Awkward Shopping Encounters are Terribly Awesome

I am insanely jealous of Harry Potter.  I fully admit it.  And it's not because of his ability to cast spells, his gajillion-billion dollar bank account (though I wouldn't hate sharing it with him) or because of his sure to be on and probably off screen love affair with the beautiful Emma Watson.  No, it's none of those perfectly envious things.  

I want one thing from you Mr. Potter: Your invisible cloak.

Seriously.  And I've got a few reasons why I must get my hands on it.  And they all have to do with shopping.

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1.  WALMART.  I don't care who you are, you will eventually find yourself in this Hellhole.  Are glitter flip-flops, shotgun shells, cheddar cheese, upper lip wax and an Associate Degree all on your list today?  You're in luck!  This is just the place.  My only recommendation for this trip (other than a Costco sized bottle of hand sanitizer) is a solid pair of closed toe shoes.  Losing a sandal to the sticky floors of Wally-World almost guarantees eventual amputation.  So double knot those bunny ears please!

2. TARGET.  Essentially this is Walmart's second cousin who married a class up and tried to hide her white trash roots by changing the pronunciation of her last name to Tarjet.  You can tell that you are in Tarjet and not Walmart if more women are in yoga pants and pink running shoes and less women are sporting men's bleach stained sweats and flip-flops they stole from Fabulous Nail.  (That's right, you only get ONE fabulous nail...the other 9 will be an additional 5 dolla as well know.)  

So what's the downfall to this fancy pants superstore?  It's that you are GUARANTEED to run into every single person you do not want to.  It's like your worst enemy got word that you planned to be there Wednesday at 12:15 and decided to camp out in the greeting card section to pounce on you.  And for some unknown reason you always look like shit in Target.  Even if you got dolled up before you left for your trip to Tarjet (which means we can't be friends if you do), something will ruin your efforts.  It's like they have secret make-up removing pads hidden in the sliding glass doors.  Tarjet is one sneaky bitch.

3. THE GROCERY STORE.  One thing that can be guaranteed to be found here, other than your fresh produce needs, is screaming children.  They litter the isles more than expired coupons... and they're usually yours.  That's right, you've brought the screaming toddler whose face has now turned an interesting shade of blue because you have denied them a Kit Kat Bar.  

And guess who is behind you in the checkout line?  Oh just the president of the PTA of the school your child attends with all four of her mute and perfectly postured children.  Now your face is redder than your box of non-organic (gasp!) cherry tomatoes.  

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But don't let Perfect Polly make you feel bad.  Oh no. I am on to her ass.  I bet you a grilled Chick-fil-A sandwich that Polly has a tranq gun and takes aim every time her automatic minivan doors slide open.  

So give your kid the Kit Kat and smile sweetly as you plop down your gallon of Franzia in front of her I'm-better-than-you-because-I-don't-drink-around-my-children infused sparkling water.  You deserve it.

4.  COSTCO/SAM'S CLUB.  Just walking through the entrance of this place makes you want to donate to a poverty ridden country as soon as you leave.  Hey guys, I know you don't have running water but I really do need 852 squeeze-its to complete my pantry.  Don't get me wrong, I love that I don't have to buy dish soap for three and a half years after one trip, it's awesome.  But just try to remember how crazy blessed we are to buy things in such mass amounts of bulk.  Maybe try to donate one of your 200 count cases of water once in awhile too.

Oh and don't buy 400 tampons.  I know it's a great deal but I can almost promise that you will get the only box without a bar code.  And after the 16-year-old bag boy (poor thing) has to go find and return with a new one, you can be sure all the cashiers will be calling you 'Aunt Flow' from that visit on.  

5. OBGYN.  I know it's not necessarily a shopping trip BUT it's definitely cloak worthy.  I mean, we all have the same parts and it shouldn't be embarrassing that you are taking care of your downstairs. (In fact, you should be proud to be seen here.  At least you are taking care of your business!) But it is just plain awkward when you run into your former 5th grade teacher while you are there.  

You can't help but think that Mrs. Wilson now thinks you're a whore and she can't help but think that you now think she has gross old lady sex constantly.  And as much as you'd like to express that you have a husband or steady boyfriend to her, you just can't find an appropriate window to bring up your current sexual monogamy.  I'm sure Mrs. Wilson would like to call you an asshole for not only considering her old, but also that you assume her sex is gross.  And rightfully so!  Just cause she's gray doesn't mean she can't play, ladies.

So instead of addressing the scantily clad elephant in the room, you both make uncomfortable small talk, cross your legs tightly and get balls deep into a 3 year old copy of US Weekly in hopes that the gatekeeper summons you soon. 

Can I have that cloak now please?

It's not that I am embarrassed to be seen at any of these places (I'll probably run into you sooner or later), it's more of an antisocial factor for me.  Maybe I'm an asshole, but I see nothing wrong with a polite smile and nod of acknowledgement to a person you've met two and a half times and happened to see in public.  It's not that I don't want to talk to them but that there is really nothing to talk about.  

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Next time you are in one of these stores I hope you get to witness all of the painfully awkward 'cart' accidents that lead to high pitch hellos, strange laughs and red cheeks.  It's kind of awesome.

Now that I think about it, you can keep your invisible cloak, Harry.  There has got to be some character building benefits from these forced encounters.  Hopefully, we get in a cart accident together soon. Let me just forewarn you that my cart tends to have more booze than vegetables and I sometimes forget my bra at home. . . Which kinda makes me want to bump into you in the frozen food isle jusssst to ensure a worthy show.

Happy shopping, ladies!  See you soon :)

Charlotte Crow

I'm a modern day farmer's daughter who shares and seeks inspiration from the comical & beautiful things that get caught in life's curious little web.