My weekly shopping routine consists of ordering my shopping list by the sections of the store. In all honesty, I don't need the list as it's pretty routine, but I keep one anyway. This is my pattern. It keeps me focused. Joey is aware of the pattern. For instance, when due to unexpected construction he asked if we could go to Kroger, I went into a panic. "The list is not made for Kroger. It's made for HEB." Perfectly logical, right? I'm not sure he recognizes the method to my madness, but he at least recognizes it as madness and as such, proceeds with caution. He waited
the extra traffic minutes to get to HEB, aka, my sanity.
This past week while Joey was off at the meat section (manly, right?), I had just finished with the fruits/veggies, always the most work, when I realized I left one thing out that was at the front of the store. The produce section was extremely busy so I thought I would minimize the congestion by leaving my cart and going out on foot. I navigated between carts and toddlers and picked up the missing item. Just as I'm thinking "produce section - check!", I go back to get my cart. Small problem. It's wasn't there. Someone must have pushed it aside. So I start looking around the area. No lone carts here. Oh no. I bet one of the workers thought it was driverless and is undoing all my work as the minutes tick by. But no worker with my cart.
At this point, I was at a loss. I could see myself on America's Most Wanted holding up a small photo of my missing cart giving a description "Metal, red plastic seat, contains produce, with a squeaky wheel" all the while saying "I just turned my back for one second and it was gone." And then I spotted it. The organic sweet potatoes gave it away.
A guy in his late 50s was driving my cart! He's a cart thief! I bet he doesn't even come with a list. He just cruises by and spots a cartful of groceries that he thinks might be his style and presto, his shopping is done. So I started following him. After a sharp turn at the potatoes, I thought I'd lost him, but I caught up to him paused in confusion at the onions. I said "Sir, unhand my cart!". No I didn't. I'm being dramatic. It was more like "Ummm....excuse me, sir? I think you might have my cart by mistake?" And I had my cart back.
Lesson learned: never leave your cart unsupervised.