Grocery Store Parking Lots....Not For the Faint of Heart!
How do you remain calm and serene while all around you the grocery store parking lot is utter chaos?
Im not overly fond of grocery shopping. Suffice to say that I actually despise it. I especially despise going on the weekends, but at my Kroger, it doesnt really matter when you go, because every, single day its like the day before the weatherman predicts a blizzard, 7 ft. of snow, remnants of Hurricane Ike, a tornado, a tsunami, or just a plain, old, summer shower. The message conveyed by the weather people is to hurry up and snatch every last loaf of bread, every gallon of milk and for good measure, every bottle of wine, off the shelves because God only knows how long you might be cooped up in your house and OMG! the end of days might be coming!
Just before I pull into the parking lot and see the blue sign "KROGER" I can already feel the vise-like grip of tension surrounding my head and by the time I actually pull into the parking lot, 12 drummers drumming have forgotten that theyre only supposed to be playing on the 12th day of Christmas and all 12 of them are drumming away inside my head.
Annoyance doesnt even come close to the feeling I get as I scan the parking lot looking for an empty spot. Forget finding one even remotely close to the door and even tho I KNOW walking is good exercise, I have this urge to smack the living crap out of whoever, smugly, suggested that its no big deal to park your car in Siberia and that its good for you to trudge 5 miles thru snow and ice to get to the grocery store (tell that to my creaky knees and aching back).
Im one of those (probably annoying) people who will drive around a few times looking for an empty place. Why I do this to myself, God only knows, because driving around is asking for even more annoyance. Have you ever noticed that while YOU may be courteous and pull as far to the side of the lane as possible, no one else does?
I pull far over to the side, in order to accommodate oncoming drivers as well as pedestrians who are not only pushing a cart full of groceries and dragging 3 bratty, screaming kids with them, but also who seem to have forgotten where they parked their car AND need a GPS to find it.
The grocery store parking lot is an affront to the senses. You will see people in their pajama pants who looked as tho they just rolled out of bed. You will see old women who clutch the steering wheel as though their very lives depended on it. And then you suddenly realize that its YOUR life which hangs in the balance as she comes careening toward you. You will see outrageous get-ups you have to swear are only being worn just to get attention (and believe me..they get attention!). You will watch in disbelief as a young Mom struggles for what seems like 20 minutes to unfold a stroller, unhook and unlatch a kid from the car seat (car prison) and then hook and latch him into the stroller. And the one I still cant quite erase from my mind...the classy Mom who changed her kids diaper in the parking lot, outside her car, in a grocery cart.
I sometimes think eating and therefore the need to grocery shop for food, has become highly overrated.
And then there's that moment when you find an empty spot and oh look! Its even fairly close to the front door and then it begins..the jockeying for the spot as you spot a guy facing your car. The evil eye passes between you and the other guy and you both inch closer to the spot, which, by the way, has yet to be vacated. Ahhh..you turn on your signal. That'll show him! If your signal is on, then youve laid claim to the spot. Right? WRONG! because guess what? He has HIS signal on too! Meanwhile the woman with the 3 bratty, screaming kids has finally found her car and is unloading her groceries into her SUV while shes attempting to hold onto 2 of the bratty, screaming kids while the other one runs amok around the SUV yelling "I have to go potty!" You sit there trying to appear nonchalant as though you havent got a care in the world while inside your very guts are churning because IT'S YOUR SPOT, DAMMIT, CAUSE YOU WERE THERE FIRST AND PUT YOUR SIGNAL ON FIRST!
Finally the woman with the 3 bratty, screaming kids is in her car, the last of the brats are buckled in, safe and sound and accounted for. Shes in the drivers seat but no backup lights are on, no tail pipe exhaust showing..nothing to indicate shes ready to pull out. In the meantime, your nemesis is still sitting waiting to make his move, drumming his fingers on his steering wheel, teeth clenched with cars lined up behind him and now behind you and you begin to wonder if a parking spot is worth this much aggravation.
The woman in the SUV is adjusting her rear view mirror (this after she lowered it to fix her hair and put on fresh lipstick) and miraculously, you notice her backup lights and you get ready to position yourself to claim YOUR spot.
Not so fast! You werent counting on the fact that she just bought this huge monster of a vehicle, has absolutely no idea how to back out of the spot, has become distracted because the 3 screaming, bratty kids are all now screaming louder and the one who was screaming about needing to go to the potty, probably just WENT to the potty. And you watch as she backs up a bit, stops and pulls forward, backs up a bit, stops and pulls forward, turns around and smack one of the brats in the head and then puts the SUV in park and just sits there for a few seconds as she picks up her cell phone and calls her husband for advice on how to get out of the parking spot.
The other guy is clearly mad. He rolls his window down and begins yelling at the woman with the brats and you just know that hes getting impatient and isnt going to sit there any longer. Good! You rejoice in your patience and ability to keep your cool, when clearly he couldnt.
He throws his car into gear, guns the engine, pulls up next to you and yells "you can have the damned spot!" And you smile and wave to him, which you dont do because youre a kind and considerate person, but because you want to further get under his skin. This is where, if you were any less of the adult you know you are (eye roll here), you would yell out your window to him "nah, nah, nah, nah boo boo. Stick your head in doo doo!" but being an adult and possessing good manners and knowing how to act properly in public, prevents you from sinking to your lowest common denominator (cough cough).
He roars off down the aisle and the woman with the 3 screaming, bratty kids has finally managed to maneuver the behemoth SUV out of the parking space, and you throw your car into gear, pull forward, begin to make the turn into the parking space when lo and behold, you realized that the "other guy" pulled a fast one on you and has pulled thru from the other side and is now the proud owner (at least for the period of time hes in the store) of the spot that was yours!
You begin seeing anger management courses in your future.
You sit there defeated, crushed and wishing for all the world that you had just thrown those proper manners out the window and you had gone ahead and called him a doodie head like you wanted to.
Keying someone's car has always seemed like such a desperate act..until now.
The day is not a total loss, however, because one of the bright spots about shopping at your local Kroger, especially around the holidays, is the fact that sample displays of every, conceivable food item, are set up all over the store. So hey! If you missed lunch or had a light supper, get in your car, drive to your local Kroger, have your very own encounter in the parking lot and then go smother your anger in samples of honey glazed ham and little squares of good cheese, shrimp w/cocktail sauce and eggnog.
P.S. If, after stuffing yourself, revenge is still on your mind...Find the jerk who took your parking spot. Chances are he's one of those really rude people who simply leaves his cart, parked in the middle of an aisle, and goes over to another aisle to find something he forgot. If he does, working quickly and without attracting too much attention, simply remove as many items as time permits from his grocery cart, place them back on the shelf, turn and begin walking away as you loudly say: "nah nah nah nah boo boo. Stick your head in doo doo!"
Plead the Fifth if he calls the cops.