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I Fight an Old Lady for Pop Tarts

We were out of milk, and it was my turn to go shopping. This was a time in our marriage when money was tight. And I don’t know where my wife got the crazy idea that I’m some sort of reckless spender, but for whatever reason, she made me promise to only get what I was able to carry out of the store.

So I went to the grocery store, grabbed a gallon of milk, and walked straight to checkout aisle. Yes, I was tempted by the Pop Tarts, but come on, I had will power. The cashier asked if I wanted to donate five dollars to help the monkeys in Asia. I did not want to help the monkeys in Asia. She asked if I would like to reduce waste by choosing not to have my milk in a bag. Truthfully, I was feeling guilty about the monkeys, so I said yes.

And that was that. Until, on my way out of the grocery store, I noticed that Cap’n Crunch and M&M’s and were buy-one-get-one free, and I thought, what good is milk without Cap’n Crunch? And you can’t just have a bowl of Cap’n Crunch without M&M’s. In the long run, these amazing deals would save us money. I’d be stupid not to buy. So with the gallon of milk and two bags of M&M’s in one arm and two boxes of Cap’n Crunch in the other arm, I made my way back to the checkout aisle. I was still only getting what I was able to carry out of the store. My conscience was clear.

Then it occurred to me that our dishes were dirty, which would make eating the Cap’n Crunch exceedingly difficult. True, I could wash the dishes, but if time is money, I would be saving money be eliminating the need to do the dishes in the first place. So I picked up packages of seventy-two Styrofoam bowls and fifty plastic spoons. By now my arms were completely full, which was fine, because I was done spending. I told the cashier that I did not want to help the monkeys, which still made me feel bad, so again I opted to save the planet by not using bags. I’d already made it this far. Surely I could make it to the car.

And I would have gone to my car had not the manager announced over the P.A. that all baked goods were now fifty percent off. Now I know you, like my wife, are thinking I have some sort of spending problem, but if I didn’t buy some bagels, they would go to waste. And how could I, in good conscience, try to save the planet by not using plastic bags while simultaneously turning a blind eyes to the wasting of precious resources in the form of bagels? So I picked up a few dozen, though I didn’t put them in bags, because I felt really bad about those monkeys.

Now, carrying a gallon of milk, two boxes of Cap’n Crunch, two bags of M&M’s, seventy-two Styrofoam bowls, fifty plastic spoons, and thirty-six bagels proved to be a formidable challenge. I probably looked kind of stupid. However, all I had to do was thread my arms and legs through the holes in the bagels, and then I didn’t look stupid anymore. It’s a little-known fact that that’s why bagels have holes, stemming from medieval times, when they were used as both food and armor.

Then I had a disturbing realization. Bagels are completely useless without cream cheese. Speaking of which, do you know how much it costs for eight measly ounces of cream cheese? You would be stupid not to buy it in bulk, which is two cents cheaper per ounce. I was going to pick up the ten pound bucket, but it didn’t have a handle, so I had to go with the twenty pound bucket, which I hung around my neck. Now lest you think I was getting reckless with my spending, I remind you that cream cheese was a need, not a want.

However, as my net weight was increasing, I found it more and more difficult to walk as a bagel-man. Luckily, the grocery store provided these electric shopping carts – you know, the ones reserved for cripples and old ladies – and as long as I carried the groceries on my lap, I was still following the rules.

So I hopped on the vehicle and took a spin around the store, looking for more deals. And it must have been my lucky day, because Pop Tart boxes were ten for the price of nine! The only problem was, the crippled, old lady in the other electric cart also had her eye on the pop tarts, and there was a limited supply. In a mad dash, we raced each other to load up our carts.

I claimed my tenth box fair and square, so you can imagine my shock when the old lady snatched it right out of my hands and drove off. Believe me when I say I had every intention of respecting the elderly, but if I didn’t buy ten, I wouldn’t get the deal! So I chased her. Cruising at five miles per hour, the chase went through the junk food aisle, around a corner, past the deli, and into the produce section, which I normally avoided on principle. She threw a can of chili at me, but I veered to the left. As we circled around the apples and oranges, I was closing in on her. With one hand on the accelerator, I leaned forward to snatch the Pop Tarts from her basket. Then, in the last moment, she pulled a left, and before I saw it coming, I crashed into the bread aisle.

Normally, a small vehicle traveling at five miles per hour wouldn’t have been sufficient to knock over an entire aisle, but I remind you that energy equals mass times acceleration, and with a gallon of milk, two boxes of Cap’n Crunch, two bags of M&M’s, seventy-two Styrofoam bowls, fifty plastic spoons, thirty-six bagels, twenty pounds of cream cheese, and nine boxes of Pop Tarts … I had mass. The bread aisle crashed onto the baby food aisle. The baby food aisle crashed on the baking aisle. And like dominoes, the carnage went on and on.

It was okay. I would pay for it all on credit, which wasn’t real money anyway. Besides, considering how much money I was saving, it was like the store was paying me! Meanwhile, the old lady was driving toward the checkout stand. At five miles per hour, I knew I’d never be able to catch up with her. so I did what I had to. I grabbed a two liter bottle of Coca Cola, unscrewed the lid, and loaded it with Pop Rocks, Alka Seltzers, and an entire package of Mentos. With my left hand on the accelerator, I held my makeshift jet engine beneath my right arm as my craft lurched into motion, accelerated, and rose above the floor. I looked down as the checkout stand passed beneath me. Then I looked forward as I crashed the front doors, soared over the parking lot, and landed in a dumpster. On the bright side, was had been true to my promise. I only got what was I able to care out of the store. Except for the gallon of milk, which kind of burst upon impact. But then, who wanted milk anyway?

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