I Was Run Down at the Belmont Avenue Kroger
Whatever I would have expected her to look like, the woman who would ultimately run me down over two pounds of chicken tenderloins at the Belmont Avenue Kroger, this was not it.
She looked slow. Not intellectually disabled slow. More of an I’m on vacation-style of slow. It was the cautious steps she took with her high heeled boots. The leisurely way she pushed her cart up to the chicken section of the meat department. The slow-motion manner in which she, with perfectly lacquered nails, flipped through her four-inch coupon binder.
This pokey, boot-wearing lady. Honestly. Not a care in the world.
And then there was me. With a care in the world. Me, with goose bumps on my goose bumps from standing in the frigid meat department. Me, in flats which, like my nails, are never polished. I’m in a hurry, and my need for chicken is so dire that it makes me hasty. Maybe a little inconsiderate.
“Excuse me,” I say. Boot lady is mooning over her coupons, so I step between her cart and the chicken. I scan the poultry selection from top to bottom. What I seek are the tenderloins. Not breasts. Not bone-in or whole bird. I spy them, but the inventory is low. The packages are deep-set on a high shelf. I raise up on the ball of my foot, reach in, and take two packs (i.e. all the remaining packs) of chicken tenderloins. I throw them in my basket, flash a smile at boot lady, and walk off.
It doesn’t hit me until I leave the meat department that boot lady may have wanted those tenderloins. That she had been there first. That I sort of cut in front of her while she was busy with her binder. And then my thoughts are interrupted by a voice from behind.
“Ma’am? Excuse me! Ma’am? Ma’am!”
I know it is her. I hear that rhythmic sound that can only be produced by pretty heeled boots running across industrial tile. I am ashamed, but also quite desperate for the chicken chili that I am intent on cooking for supper.
I want to say “finders keepers.” Instead, I feign obliviousness.
And she is right behind me. I contemplate shoving the coupon binder out of her hands and making a break for the door while she leans down to retrieve it. I don’t, though. I apologize.
“Sorry,” I say, turning to face her. “I was rushing. Did you want these?”
I reach into my basket to get the chicken, and when I turn to face her, I see that she is smiling.
“No, it is just that I have a coupon for those,” she says.
“The chicken you got,” she says. “I have a coupon for it that you can use. I never buy the tenderloins, and I’d hate for it to go to waste.”
“Wow,” I say. “Thank you.”
So she didn’t run me down to give me my comeuppance. She did it to save me three dollars. It just goes to show that sometimes we don’t get what we deserve. Thankfully.
Writer’s note: “Kroger” is now a category on my blog. That is how much I shop at/write about Kroger.They should send me a gift card. Or a restraining order.