What could go wrong, when you're having a lovely time, at your local store . . .
Damn . . . forgot to do the shopping . . . Took a deep breath, and tried to surpass the urge of wanting to go home; even though it was the end of a long, and busy day. Wished someone could have helped me out, because it felt such a huge burden. However, as nothing could be done about it, dragged my lone behind to my local supermarket.
Christmas was just around the corner, and wanted to find out, on which days was the store open. But there was a slight issue with that: someone placed the temporary sign on the automatic door. That majestic execution of a plan made it impossible to read the damn thing, while people kept the entry nice and open. Said nothing about this recurring theme, just shook my head, and went in.
The store had a nice festive vibe to it with all those Christmas lights, decorations, and whatnots. Was walking by, when a new section of tea caught my attention. It looked rather excessive, with those huge ribbons and tinsels on the side. In any other case, this would have repelled me, but was too exhausted to care at that point. On the other hand, the mere thought of having some delicious tea, encouraged me to have a closer look.
However, something went south, while was busy making my discovery. Had this tickling sensation on my back, that something bad was about to happen. And lo and behold . . . someone indeed got into a heated discussion, over some trivial matter.
“I’m sorry, but this cart belongs to me. I've really no time . . .”
“Where is it . . .”
“My lovely daughter is paying me a visit tomorrow. She's bringing her fiancé and—.”
“Hmm . . .”
“And there are a lot of things I wanted to buy.”
“Wonder where they store those . . .”
“Ahem. I can clearly see you putting stuff in my cart.”
“Oy . . . I was talking to you, You hear me?”
There were all kinds of flavors: Common ones like green, or black tea, More adventurous ones such as oolong, or rooibos, And ones that were a mixture of stimulating ingredients . . . Then there was this one little, shiny, and bright red package, that stood out from the rest. It appeared to be a blend between seaweed, bamboo, balut, and some hot spices . . . Placed it right back. Even the mere thought of drinking such concoction gave me the creeps.
“Should be around somewhere . . .”
“Sweetheart, don’t act like you couldn’t hear me! I’m standing right next to you.”
“Stop ignoring me!”
“Gosh . . . Excuse me, Would you mind?”
“I'm sorry but I can't help you, and I don’t want your stuff.”
“What in the world. I’m not selling anything.”
“Not giving you money either.”
“Do I look like a bum?”
“Is it not what you’re after?”
“No, of course not!”
“Sheesh . . . Then what exactly do you want?”
“This right here. My cart. Now chop-chop, haven't got all day you know.”
“This woman . . . I’m not having this nonsense again . . . If you'll excuse me—.”
Could not decide on what to do next. One hand, was trying to make an informed decision, on the other, was confused by the sheer amount of available choices.
“What are you waiting for, a miracle or something? Grab your junk and get lost!”
“Wait-what? No. No-no-no . . . I'm not doing that. That's not how it works—.”
“Yes it does . . .”
“Now hold on!”
“Why would I? In fact, you are the troublemaker! Should snitch you up.”
“Don’t be ridiculous. Are we in the fifties or what? I did nothing. I'm not going to be a part of this . . . whatever this is! I'm leaving now . . .”
“Very funny, but you're not going anywhere.”
And there was that one upper row of high-quality leaves. Those prices hit me like a truck: had no idea that tea could be that expensive. Although, was not even sure when was the last time my cupboard had one of those either.
“I’d appropriate if—.” “I said—.”
“Would you mind getting another cart for yourself? There's plenty to choose from.”
“Get your own, scamp!”
“Calling me names won't help you. This isn’t elementary—.”
“I’ll show you what’s elementary . . .”
“Show me what?”
“You’ll find out soon enough.”
“You’ve a spray?”
They made it difficult to hear my own thoughts. Wondered how they could be so loud. Boggled my mind, this one.
“Wait. Hold on . . . Said-wait! I asked you a question, What are you doing?”
“Won't leave without this one.”
“Get your filthy hands off my cart!”
“Stop throwing out my stuff!”
“Shut your mouth and empty my cart, quickly!”
Was left with little patience by this point. And could not concentrate on my task. Made a rushed decision, grabbed the closest box, and chose to regret it later.
“Bet you can't even spell 'fribble’! Just-let-me—.” “Told you—.” “Could-you-not! Let go of it!”
“You’ve the nerve, skank! You sure reap what you sown.”
“Aha. Now I understand . . . You're a psychopath, underneath that costume of yours.”
“What did you just call me?”
Wanted to take a basket, from the usual pile, but there was none. Was about to hunt down one for myself, when a nearby clerk reassured me that one of their colleagues were already on their way. That did not soothe me at all, but stayed nonetheless.
“Would you stop acting like a child? It's wearing me out . . . Why do I even.”
“Ahem. You just never shut up, Now do ya?”
“If only you weren't such a nuisance . . . And by the way, Don't you have better things to do?”
