Replenishing supplies a la cart

I remember, a long time ago, I went to a local super market with a friend. (Actually, it was my girlfriend.) It wasn’t a small “Mom & Pop” store. It was one of the biggest around. It was a super market.

She and I thought it would be kind of fun to take some small walkie-talkies in with us. She would start out shopping on one side of the store  and I’d start on the other. As each of us found an item that were were looking for, we would tell the other person over the walkie talkies what we had found, trying to use some “code words” or phrases that would make us sound like we were involved in some kind of convert operation. It was silly. It was child-like. It was fun. 

A few minutes into our “mission” with both of us only having one or two items in our respective carts, she, my “Team Member” was approached by a security officer and asked what she was doing. 

I got the call on my unit. She sounded official, but I could tell she was under duress. “I need backup. I think they’re onto me and need to be extracted, STAT.”

I asked her “What’s your 20?”

She responded, Aisle 15A, near the Cannelinis.”

“I’m 10-17”

This sounded like it was gettin’ good. When I showed up, the security officer had her walkie talkie in his hand and was inspecting it. I walked up with a smile and asked the officer “What’s up?” 

“You can’t be using these in here” referring to the walkie-talkies. “Why not” It’s just…why are you using these?” “‘Cause it’s fun. We feel like we’re on some kind of international secret mission. That’s how we roll.”

He looked at me, then her, and then back at me. He really looked kind of stumped on what he should do. “Look, I’ve been sent over to ask you to please stop using them in the store or we’ll have to take them from you. Why don’t you turn ‘em off and just put ‘em away?”

I looked at her, keeping a straight face. “You think we should?” I gotta hand it to her. She didn’t break character.  She bit down on her lower lip, thought for a second, then nodded and said. “Okay.”

I held mine up to my mouth and spoke into the walkie-talkie. “Abort mission. Cancel backups.” I had already turned mine off, but I thought it was the perfect way to end our encounter. I put the walkie-talkie into my pocket and she put away hers.

He shook his head, smiled and just walked away, with her and I pushing our carts apart, heading off in opposite directions. A couple of minutes later, we met up near the frozen foods. We were both grinning from ear to ear. 

“We’re really bad, aren’t we?” The worst!” I said, and the two of us started laughing.

You might have expected this kind of behavior from teenagers, but we hadn’t been teenagers for a while. We laughed and went over what had happened as we drove home.

The biggest downside of the experience? Both of us forgot to get the cannelini beans.

And the irony of this story? If you go to that store today and walk down the aisles, I’ve say at least 25% of the people that are shopping are on their phones. (And I bet they’re not having fun)


Sky Sands