Twas the Day Before Thanksgiving and All through the Whole Foods

…the villagers were stirring, kids, significant others, and in-laws in tow. There was a feast to prepare and a table to set, flights to be made and cars for roadtrips to be packed.

I’d never seen it before — a supermarket suffering from a hand basket and shopping cart shortage. People stood dumbfounded. Where did they all go?! Where am I supposed to put by butternut squash? Some wives were stalking departing shoppers, helping them unload their groceries in hopes of scoring a vessel for their groceries. Others were in foot races, running to grab the first cart returned to the corral.

Meanwhile, husbands sat in the driver seats of minivans praying a parking spot would come vacant, pretending they didn’t know “that woman” who was about to bat another over the head with her Michael Kors handbag.

A timeless Thanksgiving tradition -- over crowded grocery stores and shopping cart ralleys

Inside, the aisles were packed, but the shoppers unphased. Everyone was on a mission. The line for the organic turkeys swirled around the store. Family teams were passing bags of cranberries like they were footballs and tossing turnips like fastpitch softballs.  It was a controlled chaos, except for the occasional fight over an un-cracked frozen pie crust.

The shopping cart shortage was easily explained. There seemed to be a two per family distribution — one for the children, one for the turkey and trimmings. The children looked terrified. Their eyes bugged, their little hands gripped tightly around the cart’s mesh. They looked at their parents as if they were total strangers. Are these  people diving for the last bag of stuffing mix the same people that read me Winnie the Pooh stories with the funny voices?

The problem with pre-Thanksgiving shopping is that entire families head out to the grocery store. Grandparents are told to stay with the cart — usually deposited in the middle of the aisle — and watch the children, while parents try to double team on the whipped cream and produce.

Having been involved with team sports my whole life, I know that you’re only as strong as  your weakest player.  Bringing along idle shoppers who are told to sit and stay won’t help you get those frozen peas to the dinner table… not to mention the fouls they cause to members of other teams. I was nearly launched headlong into the stack of oranges when an unmonitored toddler cut me off at a corner. Where was that kid’s leash?!

At the end of the day, I give my fellow shoppers credit. No one really lost their cool, and I appreciated the woman who helped me load the Land Rover and chirped a “Happy Thanksgiving!” as she toted away my shopping cart.

“Good luck in there!” I hollared back.

She was going to need it.

It's a race to the checkout line. Watch out ladies, those handbags double as weapons!

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