The Only Thing Missing Was Vicki Lawrence

Hubby and I went and did a little shopping at Tar-jay Sunday afternoon. Not fun shopping, just the average we-need-paper-towels-Advil-vitamins-Ziploc-containers sort of trip. No fun stuff allowed or else our checking account will slit its own wrists because its consistently low.

I decided to browse around the food section to find better deals on stuff that we buy at Publix. I love Publix almost as much as I love Tar-jay, but they are pricey. However, I just cannot bring myself to cross the automatic-door threshold of Wal-Mart. What good does it do me to save $20 if I gotta stand in line for an hour to pay for my groceries? Don’t believe it can happen? Well, it did to my aunt this weekend, so eat it.

Anyway, I’m looking at the macaroni and cheese, which is 40 cents more at Publix, but several of the boxes at Tar-jay looked like someone had tossed them one by one from the end of the aisle to a stockboy who apparently couldn’t catch a cold.

I reach toward the shelf to find a box that is in better shape when the power goes off. I mean, PITCH. BLACK. The whole hand-waving-in-front-of-the-face-thing? Yeah, it didn’t work.

I hear Hubby say, “Don’t move.” Well, duh. Although now that I think about it, he wouldn’t have known if I did, but he was totally protective of me, and it was really sweet. I felt him take my arm, and while I know the darkness lasted all of ten seconds at the longest, it seemed like forever. A handful of lights flickered on, as if a generator had started up, and just as my sigh of relief went up with dozens of other shoppers, it went dark again.

At this point I had what in hindsight I know is a totally ridiculous thought, but I’m going to share it with you because I know you won’t laugh at me… well not that hard anyway. But you know, I was standing there in the dark — TWICE — and the fear struck that maybe someone did this on purpose. Perhaps (*sigh* yes, I’m going to say this) terrorists?

(Pause for laughter)

Done yet? If not, that’s too bad. I’m continuing with my story and leaving your pathetic ass behind.

Yes, now I know that was a stupid thought. Al-Qaeda was going to attack a Target in Greenville, South Carolina. I’m not saying that it’s not completely and totally out of the realm of possibility, but I think there are other cities that are higher on the list.

The darkness didn’t last as long this time — thank God — and once the lights came on and it appeared they were going to stay on, Hubby grabs the cart and asks, “Do we need anything else?”

“Doggie papers,” I tell him.

He grabs the cart and starts off, “Fuck it, we’re getting that and then we’re getting the hell out of here.”

Well, a lot of customers had that idea, but I have to hand it to Tar-jay. Two people paced in front of the checkout area pointing customers to open registers, and once the registers were back online, almost every lane was open and ringing up purchases.

So those of you who are old enough to remember, get that mental image of Vicki Lawrence in your head — the pre-Mama’s Family, where she’s wearing the ’70s jumpsuit and the Dorothy Hamill haircut — and sing it with me: “That’s the night that the lights went out in Tar-jay…”


8 thoughts on “The Only Thing Missing Was Vicki Lawrence

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  1. Oh MY GOD! I refuse to go to Walmart at certain times because it’ll take me longer waiting in line than it does to find everything I need. And after the first of Dec I AVOID Walmart till the New Year has passed. Even with ever register open that place is INSANE 🙂

    I would have been having a blast at the power outage. Yeah I’m weird 🙂 What can I say. Those things are fun for me!


  2. Power outages can be fun unless its night time or your around fearfully crazy people.

    The Wal Mart thing I partially agree with you. I shop at Sams–Wal Mart savings minus the lines. Who can beat that?


  3. Well, maybe if a store like that were more easily accessible. Around [an awesome city] South Carolina (thanks for the plug, by the way 😉 ), the traffic is so congested around Wal-Mart/Sam’s and what not that I still lose what’s left of my Southern Baptist religion getting in and out of these places!


  4. I did some minor grocery shopping at the Wal-Mart in Central this weekend. We had to exchange a Christmas gift there, (yeah, it’s been a month, so what? 🙂 ) so figured while we were there we’d pick up some dog food and soups and whatnot.
    One thing I noticed was that Wal-Mart shoppers are a lot more rude than Publix or Ingles shoppers.
    Wal-Mart shoppers don’t seem to understand the whole concept of driving on the right-hand side of the aisle. No, they just veer recklessly from one side of the aisle to the other, blissfully unaware of all the people trying to squeeze around their fat-ass, Little Debbie-laden carts of junk food.
    Publix may be pricey, but at least it’s civilized.


  5. Here in Pittsburgh, we have a mediocre at best grocery chain called Giant Eagle, which features checkout women who, with few exceptions, practice the Pittsburgh area’s legendary “I want to kill you but don’t have the guts” school of customer service.

    Really, Giant Eagle makes Wal*Mart look like a pretty nice place to shop. The food is, overall, significantly better quality (!) than Giant Eagle.

    When I visited Florida a few years back I remember really liking Publix. Such a well-managed, friendly place. Pity they are so small. I’m used to California’s city-sized supermarkets which easily equal the size of a Wal*Mart grocery department.

    My favorite market’s still Gelson’s in California. Check out this yummy sales pitch. It doesn’t say anything about price, of course, but surprisingly they are fairly competitive. Not the cheapest but not embarassingly out of line. Giant Eagle in Pittsburgh is significantly more expensive, and their sales pitch is “We’re the only supermarket in town except for that pathetic Foodland, and we really don’t want to go there, do we?”

    Foodland clerks are actually friendly but the place is dirty and as a horrible selection.

    Nowadays, I am so disgusted by customer service here that I drive 50 miles out of my way to shop at Whole Foods. They’re expensive but at least their people treat you like human beings, and they have the kind of eccentric merchandise people like me love.

    So consider yourself lucky that you live in South Carolina and have a Publix, where it’s at least nice to shop.



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