I almost went to Walmart for groceries last week. I had a ton of things to do that day and the last thing I wanted was to face the crowds at a huge, overcrowded store. Therefore, I opted for a smaller “just a grocery store” type place. At Walmart, I tend to wander up and down the cooking utensil aisles, the “put it together yourself” furniture aisle, the socks aisle because I like crazy socks and…well…you name it, I am on that aisle.
It is typical for me to spend thirty minutes at Walmart before I have even spotted one banana or loaf of bread. I am pitiful. I just like to look at junk and non-junk that I absolutely do not need. I am also instinctively drawn to any aisle that has office supplies. I have enough paper clips. Wait…let me check…I have enough plain paper clips. I do not have any of the brightly colored ones. I will write that down as a need.
However, last week I fought the tug of Walmart and went to the smaller grocery…that I refer to as the “incredibly civilized store”. It is fancy. There is quiet music and there are quiet people. Not one person has ever rushed passed me with their grocery cart as if they are late to their own wedding. And…best of all…they have a deli filled with delectable cheeses and delicacies from anywhere in the world. And…beautiful flower in beautiful vases. You see…this store appears to be the Neiman-Marcus of grocery stores. Like I said… incredibly civilized. And far more expensive than my dear Walmart Supercenter.
I always felt much safer at the civilized store. Simply less people. I felt safer until last week.
While shopping at the “civilized store”, I was looking through the large selection of jams and jellies from other countries. One jar that I wanted was on a lower shelf, so I bent down to get it. I suppose it was instinct that made me stand back up and look at my cart. Actually, my cart was right beside me. Before I bent down to retrieve the jar, there was not one person on the aisle with me. Nada! I remember thinking that I would never be on an aisle with no other people at Walmart.
When I stood back up, there was a man with his hand on a bag of potatoes that was in my cart. The bag was right behind my purse. He jumped back when I stood up and said…
“Did they say they wanted potatoes?” and then he said…”Oh, you’re not my wife!”.
He then walked away as quickly as possible. It was such an odd encounter that I followed him and he had totally disappeared. The aisle was very close to the check-outs and the front doors. I looked everywhere for that man…not to be found.
I knew immediately that he was most likely up to “no good”. Perhaps I should have yelled right away for help. I did quickly tell the store manager what had happened and they looked on the security camera footage. Evidently, this was certainly not the first reported incidence. Very scary.
Without instinct or intuition, I would probably have stood up to find a cart without a purse and maybe a parking lot without a car. One click on my key fob and he could have found my car. It was parked on the row closest to the door. Lesson learned. Be careful. Be watchful. Even in the “civilized” store…which really turned out to be not so safe at all.
Can it be safer at a more crowded store? Sometimes! At least, I did not buy any more pens or pencils. At least, I bought some very good cheese. At least, I know that I am shopping for groceries at Walmart today!