You know that feeling you get when you're caught doing something you're not supposed to be doing? You wish that you could magically disappear and would welcome the ground opening up and swallowing you whole. Okay, that may be going a little far...if the ground opened up, it would be filled with bugs and creepy things. Just having a bug crawl across my foot nearly causes me a heart attack. So I guess I'm really exaggerating when I say I wish the ground would open up and swallow me. But the feeling of wanting to be anywhere but where you are at a given moment I hope is something everybody understands...at least I know my friends get it. Especially OF (Old Friend of Undesirable Snackage Fame)...who experienced that feeling today...with me...'cause that's what friends are for. Kinda makes you want to sing along, doesn't it? Keep smilin', keep shinin', knowin' you can always count on me...for sure...that's what friends are for. Remember that song?
I digress...So anyway, OF and I were in Costco buying provisions. Me...dog food, cat litter, apple filled pastries, cashews, mini pizzas. OF... alcohol, chicken salad, alcohol, spinach, alcohol, yogurt, alcohol...hmmmm that's a lot of alcohol.
First to hit the basket was a gallon of vodka followed seconds later by a jug of Fireball (cinnamon whiskey...really good). A few steps further down the aisle was a jug of regular whiskey to be used to make whiskey slush's which are fabulous and last but not lease was a box of Zinfandel. Yes I said box. Which surprised me because OF is kind of a wine snob. Me, I know nothing of good vs bad wine, vodka, whiskey, etc. I'd be a totally white trash drinker were it not for the fact that I hate beer. Give me a jelly jar full of some sweet alcoholic concoction over ice, and I'm a happy camper.
In an effort to look less lush like (say that three times fast), OF decided she really didn't need the gallon of vodka and was going to put it back. Since we were now in the wine aisle, I told her she should just set it in the big empty spot on the pallet of wine. I didn't think there were any employees around to see her commit this whopping shopping faux pas and it would have taken more time to wind our way through the masses to get back to the vodka aisle. Wrongo bongo...
As soon as she set the giant vodka bottle down on the pallet, and here I admit it looked conspicuously out of place next to the petite wine bottles it was sidling up to, I looked to my left and there was one of the store stockers standing behind a potato bin looking at us. Even though I was old enough to be the kid's grandma, I suddenly felt like the proverbial kid caught with his hand in the cookie jar. I did what I always do when I'm nervous...I started laughing. I tell OF "that kid's watching us, let's go put it back". She starts laughing and keeps walking..."we have to put it back" I tell her...beet red and laughing she keeps walking. We're both mortified and laughing like a couple of ten year old school girls but we keep walking... leaving in our wake, the lone vodka bottle looking like the tall gawky girl towering over her petite red wine classmates in the school pictures.
Actually, I was torn. I didn't know whether I should grab the bottle and rush it back to its proper place, or shove it back into the cart. If I'd thought about it logically, which I'm rarely prone to do, what was the kid going to do? Give a couple of old ladies a tongue lashing for putting a bottle on the wrong shelf? Kick us out of the store? Not likely since our shared basket was filled with hundreds of dollars in goods.
I know from seeing other misplaced items on shelves in stores that we aren't the only ones who've done this. Every time you go to the store you can see a lone product stolen away from its family of like products and put in an aisle where it sticks out like a sore thumb. Sometimes I make the effort to return things to their proper place...not something someone else has moved, but something I decided after putting it in my cart that I really didn't need...unless the store's too crowded. Then all bets are off. But I always try to look around to see if any one's watching before I hastily put the previously coveted but now unwanted bottle of ketchup on top of a bag of brown rice. Then I nonchalantly mosey away...
In an effort to relieve myself of the stoopid guilt I feel when I return items to their unassigned shelves, I've decided to look at it another way. I'm desegregating the store. If you stop and think about it, stores really are the last bastion of accepted segregation. So I'll just proudly do my small part to ensure that products don't remain segregated for their entire shelf life.
P.S. I probably won't go so far as to place a carton of ice cream on the shelf next to the toilet paper or a head of lettuce in the ice cream freezer. I'd feel even more guilt for ruining something than I already do for unintentional rearranging. It's the stoopidist thing.