Maybe the Friday before a three-day weekend wasn't the best time to try to run some errands. I had a check to cash for Mom and some grocery shopping that she's not up to doing for herself yet. (She knew that the bubble in her eye wouldn't dissolve right away, but it's still a major nuisance.) So I "volunteered" to drop by the store for her on my way to the post office yesterday morning.
The line at the in-store bank was so long that I didn't even consider standing in it. I grabbed a cart and started looking for the items on Mom's list. She'd gone over it with me just a little while before, so it should have been easy. I had a few things of my own to get, but at least I knew where to find those.
When you're shopping from someone else's list, everything seems to be in the wrong place. Mom was quite specific about the kind of bread she wanted. I knew what not to get — the round loaf. But there wasn't any such thing as "sour pillow sliced," so I had to make a decision. I hope "Santa Cruz sourdough" works for her. At least it's sliced, and not round.
Back and forth, from the food section to the drug section. Paper plates here, pickle relish there. Oops, forgot the sour cream while I was in the dairy section. What kind of cranberry juice? Close eyes. Point. That kind.
One item left: French's French Fried Onions Taste Toppers. Hmmmm. Not in the salad dressing section with the croutons. Not with the spices or the crackers. Up every aisle, and back the other direction, just in case. I wonder how many times I've passed it. Do I really have to ask a clerk? Yes.
Next to the canned vegetables. Of course. And I'd passed it at least three times (which is pathetic; no one should wander aimlessly for that long without seeking assistance).
As I was on my way to the checkout counter, I heard an announcement over the public address system: "All employees who are not helping customers please come to the back room." Whatever. That left just three counters open, all stacked up with loaded carts ahead of me. I get in one line, then switch to a shorter one. Obviously, I should have stayed in the first one. That's a given.
I used up over an hour of company time for one, two three … sixteen items. And I still had to go to the post office. But I had most of the afternoon to pick up the pieces and get back some momentum. All I needed was to focus. Plenty of work to do, plenty of time left.