Nope, I didn’t misplace the car again in the shopping center parking lot. This is much more serious, I’ve somehow managed to outdo my previously most incoherent moment.

Over the years I’ve become, in my view, a moderately competent grocery shopper, and I was confident that I could handle any inconvenience the professional provision providers contrived. What caught me completely off guard was my sudden loss of cognizance during the middle of my latest grocery shopping adventure. Of course I had “the list” created by my wife to help direct me through the selection process in case I had a male moment and found myself reaching for something that we didn’t really need and she didn’t want.

After thoroughly checking my wife’s detailed shopping list against the exact labels prior to placing them into the cart, I was nearing the close of another uneventful acquisition outing. The only remaining challenge was locating one more item and I’d be heading to the check-yourself-out lane, which, by the way, I finally mastered. Hmm, maybe it’s on the next aisle, I’ll leave this weeks’ load of provisions safely parked here while I complete the final quest. 

All right, I’ve got it, the last item on her list. I’ll place it in my cart and head for the check-out line. Not funny, where’s my cart? I parked it here two minutes ago. Surely the parking lot trolls haven’t opted to hide grocery carts in the same way they hide our vehicles in the parking lot. 

OK, what jokester took my grocery luggage? I’m not really worried, they couldn’t have gotten far, the front wheel of that metal monster has probably been out of balance for years. I should have opted for one of those cutesy, spoiled rotten kiddie carts. At least mine wouldn’t have a screamer in it. I’ve reached an age that it’s OK to pull a stunt like that without shocking anyone, not even my wife. Whenever I pull a similar stunt people just shake their heads and look at me with one of those, “I hope my husband doesn’t do something like that when I’m not with him” stares. 

Back to the cart hunt. It must be here and I’m assuming that some little old lady is straining in wonderment as she agonizes her way around the store pushing my 50 pounds of stuff. There it is, just as I assumed, only one aisle away. “Pardon me, I believe that’s my, oh, sorry about that, I didn’t see the diapers.” OK, now I’m miffed, where’s my cart and why doesn’t the goof who’s pushing it realize that it’s not their stuff, it’s mine? Maybe I should talk with the manager and file a missing cart report. Can you do that? Theoretically, everything still belongs to the store, but I believe I established intent to acquire by virtue of the fact that I spent the best part of the morning rounding up the goods. Oh, they’ll never go for it, it hasn’t been missing more than 24 hours, and besides, I don’t have the patience to fill out the missing cart report. I’ll just keep searching. 

Finally, there it is. I recognize all of those generic, store-brand labels staring back at me. Amazing, this really is my cart, but why isn’t everything still in it? I’ll wait right here for the perp to reappear and answer some very specific questions. 

At last, the final bag is in the trunk of the car and I’m heading outta’ here. I still can’t believe that store clerk thought he’d located the restocking cart the manager sent him to unload onto the store shelves. The goof moved it to another aisle and began putting my prudently selected items back in stock on the shelves. 

Not a problem, they heard from me via the customer suggestion form. I’m sure my idea about cart-mounted, flip up signs clearly stating “This Is Not Your Cart” will be prominently displayed on every one of them by the end of the week. Once in a while the best solutions emerge as a result of the greatest frustrations. I feel a lot better now, for a change of pace it wasn’t my usual “operator error” that caused the predicament.   

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