Today's menu: Breakfast was eaten on the run, or to be more accurate, on the walk, as I attended my first Frontline service at Miracle Life Ministries today., and all I had was a handful of raw almonds. Lunch was eaten seated at a table at Whole foods, and it was a repeat of breakfast. The service was wonderful. The shopping trip, not so much :-/.
You see, yesterday afternoon a little past 3 p.m. I stopped in at the bank to check my bank balance and saw that it contained a decent amount. I wanted to set my budget for today's trip at a specific amount, but prices being what they are at Whole Foods, I knew that there was a strong possibility, no, a probability, that I would blow right by that amount. But that would be okay to me.
So I went through the aisles gathering various things I thought I wanted. Shopping backwards, I picked up cold foods early in the search, right after I picked up some produce. Unfortunately for me, it took me longer to shop than I planned, and it was a good four hours later by the time I finished. What can I say, decisions take time, and I made a lot of them.
So I went through the line with my purchases, not blinking when I saw that my total was double my original budget. The money was in the bank, right? WRONG! The card was rejected! I had the cashier to void the whole transaction and continue with other patrons while I sat aside to figure out what had happened.
I used my bank's telephonic banking system to check my balance again. I guess that a bunch of the people to whom I'd made payments via banking card or check all chose that period between 3 p.m. yesterday and 4 p.m. today to collect their money, because I was down by a massive amount. I don't embarrass easily, but I was wincing inside as I returned to the cashier and asked him to do the re-ring.
I started with the frozen vegetables and cold prepared food that I'd selected. Four hours riding around in my cart had done it no favors in terms of preservation, and I didn't think it was fair to make others suffer the effects of my slow time-taking and miscalculation. In addition to a package of chopsticks, the frozen and cold prepared stuff was all I ended up buying. Needless to say, I bought no nuts. I apologized my way through the whole thing. For their part, the cashier and his co-worker who came over to help were relieved that I was right-minded enough to pay for the stuff I did get.
Which made me wonder, off on the periphery of my mind: "Just how often do they get stuck with spoiled cold groceries because people ride them around in the cart for the longest time but then decide that they can't or won't purchase them?" It would not have been fair to put them back after thawing them out in my cart, and I fully intended to buy them anyway, which is why they were in my cart in the first place, so it was no skin off my nose to have them rung up first. When I shop for things like that, I make good and sure I'm absolutely going to get them before I walk out the section where I got them. On the flip side, I would not want to be the one being stuck with possibly spoiled groceries because someone else rode them around in a cart long enough to thaw them out, only to change their mind and put them back. And if the people in the store have a good conscience about the matter, there some things they wouldn't restock anyway, because keeping them away from the cold for so long would allow for the possible multiplication of harmful pathogens to begin, and others would then be made sick. Which would make the alternative be for the store folks to throw out those items. And where would they make up the loss? Yup! Right out of all our pockets!
So you see, folks, when you spoil food in your cart that you then don't buy, don't think you've saved yourself anything. You join the rest of us in paying for it later, in higher food prices. And while that's only one small way that food prices may be affected, it is a way that can so easily be prevented!
(1) My frenemy—I HATE that word; I rebuke myself in the Name of Jesus for calling him that, and I will not anymore use it about him!—my once-and-will-be-again friend T, when I told him over the phone about this, answered, "That's why, when I go to the store, I check while I'm there how much money is in the bank, before I start shopping." I'll be doing that myself from now on, you better know! And I suggest you do it, too. If you don't know the number to your bank's telephonic banking system, then you can get it from a teller the next time you go there. Program it into your phone so you always have it.
(2) I shopped backward, in that I got cold things first. Now that would have been okay if I'd had the money to buy those things. Having discovered myself to have less than I'd originally been told, however, if I'd shopped so that I got the cold things last, I would have been able to get at least one bag of nuts, and I might have been able to swap out some of the other cold things for other things I'd picked up and wanted. I could have, for instance, turned in all but a few of the frozen vegetables for a few fresh produce items, or a bag of brown rice or a bag of whole grain flour. I could have ended up with a variety with which I would have been more pleased, and the cold things would have been able to go back to their places because they would not have had so much time to thaw out and warm up. I will avoid doing that from now on, and it will be easier to avoid in that particular store now, because having walked most of it in my shopping trip today, I now have a better idea of the layout.
(3) Which brings up the wisdom of taking time to become familiar with a new store's layout by simply visiting it and walking through it a time or two before you try to do a massive grocery shopping trip there. Knowing what's in the store and where to find it before you need to know will make it easier to get through your trip in a shorter amount of time, even if you don't have a list but do have a general idea of the things you want to pick up while you're there.
(4) Deciding which things are must-haves and which things you can get another day if you find yourself unable to get them today makes it easier on both you and the cashier if the bank balance takes an unexpected hit and you're forced to leave something behind. Deciding to be polite and gracious with the cashiers about you doing the right thing can also go a long way to soothe their feelings about having to restock your intended purchases. From remarks they made between them, I knew he'd already had to repeat a similar scenario with re-rings and restocking at least once, and possibly a few times before I got in his line, and it was not his fault that my bottom line went belly up, so it did no good to take it out on him. I apologized so much that the lady actually started saying things like, "No, no, don't worry about it, things happen." And as I walked away with my one less-than-half-full bag, she actually said, "Bye-bye, thanks for shopping, and thanks for buying the frozen vegetables! See you soon!" Since she may indeed see me soon, as I plan to return when I have enough money to get some of the other things I couldn't get today, it makes me feel good that I still managed to leave behind me a good enough impression that they don't mind if I come back.
Oh, before I forget: As soon as I got home and got sorted out, I fixed myself a small plate with a generous scoop of all of the four kinds of hummus in the sampler pack I got (one of the cold prepared food items) and dipped a lot of baby carrots into it. There was traditional, garlic, black bean, and roasted red pepper hummus. All of them were good. And while I've been typing I ate some pinto beans that I cooked last night and paired them with a generous serving of guacamole (the other cold prepared food, and the one in place of which, had I not shopped backward, I could have gotten my much-desired cashew nuts).