Finding out that my favorite place to shop for groceries wasn't infallible came as quite a shock to me. But maybe it shouldn't have, for a number of very valid reasons. A) None of us are perfect, B) We are all easily distracted, and C) There are some bad people in the world.
I want you to imagine you're watching a criminal case being introduced on the old TV series Dragnet, as you read the next few sentences. (If you don't know what that sounds like, A) it won't change the story much, or B) Google it).
Friday, January 17, I finished work for the week late, (3:15 PM, so, a long time from when I awoke at 4 AM). Remembering that I needed some essential grocery items I headed for my store. The drive was hampered by 50 mph winds and sizable snowdrifts across I-229, but I made it, parked, walked through rutted drifts with great difficulty, and began seeking out the necessities.
Okay, you can stop the Dragnet thing now.
I love grocery stores, shopping for groceries makes my eyes light up, as so few other things can. It is one of a limited number of warm memories of daily life activities that I shared with my late father and it has stuck with me.
To further complicate the emotional nature of that day's misadventures, the bakery had a fresh supply of cannolis (a delightful Italian pastry which my Italian father adored), so I chose two and gently placed them in the cart. Essential? No. But they were to me, that blustery, snowy, day.
I finished filling the cart with bread, milk, single-serve flavored tuna packages (good for high-protein, smelly lunches), oatmeal, toilet paper, three kinds of beans, canned diced tomatoes, and a few other things to make chili with. Chore finished, I headed for the checkout, paid for my purchases and decided to go the "drive-up" route, to avoid trying to maneuver a cart through the deepening snow.
I got a number for the cart, the clerk wrote the number again on another sheet of paper and taped it to the cart. I watched her do it and then went on my way out the door. I pulled into the drive-through lane, hopped out of my vehicle, opened the tailgate and waited. Someone came out to get my number and went back in.
Nearly 10 minutes went by before she returned and informed me that they couldn't find my groceries. My response was enthusiastically displeased. She asked for my number again and went back inside. Another 10 minutes and she returned again, with the same disconcerting information.
I indicated that someone needed to figure out what the "heck" (full disclosure, I didn't say heck) was going on and asked her to close the tailgate, as the rear of my vehicle was getting a nice layer of snow in it due to the blazing wind.
Another 10 minutes and someone else comes out to talk to me, apologizes profusely, but doesn't know what to do. She asks to see my receipt (which I was glad I asked for) and offers to "re-shop" for me. At this point, due to anger and fatigue, tears started rolling down my cheeks. "This is absolutely ridiculous!", I wailed.
She snarkily replied, "Well I wasn't at the front of the store when this happened! What do you want me to do?" I said, I wanted my groceries and to be able to go home! I also said that after making me sit there for 35 minutes, they should pay for the groceries as well as replace them! She didn't respond but turned to go, and I yelled after her, "Forget the cannolis! I like to pick my own!" She nodded.
Another 20 minutes and the groceries appeared, along with a gift card for the amount I had spent.
I pulled out of the store parking lot, pondering what had happened. Had they simply loaded them into another vehicle? Had someone watched me walk away from the cart at checkout and just take them out to their own vehicle? Had a nefarious cannoli thief seen the precious pastry in my possession, stalk me to the checkout, wait for the opportunity, and then abscond with them?
Whatever the case, it will remain as one of the weirdest, most aggravating things that has ever happened to me whilst grocery shopping in Sioux Falls! But who knows, maybe I introduced someone else to the love of cannolis!