An interesting thing happened to me at Kroger today: I got chewed out by the check-out lady. And then some. See, I did my shopping, for the most part sticking to my carefully written-out list. But when I got to the baking goods aisle, something called to me that wasn’t on my list. It literally sang my name out loud from the other end of the spice section. It was a beautiful bottle of gourmet vanilla. One look and I knew that my chocolate chip cookies desperately needed this beautiful ingredient. Surely there could be nothing better for all desserts that will ever be baked in my kitchen than this gourmet vanilla. I had to have it. So I threw it in the cart. It was an impulse buy I was happy with. I’ve been really good at sticking to the “no buying anything other than food for the entire month of September” resolution and I knew I could do this with a clear conscience since a) vanilla is food b) I bake a lot and c) I really, really wanted it.
Well, when I got up to the check-out lane, the woman working there was happily scanning my groceries until she got to the vanilla. She held it up and looked at it, obviously as curious as I had been about it. She said “Wow, I’ve never seen this before. Is it good?” (I’m sure it was singing her name as well, even if she wouldn’t admit it.) I told her that I’d never tried it before but that it had called to me. She gave a little shrug with a smile, as if to say she understood, and proceeded to scan the vanilla. At that point, she actually jumped backwards a full step, eyes flew open wide, and then she leaned into the screen squinting as if she couldn’t believe what she was seeing. “Ten dollars!!!!!!??????” she yelled, loud enough for customers five rows down to hear. “Is that right?” Yes, I assured her. It’s gourmet vanilla. “That must’ve been calling you REAL loud for you to pay that price for it!” Yes, it was. “I hope you bake enough to make it worth it for you!” Yes, I do. She then spent the rest of her scanning time fuming and shaking her head back and forth every so often while muttering under her breath, “Ten dollars….”
I endured my extremely unpleasant check-out experience with visions of bolting out the front door to escape the heaping piles of steaming shame being flung upon me. I could feel my head dropping lower and lower under the load. The last items scanned were a couple bottles of wine. Before scanning them, she glared at me and said “I’m gonna need to see some ID before I sell this to you.” I fumbled in my purse and handed her my driver’s license which states very clearly that I am 35 years old. Thirty. Five. Almost thirty-six. She stood there, carefully analyzing it, alternating between looking at me with great skepticism and studying the driver’s license to make sure it wasn’t a fake.
I made it home with both the wine and the gourmet vanilla. I love my home. I don’t know if I’ll ever go back to Kroger though. Even if they DO have the best produce section.