A Modern Horror Story

Once upon a time, there was a curmudgeonly recluse named Wendy (Keep in mind, this is a made-up name for someone I don’t know… a fictitious person in fact. Yes, a fictitious person. This is in no way about me. I was not involved in this story. Nope. Wasn’t me.) who needed to go grocery shopping. As a raging people-hater introvert, she dreaded any form of interaction with strangers, but she couldn’t avoid this essential task any longer.

Upon arriving at the local big-box store, she was greeted by an annoyingly friendly worker who offered her some samples of a new type of granola. Wendy politely declined, but the worker drew closer and insisted, not unlike the witch in Snow White pawning off her poisoned apple, saying that it was delicious and that she just had to try it. It was only $7.99 for a 4 ounce bag, don’t you know? Wendy relented – albeit through gritted teeth and took a sample, only to discover that it tasted like cardboard mixed with sawdust. Blech. She quickly walked away, cursing herself for that slight hesitation in her step as she passed the sample stand and fervently hoping to avoid any further encounters with overly enthusiastic workers.

As she made her way down the first aisle, Wendy noticed a small, cute dog of the normal non-therapy variety riding in someone else’s cart. Wondering why on earth someone would bring a non-therapy dog into a place with food but happy she would get to meet a dog (maybe the day wouldn’t be so bad after all), she slowed down. Uh-oh. The dog was barking and growling at everyone who walked by, and even not so sneakily trying to get in a quick bite if people got too close. Disappointed at the fact that there was a dog she couldn’t pet, Wendy tried to avoid the cart, but unfortunately, it was parked right in front of the cereal she needed. Cap’n Crunch Peanut Butter, if you’re wondering. So, she decided to take a deep breath and move quickly, grabbing the box of cereal and running away before the dog could get to her.

Being a little too graceless to really move quickly, when she turned to stay out of reach of the pup’s biters, Wendy slammed right into what had to be Bigfoot’s cousin or else a Hell’s Angel member – to say this guy was big and burly and hairy is an understatement. The impact caused his basket to crash to the floor and oranges (Really, oranges? I mean I guess no one wants scurvy, even Bigfoot’s cousin) went flying everywhere.  Desperate to escape the awkward situation, but raised to be polite, Wendy started picking up oranges while trying to duck and dodge the tiny terror’s snappy teeth. However, her new t-shirt was no match for the dog’s vicious chompers, and it got caught in his mouth. The owner got angry because “Why are you messing with my dog!? How did your t-shirt end up in my precious little boo-boo’s teefies? You’re going to pull out his teeth!” Rather than point out the obvious, that their precious little boo-boo badly needed anger management classes – and maybe the owner did too – Wendy just stuttered something to the effect of “Cute dog you have there. Nice teeth… and quick too.”

And if that wasn’t bad enough, when she bent down to grab the last of Bigfoot’s wayward oranges, her pants split right down the middle, exposing her neon-colored undies for everyone to see. The man just shrugged it off, saying “Looks like a typical Tuesday to me.” What does that even mean!? It was a Saturday for Pete’s Sake.  With a face as red as her striped underpants, Wendy fled the scene, trying to keep her pants from falling down and praying that nobody recognized her as the pant-splitting, dog-attacked fruit-picker-upper.

Taking a deep breath and steeling herself for what may come, Wendy made her way to the frozen section, where she encountered a group of snotty-nosed children sitting in the ice cream freezer. Now there’s something you don’t see every day. And we’re not using “snotty-nosed children” as a derogatory term… they really were snotty-nosed. Presumably because of the arctic climate in which they now found themselves. They were giggling and making such a mess that despite a craving that only rocky road could satisfy, Wendy opted to bypass the frozen confection and hit the yogurt case instead. Eat healthy indeed. Pfft. I mean it’s okay if you want to do it, but not so much if it’s because of goblins are camped out in the damn freezer case right next to the rocky road. Parents these days.

Muttering not so under her breath, she called it a day and made her way to the checkout lanes, only to discover that there were no cashiers available. She groaned inwardly, knowing that this meant she would have to use the self-checkout machines. As she scanned her items and bagged them, she couldn’t help but feel frustrated at how long it was taking. Which makes sense, since she missed the new-employee training session for cashiering. Every other item heard the dreaded “place the last item in the bagging area” even though the freakin’ thing was already in the bagging area. Did you know that yelling “it’s IN the bagging area!” louder and louder at the self-check-out does nothing to hasten your escape… instead it just causes people to stare. Yeah, well. Now you know.  And when she finally tallied up the cost of her meager haul, she was shocked to discover that she had spent almost $250 for only five meals’ worth of groceries. And yogurt. Not even rocky road. Ugh.

As I left the store… wait… I mean, as WENDY left the store, she couldn’t help but wonder why she bothered leaving her house in the first place. Amazon Fresh may be capitalism at its finest, but at least the groceries are delivered with no interaction whatsoever.

In her diary later that evening, she would recount in colorful terms how she survived the dreaded grocery shopping trip. It may have felt like a comedy of errors – or more like a modern-age horror tale – but she had managed to do it all while losing only a pair of pants and not her mind. And she would feel proud for having ventured into the wild world of grocery shopping. Even if she wouldn’t be doing it again. Ever.



4 thoughts on “A Modern Horror Story

  1. you really do need to get your food delivered, or get another dog…a really BIG dog…one you could make a shirt that says introvert Service Dog…and look tough when you both walk in…or…you could shop at a regular store instead a a big box store

  2. Long ago and far away, on the official “vacation from HELL!” our first day’s stop was Disneyland. Three kids were all very pre-teen, we were staying at one of the big hotel about three blocks away and just walked over. August. VERY hot and muggy in SoCal. Older daughter, maybe 8 at the time, on a suspension bridge out on Tom Sawyer’s Island, teenagers at both ends seeing how much they could make the bridge bounce and terrify my daughter. I came running, chased the boys off, went out to the middle of the bridge, bent over to pick her up, jeans stuck to my sweaty legs, and RRRIIIIIIIIIPPPPP! Split from belt to zipper. At which point I got to walk through the park and the three blocks back to the hotel a bit “exposed,” to say the least. How do I know that it was obvious? I think it was the honking and catcalls along Harbor Boulevard. Especially the folks who started circling the block to come back for a second round of harrassment.

    And that was one of the HIGHLIGHTS of that trip!

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