Saturday, January 11, 2014

Meijer and the polar vortex panic

when you've shopped Meijer for as many years as I have, you get attuned to its vibe, its aura, its ambiance and several other synonyms on thesaurus.com. as I drove my Odyssey into Meijer's packed western parking lot, the crushing vibe on January 4th was panic.

snowmageddon was approaching. the promise of vortexes (vortexi, vortices?), negative double-digit temps and gobs of snow threw everyone in southeast Michigan suburbia into… well, Meijer.

the superstore.

not an open parking space for as far as the eye could see--except for the smug SmartCar and/or Fiat 500 owners. such a cozy fit in front of the shorter-than-the-parking-space grocery cart corrals. lucky s.o.b's. I barely snuck in between a seen-better-days Camry and the snow plower's ode to Mount Fuji.

one panic-induced obstacle down, a zillion more to go. the zillion being the number of Meijer crazies I was sure to encounter on my quest for kale (holiday binging regrets), beets, apples and hard salami (to wash down the kale).

the automatic doors whoosh open to a cacophony of residual holiday muzak and panicked Meijer associates fighting for time on the PA system. the rapid-fire beeps of checkout scanners demanded to be heard above the line of disgruntled Meijer guests waiting to take a cart from a departing customer.

as you know, I sneer at such sheep-like behavior and boldly venture into the throng of collapsing humanity without using the cart crutch. I'm strong, vivacious and assertive (!)… well, strong enough for a few veggies and salami.

feeble blogging words can't describe the mayhem I encountered, but I shall not dodge my duty since, "Uneasy lies the head that wears a blogger's crown." --Shakespeare  (don't grouse, I've seen Shakespeare post a TON of stuff on tumblr)

my first realization was that the weather.com app I was using was grossly different from the one Panicky Pete and It's-the-End Edna were using as they waited in check-out lines that snaked all the way back to the store's midpoint (tube socks and underwear department), aka Meijer's lint-filled belly button.

according to the hoarder's (I mean, crazy's) carts, the forecasted three days of polar vortex was instead a deadly scenario straight from The Day After Tomorrow; minus Jake Gyllenhaal :(

most of the above capacity carts exemplified the tried and true method of extending arm and bulldozing shelf items into cart. others were amazing organizational wonders--obviously Candy Crush masters.

popular cart items were: coke products (one woman had 2 carts FILLED with Coke and Mountain Dew!), multiple packages of TP (how much toilet time can you do in 3 days?! wait, maybe he was husband to Mountain Dew lady), frozen pizza, beer, batteries, you know all the necessities to survive--and maintain a black market for several months.

after finding my own "needs," I "excuse me'd" through the lines to get to the superstore's far end 12 Items or Less U-Scan section. I waited at pole position with my overpriced organic kale (regular stuff had been cleared out), beets, apples and salami when I noticed a different kind of Panicky Pete. this PP was striking, as in GQ-cover-model-shouldn't-he-be-at-Whole Foods(?) striking.

like me, he eschewed the need for a cart. his Michael Kors sweater-ed arms (peeking through Calvin Klein's down vest) were loaded with… something. I couldn't quite make out the items. what was so important that GQ PP had to brave the roads, the parking lot, the crushing Meijer crazies? what were the items that the beautiful ones hoarded during polar vortexes, or the correct plural word?

I leaned over, to sneak a peek at what GQ PP scanned, then slid into his leather "murse".

6 bottles of TRESemmé hair products.

well played, sexy-haired Meijer Crazy. 

well played.