There I stood perusing the aisles at my local Wal-mart store, waiting for my prescription from the pharmacy. It is truly amazing how you can simply walk into a store with a list of only one or two items and somehow manage to come out with an entire shopping cart filled to the brim with items that you didn’t even know you needed! At least my daughter is not with me today, and I won’t have to worry about her putting items in the cart or having a melt-down because she wanted a wind-up toy, even though she had three just like it at home.
I gazed down at the half crumpled list in my hand: toothpaste, kitchen trash bags, salad dressing, and a birthday card for my mother. The list was pretty short, but the items I needed where scattered in each corner of the store. I was on a mission to gather each of the items from my list without filling my cart. In fact, I didn’t even grab a cart. My strategy was not only simple but frugal! Get in, stick to the list and get out. My problem, I had a half-hour to kill.
I felt like I was entering shark infested waters. Every aisle and every corner held a temptation. The store was decked out in all its Easter best. Everywhere I looked there were little, stuffed bunny rabbits, cadbury eggs, colorful Easter grass, and candy!
The sharks started circling as I headed for the toothpaste. A large, green frog peered at me from over the display at the end of the aisle. “Now, let’s see, which toothpaste will make my teeth the whitest”. I knew exactly which toothpaste I wanted, but I was trying to distract myself from the imaginary sounds coming from the end of the row. What was it saying? “Bud…Weis…er…” NO, that wasn’t it!! I heard, “BUY…. ME…. NOW”.
I grabbed the toothpaste and made a mad dash to the back of store to locate the kitchen trash bags. I had to pass through the electronics department with that large tub of $5 movies. My heart was pounding as I got closer to the sales tub. Oh boy, right there on top of the stack was Robin Hood starring Kevin Cosner. I love Keven Costner, especially in those green leotards. I deployed my diversion by switching the toothpaste back and forth between my hands narrowly squeaking by the display. As I took a deep breath and moved ahead I could swear I heard Kevin say, “I would dye for you”. I checked my phone, I still had 20 minutes until my prescription would be ready. ugh!
I found the extra-ply, heavy duty, lightly scented trash bags with the super-strong draw string handles and made my way to the condiment aisle. Oh dear, they are having a sale on brownie mix. My mouth started watering. The sweet smell of chocolaty, moist, luscious brownies filled my nostrils. Wait! That is a sales tactic! That smell is coming from the bakery located just a few rows away. “Pull it together”, I hear my self say.
Here we are, the condiment aisle.
Seriously! Why are there so many salad dressings to choose from? At least I knew I could waste 10 minutes reading the labels to determine which one would help me live longer. I finally decided on 16 oz. bottle of Hidden Valley creamy ranch dressing. There is something about that name that is enticing. I wonder if I could go visit Hidden Valley?
I checked my phone, 10 minutes left until my script would be ready.
I took a pen out of my purse and crossed the items off my list one by one; toothpaste – check, trash bags – check, salad dressing – check. The last item on my list was a birthday card for my mother. I think I might be in the clear. I know I will have to pick up at least 10 cards until I find the one that is just right. I know this will take me at least 10 minutes.
I think I’ll just cut through the women’s department. It will be quicker than fighting the crowds at the front of the store. Oh look! They have the cutest rain jackets! Spring is just a few weeks away and that means April showers. I could really use a rain jacket. I mean, that’s not really an impulse buy, right? It is something that is practical.
STICK TO THE LIST! my conscious beats me over the head. I keep moving and without even thinking about it I start humming…”I’m singing in the rain, I’m singing in the rain, what a glorious feeling….”
Finally, my last stop, the card section.
This one is too happy, this one it too plain, this one is not appropriate, yikes! This one… sniff, sniff… this one is just right. I balance the four items in my arms as I make my way to the pharmacy. I get up to the counter and know I am in the clear. I take a deep sigh! “What? I can’t pay for my other items here?” “I have to go to the front check out?” Oh boy, this is the biggest hurdle the check out counter!!! gulp
I grab my prescription, put my blinders on, and swim through the crowd to the front check out counter. I think I hear the music from Jaws, duunnn dunnn… duuuunnnn duun… duuunnnnnnnn dun dun dun dun dun dun dun dun dun dun dunnnnnnnnnnn dunnnn!!! Hershey bars, Reese Cups, gum, magazines, finger nail polish, miniature flashlights, argh!!
I place each of my items on the conveyor belt: toothpaste, trash bags, ranch dressing, birthday card. The clerk asks, “Will that be everything?” I can feel the beads of sweat forming across my forehead as I stare back her blankly. Will that be everything?? She is trying to get me to buy more! I take a deep breath and commonly reply, “Yes, that will be everything, thank you”. I did it! I really did it!! I think to myself.
Then the clerk deploys her final move as she reaches into the display basket at the end of the checkout counter, “We are running a special on jelly beans. They are only a dollar”. “Would you like to add a bag to your order?”
I grab my purchases and quickly make my way to the safe haven of my vehicle before a girl scout peddling cookies can tackle me. I place my bag of items in the seat next me and put the keys in the ignition. I take a deep breath and sigh. I never knew going to the store was so stressful. As I back out my parking space the sweet, tangy taste of tangerine orange fills my mouth instantly calming my nerves.
Hey, I did go to Wal-mart to pick up my prescription which just happened to include a bag of therapeutic jelly beans.