How to Fail at Shopping

We begin tonight’s story at the local Winco.

Normally, Paul and I do our grocery shopping first thing Sunday morning, when it’s safe. At that time, people are typically asleep or in church, which lets us freely navigate the aisles for our groceries without incident. However, Paul has taken advantage of the aftermath of Snowmaggedon 2012 by volunteering for extra hours at work the last two Sundays. That meant we had to do our shopping after he gets off work.

I’ve never been a huge fan of Winco, but the cheaply priced produce is very attractive to us right now, as we are on a budget and our grocery shoppings typically consist primarily of produce. Tonight when we arrived, we found that practically everyone in Marysville was also packed into the store, and socializing seemed to be taking a larger importance than shopping because it seemed like on every aisle were people standing idly, talking.

The experience wasn’t what I would describe as fun, but it wasn’t horrific or noteworthy either…until we reached the checkout. At Winco, you bag your own groceries instead of having the clerk do it for you. Each checkstand is equipped with two different conveyor belts, one on each side, to ensure that nobody’s stuff gets stacked up or confused. We picked a lane and started unloading our cart. I half-noticed that there was another shopping cart ahead of us with nothing but a case of water. No one was around but I wasn’t watching carefully and just assumed that the owner of the cart was over bagging up his or her stuff.

I finished unloading groceries onto the belt and was taking a sip of my coffee when I was shoved out of the way by a short, dark-haired woman wearing the most horrendous shade of fuchsia lipstick ever to come into existance. “Sorry,” she said as she placed a tub of peanut butter among my purchases.

I really must try this strategy. Next time I’m buying just one item, I’m going to add it to another shopper’s stuff and see if I can trick someone else into paying for my new socks or my mascara. Awesome idea, short chick. Not working with me, though. I am an observant shopper, and I know I didn’t order any ugly-lipstick-clad woman’s condiments.

I raised an eyebrow. “Uh, that isn’t yours,” I blurted before I could stop myself. She looked confused, so I picked up her peanut butter and was about to place it behind my stuff when it dawned on me that she was the person whose shopping cart was sitting in the middle of our lane. I handed the peanut butter to the cashier.

Ms. Ugly Lipstick’s groceries were piled up and she took forever to pay. Then once she did pay, she plunked her purse down on the empty side of the conveyor belt that should have been for OUR groceries while she fished around in her wallet and put her things away. I fantasized momentarily about kicking her. Ohhhh, how fun it would be to kick her. There would be the moment when my foot connected, then the look of surprise when she realized what had happened. She might ask why I did it, to which I could respond that I like to kick stupid people who double my time at the checkout.

Yes, kicking her would have been a solid Win for me. However, I resisted, and she finally managed to get her crap organized and off our side of the conveyor belt so the cashier could ring up our groceries.

As I finished bagging up our stuff, Ms. Ugly Lipstick was still on the other side, slowly placing her items in bags. The cashier had to double up and put the next person in line’s stuff on our side, even though the whole point of the layout is to alternate sides so that no one has to wait.

And here I thought Winco was fairly idiot-friendly.

“I want to do that sometime,” Paul told me as we walked to the parking lot. “I’ll walk up with one item and say ‘I want to buy this’ and then go back for something else, and then something else, do my entire shopping one thing at a time. Then I’ll see how long it takes the cashier to get rude.”

I snickered.

“And you pay fifteen bucks a month for HBO,” he scoffed. “You can get all your entertainment here for free!”

True that.

Snowmageddon 2012

It’s been an odd week, mostly due to what is being affectionately referred to as Seattle’s Snowmageddon 2012. It started snowing lightly on Tuesday night, and then by Wednesday the Pugent Sound was getting several inches of the white fluffy stuff.

The snow continued into Thursday, as temperatures dropped to the mid-twenties. This created a huge amount of ice and slippery conditions. Then today, the weather warmed up to the thirties, and rain began to fall heavily. All the nice pretty snow is turning rapidly into slush and excess water, making a huge mess.

Earlier in the week, two of my coworkers constructed a delightful snowman on our fifth-floor balcony. Snowy had coffee pod eyes, a mouth fashioned with red hots, and a little Rango-esque cowboy hat for his head. As the week progressed, Snowy began to lean to the side a bit and his red-hot mouth started to melt, making him look rather as if he’d just lost a boxing match. It’ll be interesting to see if there’s anything left of poor Snowy come Monday.

I learned that Elantras get great gas mileage and have awesome luxury features. Elantras do not like snow. My little car got stuck in the driveway on Wednesday morning, and it took both Paul and I to extricate it. Once in the road, I took it slow, inching my way along the ice-covered roads on my way to work. By this morning I was a little tired of my extended commute and was looking forward to the impending thaw. I got up extra early so I could hit a Starbucks on my way to the office, but when I drove into the parking lot, the lights were dim and there were no other cars. Starbucks’ hours had been reduced due to the weather.


Paul filled the cats’ water dish with snow, which seemed to concern Angel greatly. She’d run to me, meowing loudly, and then dash back to the water bowl, as if trying to alert me that there was something unusual going on.

I let Oliver outside so he could check out the snow. He refused to stick his paws in the snow at first, but then eventually grew comfortable enough to plant his front legs in it. Next I let Saturday out. I had to grab him quickly though because the snow didn’t faze him one bit and he wanted to prance right out into the snowdrifts. Friday wasn’t quite that bold, but she was unafraid and curious.

I didn’t give Angel or Darwin a trip outside. Darwin’s skittish and Angel is super curious, so I didn’t trust either one outside.

By Thursday night I was feeling a little stir-crazy. I was going straight from home to work and then back home again at night, with no stops in between. I was a little concerned that I’d get my car stuck in a parking lot if I tried to go anywhere so I just avoided it altogether. But Thursday, Paul took me out to dinner at Red Robin. It felt great to get out of the house and have a date night.

To make my mornings easier, Paul bought a snow shovel and shoveled the driveway so my car wouldn’t get stuck. I’m sure it was a lot of work and I really appreciate him doing that for me. He’s the best.

I finally got my much-coveted latte from Starbucks this afternoon when I braved Fred Meyer to get lunches for next week. The parking lot was a mix of snow, ice, and slush, but it wasn’t so terribly bad and I was able to get in and out without getting too wet. I also got a cute pair of gray fuzzy boots for fifty percent off, which made the whole trip incredibly worth it.

So we survived Snowmageddon 2012, and by tomorrow Meltdown 2012 should be in full swing. It’ll be nice to be able to get to work in less than an hour, to go where I like without having to worry about whether the parking lot will be plowed, to have businesses back to normal hours.

I will miss our Snowy, though.