Saturday, May 22, 2010

Runaway Carts and Forgotten Produce

I had my own little "Sliding Doors" moment this evening. Bear with me through the background: Lisa and I were making spicy ginger sticky wings for dinner, and we thought we'd do a cabbage salad to go with them. I, however, had forgotten to buy scallions last time I was at the store. So while the wings cooked, I headed over to Rainbow Foods to get a bunch. Rainbow in Robbinsdale is in a giant old building with an interminable surface parking lot that spans a couple thousand feet along Bottineau Blvd, where it is shared by an Outpatient Center for North Memorial.
So I walked in from the car through hurricane gusts (it's been windy in the Midwest today), got my fifty-nine cent bunch of green onions, and stepped up to the register. The clerk and I exchanged some banter: "Just the onions?" "Yeah," I said, "I forgot ONE ingredient when I was here earlier. Next time I'm making a list." We both chuckled. As I walked away I realized she had forgotten to give me my 41¢ change from my dollar. I paused and thought, "it's just forty-one cents," and kept walking. As I was exiting the store there was a woman in front of me pushing a cart with one bag of groceries and her (I would guess) four year old son in it. Coming out the front door I noticed out of the corner of my eye one of those big, heavy, child-seat equipped carts rolling, propelled by this evening's heavy winds up the parking lot straight for them. There was a girl coming into the store who had seen this and was jogging over, but couldn't get there in time. I ran ahead and stopped the cart just before it hit this woman, her cart, and consequently her kid. It was actually moving at a clip with some destructive momentum. She thanked me, and I said "Where the hell did that come from?" The other girl said, "Way over there! We watched it come all the way up from the hospital!"
I'm not saying I saved anyone's life, but it occurred to me that if I had turned around and said, "Excuse me ma'am, I think you forgot my change," I likely would have exited the store to see this woman standing over her son, skinned knees and all, surrounded by groceries in the parking lot. I'd say avoiding the band-aids and repacking was worth forty-one cents. But now I have to go raid the couch cushions so I can get a paper tomorrow morning.

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