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Printed from https://www.Writing.Com/view/2210623
Rated: ASR · Short Story · Contest Entry · #2210623
A piece of shopping hell. Written for the Writer's Cramp 1/18/2020.
Snow Warning

It doesn't take long for the panic to set in. The instant the forecasters say that snow is on the way, there is pandemonium.

But who am I to talk? I'm on the way to the store too, a hastily scribbled list in my pocket. I know that there are so many things missing from it that I am going to need; I'll just have to grab what I can and hope for the best.

The traffic is well backed up before I get anywhere near the store, and it is with a sinking heart that I see all the indicators flickering their drivers' intention to turn into the car park. That is as soon as there is a space.

Car after car pulls out onto the main road, and I can imagine the bulging bags that they're holding. Those in front of me just seem to trickle their way in. I think of my list, and the imminent snow and I want to cry in frustration. At this rate, there is going to be nothing left in the store to buy.

Finally finding a vacant space, I hastily park, climb out of the driving seat and dash towards the trolleys. There are only two left and I can see three more people heading towards them. I fight against my polite instinct and dash faster, grabbing the second one, and hearing myself being soundly cursed by the losers. I've got no time to waste in worrying about their words.

Bread first, and there's not a chance. There are a few packs of buns which I grab, not even bothering to check the dates. Then I join the scramble to get to the shelves. I thought they were going to be pretty empty and I wasn't wrong. There is vacant space after vacant space.

I can forget my list, then. It's going to be a case of get what's there and make the best of it. Even to do that I have to push my way through and barge my way back, clinging on tightly to the packets and boxes that I blindly grab.

The problem is that I have to leave my trolley to reach the shelves. No matter how much I put in there, it seems to be emptying as fast as I'm filling it. People are helping themselves to my hard-gotten stash! Now I've got to try to keep an eye on the trolley and on the shelves. I drag it as near as I can.

The queues at the checkouts worm back along the aisle making it even harder to get around; I reach what I can as I line up. My trolley is not empty but it is certainly not as full as I expected.

There are raised voices coming from somewhere in front of me. I can imagine what it is about. Someone can't pay. They are having to give back some of their purchases and as they do so there is a free-for-all crush to grab those extra items.

I'm pushed from the front and from behind, and I'm feeling the urge to scream. When I finally get to the check-out I am at my limit. So is my credit card, I realize, as my purchases are totted up. I just hope I have got everything I need, for there is no way I'm going back around through the chaos.

The journey home isn't as bad, at least once I get out of the car park. Four bulging bags need to be carried indoors, and while I do this I look at the sky. The first flake of snow begins to fall, only it's not snow, it's rain. The temperature has risen and there will be no snow.

I look at all the things I've bought and frown, most of them I'd have never have normally bought and now I'm stuck with them.

All because of a panic, brought on by a faulty forecast!


(660 words)

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