“Had eight siblings, just-so-you-know. I was raised by the most respectful and hard working woman you’d ever see!”
It all felt so surreal: as if Dante's Inferno came to life. Never have I ever wanted to pick up faster a shopping basket.
“See? You’ve no proof! None.”
“What’s this all about all of a sudden? Should I give you a certificate or what?”
“Ahem. You think you’re better than me? At least I didn't dress up as a punk.”
Eventually, a clerk came back with several stacks. And it turned right into a pigsty, at lunchtime: baskets flew everywhere, and people stomped on each other to get there first . . . Managed to escape unscathed, despite all of that, and left in a hurry. However, was not far enough to mute that quarreling bunch.
“That is so not true. Saw you coming in with your ragged trolley . . . minutes after I’d arrived.”
“Told you that I had to take care of something! Just because I wasn't here doesn't necessarily mean you' re allowed t—.”
Got distracted, a little, and started to contemplate. Tried to figure out why, and when did hatred became such a common, and widespread phenomena.
“Stop wasting my time, you thief!”
“I told you, at least a hundred tim—.” “Hey, You-little—.” “I'm not giving you that!”
“What a massive hippie. Seems your kind can do whatever they feel like. Nothing is sacred for you, isn’t it?”
“What’s that supposed to mean. Do you have any idea how degenerative that sounds?”
Took a sharp turn and went straight to the produce section to grab some apples. Almost could not find any, as there were so few to begin with.
“It’s a pain to carry both my trolley and cart together . . . My back hurts all the time!”
“What if I told you that I fell over, and hit my side little over two weeks ago. Would that change your mind?”
“No, not really . . .”
“And I badly injured my ankle, and was forced to spend two nights at the hospital.”
“Why should I care? Everybody has their own problems . . . Duh . . . You don't hear me crying over mine!”
“You just contradicted yourself. Would you look at that . . . Someone should award you with a badge for being such a blockhead.”
“Blockhead. Blockhead you say? I'll show you who's a blockhead. Out of my way, you massive cow!”
“S-st-stop it! You'll end up—.”
The vegetables did not look half as good as the fruits did . . . Took quite some time to fish out the better ones.
“If only I had my stupid spray on me . . . Darn, Where-is-it?”—heard, what must have been, their trolley hitting the ground—“Now look what you've done. Pick-that-up!”
“Haha . . . Come again?”
“Told you, that I can't easily bend down with my weak joints.”
“Serves you right . . . And get your hand off my cart, you uncivilized rag.”
“Curse you! Just because I stepped away for a moment, doesn't mean you can steal this from me!”
“What are you on about? It was empty from the start and I took it. End-of-discussion!”
“Humph. My coin is inside the cart and not yours! It's from my tiny pension—.”
“Pff . . . Now you make it sound like it's all about the money. Why am I not surprised . . .”
The last produce bag torn apart as soon as it landed in my basket. This “happy” accident made me vary of my own luck . . .
“Was my fault all along? Sheesh, Have you no shame, woman?”
“You’ve lost me on that one . . .”
“And you spit on others as well, how typi—.”
“I've really no time for this. The cart was vacant and that-is-it.”
“Told you that I had to go outside. Had-to-go-outside! Had-to—.”
“Stop it, You hear me? Stop acting like a toddler . . .”
“That’s impossible, and I won't accept this. You made this up, just to humiliate me!”
Once done, had this sudden, weird feeling of missing something important. Just stood there in silence for a while . . . in hopes that it would remind me of something. Eventually, remembered to grab some herbs.
“Ahh. Nobody cares . . . Fine. That's it! Move out of my way, right this instant!”
“You think I'll let you go, just because you ordered me to do so?”
“Damn right you will!”
“You have to be kidding . . . Such an endlessly dense woman—.”
“Take back what you’ve just said!”
Managed to find some basil plants, but they all looked ill: all the plants were sitting in wet soil, and their leaves were wilting. Then a clerk came by, who looked rather troubled, whilst they were on their headsets, “Fan-tastic. What a way to set the mood. Do y'all hear them through the mic? Can someone do something abo—.”
“Would you look at that”—saw someone blocking their way—“people like these . . . should be locked up in an asylum or something. Unbelievable . . . Truly unbelievable, Don't you think?”
Herd the clerk giggle, as they dropped another crate on the shelf, “Uhm, yeah. Whatever you say so . . . it's the holidays you know. People tend be more obnoxious than usual.”
“Back in my days . . . things were quite different. Actually . . . come to think of it . . . a-whole-lot different . . . People were more disciplined and well sorted. Those sort of things . . .”
“Yes-yes, of course.”
Someone, or rather something, triggered the alarm. Right after that, a security guard ran past me. Then the noise stopped. It all happened so fast, and it was over before anyone could figure out what was going on.
“Listen. Take your trolley and—.”
“I’m having a heart attack!”
“Oh right . . . I can barely lift my left arm, my whole side is covered in purple, and blue bruises, but you sure do have the avarice to fight me!”
