Tuesday, March 3, 2015

An Exit Strategy

Ah, the perils of grocery shopping.

I never expected going for food to be fraught with danger. Serendipity's evil twin showed up this afternoon, provoking future PTSD among those of us who were merely imparting "no, dear, I haven't forgotten the pralines" to unseen loved ones while trying their Rambo best to evade and escape the malfunctioning electronic door at the Towers Kroger this evening. I judged, from behind the safety of someone's Granada, approximately how quickly I'd have to exit past the electronic gadget which was doing its best to inflict malicious wounding upon those who dared violate the space within its bowels, possibly in Aisle Six.

Now, I'm not a commando, at least not in the normal sense. However, having been blessed with YouTube, I've been privy to Special Air Services training tactics. That's why I felt as though I had committed dereliction of duty this evening. Rather than taking an "everyone for himself" attitude, as I did, I should have played the role of force multiplier. Specifically, had I won the trust of my fellow shoppers entering the store, I could then have convinced them that (a) the door posed a threat, and (b) our best bet to obtain microwave spaghetti and sourdough bread would include storming the door in waves. Given the average speed of the twenty-seven or so of us, we could breach the entry in approximately thirty seconds. This would likely have included casualties, especially among those who hesitated while searching purses for coupons.

While an employee was busy telling his coworker "I told you so" regarding the failing contraption, I stormed my way in (please, no puns about "stormed doors" here). I did sustain a sore left elbow for my efforts. Still, when apple juice is at stake, is that really such a big price?

One could feel the tension in the air, even as far away as the cereal aisle where little Joshua was locked in a battle of wills with his mom over Lucky Charms. Distracted by the lure of Mountain Dew, Hostess cupcakes, Budweiser, and Bubba Burgers, how we were going to escape was the one detail which we all had apparently overlooked. One Carillon physician's assistant suggested wedging the door with a small piece of wood. That idea was quickly nixed, however, when some guy in bib coveralls asked the critical question, "wouldn't we have to be outside to find wood?"

Another woman, whose only identity came from an apparent overdose of Botox and perhaps a gallon of highly vulgar perfume, suggested that several of the younger men engage the door in a suicide mission long enough for her to escape to her Mercedes SUV with her poodle. Again, another idea tossed into the trash heap of history by several younger men who weren't suicidal. Despite Precious's yapping insistence that we weren't being brave enough, none of us decided that the honor of Alpo's biggest stock investor was worth the risk. A small dog was highly offended, but no blood was spilled.

Finally, it happened. Someone noticed that there's another door on the other side of the storefront. Mired in the tactics and logistics of escaping, evading, and buying pretzels, we had unknowingly become victims of Occam's Razor. I, for one, felt silly about the whole thing. My personal plan of escape was to exit through the back door, traverse down the interior alleyway which Tower's Mall is famous for, and Force Recon my way back to my car. That would have been formidable at best; the guy at GNC is always on the lookout for me so he can try to sell me "Muscle Gain 10,000 RPM Macho Max". And, of course, there's always the specter of the Great Wall Chinese Restaurant, whose seductive aroma intoxicates one to come inside and spend money whether they want to or not.

A great many of us turned to look back, possibly to assess what we had all endured, or maybe simply to remember the casualties of the day. Whatever the case, Triscuits were purchased, along with eggs, any number of Betty Crocker dessert mixes, broccoli, and Jerry's Fancy Red Wine For Fancy Off-Yellow Noodles. Most of us survived, and that includes the poodle.

We had discovered our door. That was our out.


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