This ‘n’ That
Years ago, I used to enjoy buying groceries. I think it was the thrill of the hunt.
The hunt I’m referring to was the hunt for a product I needed, had a coupon for and needed the proof-of-purchase form for a mail-in rebate.
If the coupon could be doubled or tripled, that just added to the thrill. And, if the item I was buying was on sale, that was icing on the cake.
Those were the good old days of grocery shopping. Today, few stores even double their cents-off coupons. It’s rare to see rebates offered.
Nowadays, I just trudge off to the store, hoping to make my purchases and be on the road again in an hour or less. But, recently, I’ve encountered a new challenge in my quest to get the groceries on my shopping list. Lately, the store where I usually shop has been out of a number of brands of items I buy regularly. These aren’t “discontinued” products – they just aren’t on the shelf.
The “missing links” aren’t simply sold out that day. They’re still gone the next week and the week after that. They sometimes turn up after a three- or four-week wait.
To say this gets old fast would be a huge understatement. So, last week, I decided to try another full-sized grocery store. I had this fantasy that I would find all the items on my list just by driving a few miles out of my way.
This fantasy didn’t last long. The new store had even fewer items or brands than my regular destination. I finished my search and still had only half the items on my shopping list – I won’t even go into the challenge of shopping in a venue where I was unfamiliar with the layout.
But the fun didn’t really begin until I got into the checkout line.
I have to mention at this point that I’m one of those folks who can unerringly pick out the worst possible checkout stand in any given store. There can be four or five lanes open and the one I pick will have a problem. Last week, my line had problems (plural).
There was only one person ahead of me, a shopper with one item. How could anything go wrong, I thought.
First of all, there was apparently some huge snafu going on before I arrived. This problem required a supervisor to come over to troubleshoot and several minutes to fix the problem. The worst, I believed, was over.
Wrong again. The customer ahead of me was purchasing a gift card. After the checker rang it up for the amount requested, the customer discovered he didn’t have enough money to pay for it.
The checker struggled to change the amount of the gift card to a lower amount. As you have probably guessed, that took a while and required the supervisor’s assistance again – and then the customer discovered he still didn’t have sufficient funds.
I’ll leave the rest of this story to your imagination. I have to say that the poor man apologized to me several times.
The problem of finding a satisfactory grocery remains unsolved. A major chain will be opening a new store in Texas City in a few months. Believe me, I’ll be checking it out as soon as it opens. If it meets my hopes, they’ll have a new, loyal customer. If not, in the immortal words of Willie Nelson and an aptly named ’60s rock band, I’ll be “on the road again”.