Yesterday on my way home from the gym I popped into the grocery store to grab lettuce and baby carrots to make myself a salad for lunch.
This may or may not be a humble brag.
The woman in front of me in line was finishing up her transaction when she began to dispute the price of the avocados she had purchased with the cashier.
She was insistent that they were 2 for 2 dollars meanwhile the cashier was adamant that they were 2 for 4.
“I’m going to go check” said the woman
She left her cart at the end of the checkout lane but the cashier, who was a rather sassy older woman gave me a look that said “I’m not waiting for her” and began to ring up my couple items.
As I was swiping my card etc the woman came back announcing,
“I read the sign wrong, I don’t want them anymore.”
You know, how sometimes people do or say something and you know immediately that you wouldn’t get along with them? Or that you wouldn’t cry if they tripped on a crack in the sidewalk or something?
Yeah, I got that feeling about avocado woman. I always wonder when people go through the trouble of voiding a transaction when the difference in amount is negligible, in this case two bucks. If I thought they were 1 dollar avocados and they were actually 6 dollar avocados then I could see the merit in voiding the transaction. Did she have an extremely strict grocery budget? (judging by her clothing and attitude I’d guess no.) I can understand when its the principle of the thing and you feel like you’re being cheated, but in this case it was her fault for misreading the sign. As I describe this person I realize Grandmama is like this but gets away with it because its somehow endearing when we’re talking about an old Jewish lady. If Grandmama had been in front of me she probably would have not only tried to returned the avocados, she’d likely take it a step further and find some way to get them for free.
The cashier told her she was more than welcome to return the avocados but she’d have to go to the service desk. Avocado woman did so in a huff and as I accepted my receipt I turned to collect my groceries only they were nowhere to be found.
“what did you buy?” asked the bagger, confused.
I stammered for a second, very confused myself.
The cashier rolled her eyes and said “Oh my god that woman must have taken them. Go and ask her!”
Immediately I felt dread.
I will be honest, my gut reaction was to just be like “Oh well, its okay I’ll just go get another package of lettuce.” Because I hate confrontation, and I hate it all the more when it involves strangers I’ve made snap judgements about disliking because of their inability to pay 2 dollars for an avocado.
“Go with her!” the cashier said to the bagger, “That woman was…” then she made the universal hand gesture for annoying.
I approached the woman with her cart at the service desk, waving my receipt as if to say “I come in peace.”
“Um! Hi excuse me I think you may have taken some of my groceries by mistake.”
I really expected her to be apologetic, maybe embarrassed even. Instead she gave her cart a cursory glance and told me “Um nope these are mine.” The expression on her face looked just like she was smelling a juicy fart.
I felt conflicted. I knew that avocado woman had likely taken my groceries. But I didn’t want to go pawing through her cart.
I summoned courage I didn’t know I had from my reserve bin of stranger interaction tools in my brain and confidently reached into her cart, pulled out the bag containing my spring mix lettuce and said “Yeah see? This is mine” I also showed her the other bag containing my baby carrots and can of beans.
And instead of apologizing. Instead of saying “oops!”
“Oh I was gonna buy that.”
I don’t have any explanation for why she would say that, or why her intentions to buy those items would have magically then made them hers.
But then as I walked to my car I thought to myself how nice it would be if the world worked that way.