“Well I'll be damned . . . I served for thirty-eight years as a police officer. I worked really hard, often on weekends, holidays, and till late-nights! Did a great deal of service to my country. So show me some goddamn respect, you good for nothing—.”
Sighted in sheer frustration, and tightened my grip on the basket’s handle. It felt like being at a children’s playground.
“Out of my way—.” “S-stop it! Where's a stupid clerk when you need one?”
“Didn't become a doctor just to listen to some old-redneck, from
God-knows-where . . . I'm not letting you embarrass me in front of everyone!”
“I don't give a rats ass.”
“Swear on me life! This-is-mine”—they tried to cough up something—“and I'll push you into another shelf if I have to!”
Heard that a couple of boxes went flying. Was not sure who did it, but suspected that the pair who argued was behind it. Also hoped that this was their last act, before they were kicked out for good.
“Despicable . . .”
“Why's nobody around? Where's that long-haired one? Where-are-they?”
“Stop shouting for God's sake! There's no way—.”
“Humph. Oh my goodness, Where-the-hell are they? Where-where’s that good-for-nothing manager?”
Had to let a couple pass, in the next aisle, as it was full of leftover junk. Boy they were fun to listen to.
“Would you believe those two?”
“Don't bother with them, Mark . . . Let’s just get what's on the list.”
“Just get some yoghurt and let's move! I've a lot to do before the kids arrive for dinner.”
“Don’t you dare say another word or else . . .”
“Ok-ok! Calm down . . . Geez.”
“And stop eavesdropping!”
“I’m not going to repeat myself.”
“Gah. You're the absolute worst! The Devil himself . . .”
“I heard that!”
Was glad that they went the opposite direction. Had enough on my plate already, but then there was another, semi-major setback . . .
“Did you see last night's episode? They finally revealed the serial-killer. Who would've thought that Sofía was the culprit.”
“Had no idea . . . I thought it was Armando all along.”
“You really don't like that guy, now do you?”
“He reminds me so much of my father . . .”
“Ugh . . . I get what you're saying . . . but I do wonder what's going to happen to the Rodrigo family next week—.”
Leaned closer and thought to interrupt, as their conversation seemed to never end, “Excuse me, but could you let me over there, so I could grab a pack of tissues?”
“I sure hope they punish Sofía for what she did . . . Raquel's death won't help—.”
“Oh come on. Imagine being in Fabricio's. He just lost another grandchild . . . Umm-oh-right-oh-right . . . excuse us. Move over Kate, so others can get to the shelves.”
“Mhm, thank you.”
Checked the list again, just to be sure. And did a last look around, before heading to the cashiers.
“We don't tolerate such behaviors in the store. If you don't stop right now, I'll be forced to ask you to leave.”
“Oh my . . . the manager himself. Where have you been? Thought you'd never
show up . . .”
“Don’t listen to this snake! She's the one who's responsible for this uproar!”
Caught a pair of lungs wheeze, “I’ve nothing to do with this as per usual.”
“Oh-my-God. She's outright lying, Can't you see? She's just like that baggage she seems to—.”
“Ma’am please calm down! I’m sure we can figure out something . . .”
Was waiting in line, when it dawned on me: forgot to grab some soy milk for my granola. Felt like a true idiot, and stumped back to the aisles.
“For the last time . . . Stop it or I'll have to call security! This is my final warning.”
“Ahem. I'll be the judge of that, young man! You better give me a hefty discount at the checkout, or I'll happen to gossip to my friends at the Elders Association. Especially, how—.”
“That won't be necessary Mrs. Baggot. I'll be waiting for you at fifths register . . . Just like I always do. Oh and let me take care of your trolley while we're at it.”
“Oh-my-oh-my. Now we’re talking. You're half the descent man after all.”
“Wait-what. What are you . . . Is this how you treat your customers?”
Though there was something strange in the shop’s layout: it seemed that the vegan aisle was not where it used to be. Took me a while to figure out, that they moved it right where these people were squabbling. Wanted to pull my hair out.
“Outrageous, How could anyone let this woman get away with this?”
“I'm sorry Ma'am, but there's—.”
“Don’t bother, sweetheart . . . And as for you, old fart, hope we never see each
“This is ridiculous, Am I the only one who sees that?”
“Mrs. Baggot, I’m sure you'd be interested in our—.”
“I was talking to you Sir!”
“Shush woman, he's talking to me—.”
Avoided having eye contact. Grabbed two cartons and shoved them into my basket. Then my phone started to ring, and got
distracted . . . They were already gone, by the time my call has ended. Felt a bit relieved, but remained anxious.
Later, at the conveyor, thought to recognize a familiar voice. Braced myself for another incident . . . but it did not come. Although, they were outright fuming, and ready to blow, ”The hell she thinks she is? Goddammit . . . Joe . . . He’ll know what to do . . .
Huh . . . His an MP after all . . .”