My wife got a message from her cousin that they won an auction online for a kids’ grocery checkout for almost nothing, but they didn’t realize it was an hour away, so they offered it to us. It was a nice one – Melissa and Doug brand – which for non-parents means wooden and educational/not cheap. Sure, I mean it didn’t have sneeze guard or tabloid magazines telling me about Jennifer Aniston or Jennifer Lopez or Jennifer Kardashian, but kids have imaginations, so why not?
I pulled into this warehouse with a huge “FOR LEASE” sign and about 120 cars, semis and trailers moving around like an intersection in Bangkok. I finally got a parking spot next to a pothole lake that could have been a swimming pool and stepped out into freezing rain and a line of at least 40 people. I was one of three not wearing sweatpants or showing signs of leprosy. As my body temperature began to plummet and the secondhand smoke from the absolutely not at all socially distancing riff raff began to sap my will to live, a redneck in a “USA” leather jacket decided to talk to me. SIDE NOTE: I AM THE MOST SURLY, UNAPPROACHABLE ASSHOLE IN THE MIDWEST. WHY DOES EVERYONE SEEK ME FOR RANDO CONVERSATION?
This gentleman surmised if you only had one item, you could walk right in. I don’t trust people that wear leather coats in the rain, but lo and behold, he did it. Some other guy then zoomed past us on a forklift and made the same proclamation. So I went in. The inside was even dirtier than the forsaken wasteland they called the parking lot. There were two more lines, 20 and 15 people deep trying to checkout and rows upon rows of damaged boxes. I was now convinced my wife’s cousin was indeed a pirate to have found this derelict den of thieves. After not being able to discern the forlorn patrons from the rundown staff, I just plowed ahead and found the box myself in row 3. Thankfully, there was a huge sticker showing how fun it is to scan groceries and I snagged it. I was so ready to run for the hills, I tossed it on my shoulder, despite a sticker saying “team lift”.
It’s time like these my COVID after effects kick in and I got rather tired, but at this point, I would have carried it to Juneau to get the hell out of there. I lucked out as a homeless looking man with a scanner checked me out, mostly from sympathy of seeing me lug this around and off I went. Amazingly, it was almost damage free and my daughter sold me two empty cups and my wife vanilla ice cream (WTF right? Empty cups vs. ice cream? I got the short end of the stick). Now I just need to install a lotto machine and liquor store and dad can play smuggler’s den grocery too!