A tale of ac­ci­den­tal re­tail

Scis­sors get sparkly on Taco Tues­day

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - OUR TOWN - GWEN ROCKWOOD Gwen Rockwood is a syn­di­cated free­lance colum­nist.Archives of The Rockwood Files can be found on­line at nwaMother­lode.com. Email Rockwood at rock­wood­files@cox.net.

Dear Lady at Tar­get, Here’s how it hap­pened. As with most mis­takes, it be­gan be­cause I was in a rush. It was Taco Tues­day, and my par­ents were com­ing over for din­ner. But first, I needed to run to Tar­get. I took our 10-year-old daugh­ter with me be­cause she wanted to get the cute back-to-school note­books be­fore they were gone.

So we dashed in, grabbed a cart and then zipped around toss­ing in what we needed — soap, dog treats, gra­nola bars, etc. When we made it to the back of the store where the school sup­plies were, we split up to make the hunt­ing and gath­er­ing go quicker.

“You get the col­ored pen­cils. I’ll grab the glue sticks,” I said.

With taco time clos­ing in on us, we were like school shop­ping nin­jas — whizzing around with a blur of binders and a flash of fold­ers. We tossed them into the cart willy-nilly and took off for the front of the store.

As luck would have it, we found a check-out lane that was empty, so we pulled in and started loading the con­veyor belt with our items. As we neared the bot­tom of the cart, I picked up a pair of glit­tery pink scis­sors. It caught my at­ten­tion be­cause Kate, who is now 10, has re­cently en­tered an “anti-pink” stage. Lit­tle-girl pink is out, and a more ma­ture turquoise, navy and laven­der have taken its place.

I held up the scis­sors and said, “Are these the scis­sors you picked? I thought you didn’t want pink stuff any­more.”

Kate eyed them sus­pi­ciously. “Those aren’t the scis­sors I picked. I must have put the wrong ones in the cart,” she said.

“No prob­lem. We’ll ask the checker to put these back,” I said. “Did you put these Post-it notes in the cart? Those aren’t on the school sup­ply list.”

“I didn’t put Post-it notes in the cart,” she said. “I thought you did.” “Nope, not me,” I said.

That’s when it hit me. I glanced around the cart and re­al­ized there was no pack­age of soap, no gra­nola bars, no dog treats. More im­por­tantly, there was no purse either. My purse, which had been rid­ing up front where tod­dlers usu­ally ride, was not there. THIS WAS NOT MY CART!

With a con­veyor belt full of school sup­plies — some of it mine and some of it some­one else’s — I ex­plained it to the clerk. “Oh my gosh, I think I ac­ci­den­tally took some­one else’s cart back in the school sup­ply area! My purse is in the other cart. I’ve got to go find it!”

With that flus­tered an­nounce­ment, I grabbed my kid and we sprinted back to­ward the note­books. I was pray­ing the whole time: “Please let it be there. Please let it be there.” With­out my purse, I had no way of pay­ing for the stuff, no car keys to get home and no phone to call any­one to help me out of this jam.

“Oh, thank God! There it is!” Wait­ing pa­tiently by the back­packs was my orig­i­nal shop­ping cart with purse, soap, dog treats and a smat­ter­ing of school sup­plies. I drove it as fast as I could back to the check-out lane where the checker had al­ready rung up my sec­ond cart of sup­plies. There were two peo­ple wait­ing in line be­hind me, and they were do­ing an ex­cel­lent job of mask­ing what must have been pro­found ir­ri­ta­tion that the crazy lady in line ahead of them was so scat­ter­brained that she lost her cart and her purse some­where in the store and ac­ci­den­tally hi­jacked some­one else’s stuff.

I apol­o­gized, of course, but I’m pretty sure they still thought I was nuts. I was half-tempted to look down at my daugh­ter and say, “Wait a sec­ond! You’re not my kid! Oh, no! I’ve ac­ci­den­tally taken the wrong kid to the check­out lane!” (I held back on that, de­cid­ing we’d had enough crazy for one day.)

To you — my fel­low par­ent at Tar­get, just try­ing to get school sup­plies and get out of there — I apol­o­gize for ac­ci­den­tally tak­ing your cart. I hope you didn’t search the aisles too long look­ing for it. My only de­fense is that it looked a lot like my cart, and my brain was dis­tracted by an im­pend­ing taco time. Those sparkly pink scis­sors you put in your cart are with the checker on Lane 4, if you’d like to go back for them. And I re­ally hope we didn’t make you late for your own Taco Tues­day. Sin­cerely,

The Crazy Cart Hi­jacker at your lo­cal Tar­get

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