Remember that TV show... the one where the Master of Ceremonies would give you a clue and then the contestants would have to name that tune, hence the name, after listening to the first few notes of the song. That number would be determined by a bidding system. Starting maybe with 10 and then going down to 2 or 1 or sometimes even zero -- great first clue.
Well yesterday while carpooling for errands and with the final goal of food shopping at Market Basket, we came up with a game of our own: Shop that Market Basket. I know, not very original, but it works.
The back story: Market Basket has the best prices, great selection, and awesome produce, but it is on the other side of town. It takes thought and planning to drive there, and then you have to think about the timing. Saturdays, Sundays, Friday evenings, Monday and Wednesdays after 10 AM it's a social gathering spot and thus impossible to see or select anything off a shelf that is less than waist high. On the other hand, I have found Thursdays around 8:15 AM the store is deserted; much to my happiness. And at times I have wondered if I have somehow driven to the wrong store.
And then there is yesterday, Monday of Thanksgiving week. The only spots available in the parking lot are in the back row, no worries I can use the exercise. Inside the store eight haphazardly discarded carts marked the spot where hundreds are usually nested. All the cash registers have fast fingers and scanners pushing the mile long lines of shoppers and their full baskets out the door. I looked at my shopping buddy, my dear dear friend, and we both smiled. For we know on a day like yesterday we could easily be preparing dinner in aisle 7. A "See you later," and we parted company.
The dairy aisle was a polite bumper car course. With no intentional hitting and a lot of polite smiles and apologies. I rounded the corner to the prepared meats and eggs, in record time I might add, only to be hit with the sight of a mountain range of frozen turkeys that spilt into the usual areas reserved for pork sausage and hams. I think every family in the surrounding four towns could pick up a bird or two and still there would be leftovers. And I wonder, what will happen to these unselected birds? Surely, there will be leftovers that will need to be consumed.
The baking aisle was another memorial straight away. I love shopping with the older folks. They smile. They take their time. They enjoy the moment. There is a lesson in patience and just being. And I find I am thankful for their example as I waited for my chance to pick up 5 pound of sugar, a bag of pecans and two cans of evaporated milk -- none of which I needed. But just in case...
Two nights ago I woke up in a panic wondering if I had the milk for the pumpkin pie. At 2 AM I was rummaging through the cabinets. And when I found the milk, I placed it front and center on the counter. Almost to remind myself, "YES you have the evaporated milk." Maybe I'll sleep better knowing there are two more cans somewhere stashed in with the canned hash and corn.
Usually when we carpool shop, we start out together but end up going our separate ways around the yogurt or eggs. No worries, we came into the store together and we will go out together. But yesterday for some unknown reason we kept running into each other. The first time was in the snack aisle I looked up and was surprised to see her. Surely I didn't forget we had carpooled. Though each time we met, we greeted each other as if we had arrived separately.
The last time our paths crossed was in produce -- right before the home stretch on the checkout line. We were done. We headed for the bank of check out stations and there was no one in line... I looked back down the aisles holding to capacity their sardines of shoppers. We slipped into side by side lines. I finished first. Her cashier was having a bad day, and we left.
We shopped Thanksgiving Monday at Market Basket in less than an hour. Can you?