I must have “approachable” tattooed on my forehead. I must have talked to at least six people at Walmart tonight. And I was shopping alone.
I was looking at the bare-root roses they had by the door. I didn’t see a sign nearby telling what the prices were on them, so I stepped inside the store and asked a clerk. As we walked back outside, I realized all of the roses were pre-priced. Duh. I thanked the clerk and we both laughed.
Inside the store, I headed for the dairy department. I picked up eggs, and as I passed another customer, she asked where the butter was. I pointed straight down the aisle, where I was going and replied, “Right down there.”
As I went around the corner of an aisle to pick up cereal, a woman turned to me and asked about a product. She laughed as she realized I was not her husband, who had come around behind her and was waiting on her other side. “You’ll try this for me, right?” she asked. I laughed back and kept moving.
A little girl in the pet department greeted me as I walked past her to find dog bones. Another shopper apologized for cutting me off at the end of an aisle. As my energy for shopping was flagging, I found drain cleaner in the wrong section of the store, but picked it up because it was on my list. I thought about trying to find the right chemical section, but decided it was serendipitous that I found anything without a lot of effort.
The mom in front of me in the check-out line was a little frazzled; her two boys insisted they wanted to buy seeds so they could grow watermelons. The mom explained that they didn’t have anywhere to grow them because they lived in an apartment. She added that the boys’ dad might let them plant something at his house, but she had to find out from him first.
I silently sympathized with the mom — I’ve had similar discussions. I thought about telling the boys that they wouldn’t get watermelons overnight, but the mom was patient and explained it again. No seeds until we know if we can plant them.
It was my turn in the check-out line, and the checker was characteristically chatty. I double-checked my list, and tucked it away. I put my bags in the cart and headed out to my car. In the next spot was a family from … let’s just say Somewhere Else. They were chatting in another language, but I could still tell that the mom was nagging.
My groceries were loaded up in the back end, and as I went to crawl in behind the wheel, the young man of the family complimented me on my Kia. I thanked him and explained that I liked it, too, because I got to sit up a little higher, improving my visibility. He told me that he’d just bought an Impala. “Good for you!” I responded, and got in my car.
I have shopped at that store countless times and never spoke to another person. Tonight was unique.