Ancient History

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$1.78 Value Card Special

Grocery Store Clerk: Small-Suburb-of-Denver* King Soopers, how can I help you?

Me: Hi. I was there this morning and I believe I did not make it home with all my groceries.

Clerk: What was the name of your checker?

Me, not expecting this question and wishing I had glanced at her nametag: Uh, I don’t know.

Clerk: Well, what did the checker look like?

I gave a physical description of the checker good enough to make a composite sketch for the evening news.

Clerk: Hmmmmmmmmmm. What did you leave?

Me: A box of Spongebob Squarepants macaroni and cheese and a box of Scooby Doo macaroni and cheese.

Dead silence. Obviously the clerk was wondering what kind of a person calls about two lost boxes of macaroni and cheese. She didn’t promise four small boys they could have Scooby Doo macaroni and cheese for lunch, however.

Clerk: Um. Okay, I will go check into that. Please hold.

By now the boys had figured out that the macaroni and cheese was missing. Why I hadn’t noticed it three hours before, when we got home from the store, is a mystery to me. So I began to hold. And hold. And hold some more.

The hold music could have been from some 1963 movie starring Doris Day. It was early 60’s party music, or as Aidan calls it, “Las Vegas” music. I thought about the discrepancy between my life at that moment—being on hold because I lost macaroni and cheese—and Doris Day’s life as a single gal in the city, romancing Cary Grant and Rock Hudson in white evening gowns while maintaining her innocent charm. As I was cha-cha-ing around the kitchen, I took a peek at the call timer on our phone. It had been 5 minutes and 14 seconds.

Boys: Who are you talkin’ to? Where’s lunch? Sammy! What did you do with the macaroni and cheese? Why are you dancin?

Me: I am trying to find out if our lunch got left behind at King Soopers this morning.

My dancing had to stop because the music changed to a more somber-style. The kind of music old 1960’s beach movies play when summer is over and the boy and the girl have broken up and each strolls on the beach, alone, remembering the good times, the weenie roasts, and the big Kahuna.

At 12 minutes, 9 seconds, I was snapped back into my kitchen by a no-nonsense male managerial-type of voice.

Manager: Who are you holding for?

Me: I was waiting to hear if someone found my macaroni and cheese.

Manager: I will look into it.

Back on hold, just in time to hear that Country Time Lemonade has 40% less sugar than carbonated soft drinks. Try some today!

The 60’s music fest had come to an end while I was speaking to the manager. Now I was stuck with generic hold-music jazz, commonly known as elevator or dentist office music. The music, however, was especially bad and made me think of getting a root canal while in a Sear’s Tower elevator that just snapped a cable on the top floor. Plummeting into hopelessness. I began to think of a Plan B for lunch.

13 minutes, 15 seconds, the original clerk came back. What was the cashier’s ID number? Now I was feeling bad, as if the cashier was going to get written up for failing to make sure I had our two boxes of macaroni and cheese safely in the cart. I looked at the receipt and tried to find the cashier’s number, but I couldn’t.

Exhasperated, the clerk said to just come back, get my macaroni from the shelves, bring them to the customer service desk with the receipt, and they would take care of it.

I hung up, gathered the boys, and drove back to the grocery store. We got two new boxes and I explained to the kid behind the counter all that had transpired. He didn’t care. He just took a black marker and slashed the boxes so that I couldn’t try to return them for a smart profit of $1.78.

He didn’t know that I just spent 14 minutes and 56 seconds on the phone with his store waiting to hear about the fate of shaped dry pasta and powdered cheese. He didn’t know that I re-lived past viewings of “That Touch of Mink”, “Pillow Talk”, and “Gidget”. He didn’t understand that four small hungry boys throw a lot of blame around when Scooby goes missing.

It’s all in a mother’s day.

*****location masked to protect the innocent

1 comment to $1.78 Value Card Special

  • Momofmopsy

    Speaking of “Mother’s Day”, you deserve a bouquet of roses for your persistance, and patience in getting the boys their “mac and cheese”.

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