Someone’s dinner is going to be ruined today. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but soon and for the rest of… well, as long as they have the urge to eat cheese.
And it’s all my fault.
Shall I explain?
Good. Play it, Sam.
You may be familiar with grocery stores that use an ingenious system to keep the carts near the store instead of rolling around in the parking lot. It works like this: the carts snuggle up one inside the next. They are linked together by a chain and key on the first that is inserted into the keyhole on the next. In order to release the key, the shopper inserts a coin. When you finish with the cart, you snug it back in line, place the key into the keyhole and retrieve the coin.
It is a hassle if you don’t have the correct change. It also means that if you parked far from the store’s entrance, after you’ve purchased your groceries, you have a long walk to the car, you unpack, and you have to repeat the circuit in order to return the cart and retrieve your money.
I know several stores have a 25¢ system. These days, there might not be enough motivation to return a cart if all you lose is a quarter. The carts at the store nearest me require a Looney*. I have yet to see a cart wandering aimlessly among the parked cars.
(A *Looney is a dollar. We Canadians have a cute sense of humour when it comes to our currency. The two dollar coin? A Tooney. Aren’t we clever?) See image below.
I like to play a little game when I shop at this grocery store. After I park my car, I scan the lot to see who might be ready to take the cart back. I holler, “I’ll take that for you!” and besides the transfer of funds, we exchange pleasantries about how witty we are and how the cart is warmed up ready for another round and silly nonsense like that. The first shopper is spared a trip back to the store and I have am content with my little victory. (Yes!)
Like this morning. A gentleman had just finished loading his car as I pulled up. I bid him good morning and offered to take the cart back for him. “Sure!” he said, and I gave him my Looney.
A few minutes later, in the produce section, I place my first selection in the cart and … oh ho! What’s this? Mozzarella? What the…? Then is dawns on me. This is the guy’s cheese! I grab it and make a dash for the exit. Of course, it’s not the exit, it’s the entrance and you can’t get there from here. But it doesn’t matter. His car is gone.
I return the cheese to the grocery shelf. It’s astounding the range of thoughts that ran through my noggin.
Damn! I should have made sure the cart was empty!
Huh. The store will make double on this brick of cheese.
… followed by
Oh man, that poor guy. His family is probably expecting a homemade pizza for dinner tonight and he’s going to wonder… “I know I bought cheese. I just know it!”
I regret this. For now. Maybe tomorrow. But for the rest of my life, this little problem don’t amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world. Someday I’ll understand that.
Here’s looking at you.
How cheesy is that?
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