternative I hope to find at Target.
I make a beeline through the rest of the store, trying to appear patient when I’m really just dying to start my own a game of Chicken with anyone who dares to get in my way.
Finally, I’m at the register. One of the things I love about Trader Joe’s is that the don’t mince on service – when it’s busy, every register is open and they always try to help the person who’s been waiting in line the longest.
So, after paying for four bottles of wine, a six pack of Two Hearted, a bag of celery, the rolls, cranberries, and the various other accoutrement of a decent Thanksgiving dinner, I make my way out to the roller derby that is the Trader Joe’s parking lot.
When I get to my car I find that an Escalade has parked so close to my driver’s side that I had will have to wedge myself into a 6-inch space in order to get in the car. I throw everything in the trunk, unlock my car, and shimmy into the driver’s seat.
Next year, I’m ordering Chinese food.