Tuesday, October 23, 2007
why i've been banned from kroger
A few days back, I made an unusual weekday afternoon grocery stop to quickly pick up a few essential items. Judging by my overall experience, it appears that 4 o'clock on a Thursday is "octogenarian hour," which is good to know because from here on out I'll make a point to plan around it. See, it's not that I'm an ageist, nor that I'm the quickest pony out of the gate, however, when a girl's tired and in a hurry and just wants to get in and out without the fuss, she simply doesn't want to deal with guys like Earl.

And for the record, “Earl” probably isn’t really his name; it's simply what I'm dubbing him. Well, maybe it is his name and I'm just an amazingly spot-on judger of names. It's possible. Weirder things have happened, I suppose.

Anyway, "Earl" - ancient, tortoise-slow, and unironically wearing a John Deere baseball cap and Wrangler jeans - haunted me throughout my quickie trip to the grocery store. Our entwined and interminable journey began in the bread aisle. My first impression was that he was cute, despite taking an eternity in front of the peanut butter. He seemed sweet in the kind, feeble sort of way that only eighty-something-year-old men wearing baseball hats can, and I had to resist an inappropriate urge to hug him while waiting for him to select his jar of smooth and creamy and moveonoveratoutofmywayalready.

Finally able to grab what I needed, I next whipped it on over to the shampoo aisle where there he was again - putzing around the Tresemme. At first I didn’t think it was the same guy – it couldn’t be. There’s simply no scientifically possible way that a man operating at such a molasses-slow pace could have made it there before me. But apparently the laws of physics don’t apply to Earl, because there he was – John Deere-ed up and taking his sweet, sweet time amongst the conditioners. Again, it was slightly annoying to have to wait for him, but I recognize that old men deserve well-conditioned hair too, and so I donned my best grin-and-bear-it attitude while waiting four minutes to grab my shampoo.

Next, I hightailed it three aisles over to the cleaning supplies and - grrrr - there....he....was. Again, I was positively bewildered by how he got there so fast, and steamed as I watched him poking and prodding and generally taking his sweet old time picking at the dishwasher tabs I wanted.

He was with me in aisle three, farting around the Rice-A-Roni.

I met him again in the frozen food section, dallying amongst the Lean Cuisines.

He was even in the organic section with me – slowly contemplating every single bottle of Vitamin Water.

Having a terrible headache and just wanting to get home already, his tediously slow and tyrannically perpetual presence was beyond frustrating.

I fumed.
I burned.
I locked my jaw and gritted my teeth.
I resisted the desire to scream, and stifled an urge to hurl myself to the floor and throw a straight-up temper tantrum.

But being a generally level-headed and reasonable human being, I ultimately sucked it up, pulled it together and recognized that there was only one prudent solution to my problem.

And so I killed him.


Blogger Wife said...

Ugh! I cannot stand that! It happens to me in the summer, when I grocery shop at Meijer on Monday mornings a little too early (too close to Bingo). They're always there, taking up my time and space. I've even seen my grandpa there, schmoozing an older lady in front of the dairy case. It was weird. But don't worry, he doesn't wear John Deere hats, so you likely didn't kill him today ;).

Blogger Steve said...

I'm pretty sure Aristotle once said that wit is educated insolence, and I'm also pretty sure he had this post in mind when he said it...

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