Monday, July 9, 2012

An Empty Box

I am having a problem of a personal nature. It is both uncomfortable and mortifying. So humiliating in fact that I had been putting off resolving it until the discomfort outweighed the mortification. Tonight, I finally grew a pair and went to the store to acquire the antidote to my problem. I was standing in the most embarrassing aisle with my back to the item I really needed, because it was a lot easier to pretend I was perusing the many different kinds of shaving cream with unusually intense focus. Every now and then I would sneak a peek behind me at the products actually relevant to my condition. And every time I did, there seemed to be someone walking by and judging me. It took me a full ten minutes to just pick up the damn box and shove it discretely behind the tomatoes and skim milk.

And now, the many faces of awkward...

When I was ready to purchase, I steered the cart to the front of the store. It was rush hour at Ralph's, and my cart was pretty full. I couldn't really get away with the self-check out, at least not without pissing people off who only had one or two items. (I am susceptible to major grocery store peer pressure). That meant choosing which of the clerks seemed to be the most understanding. Of course they were all young, reasonably attractive menfolk. Because God hates me. I finally chose a line and started unloading. Again, I tried to hide this item which seemed to call attention to itself like a Vegas slot machine complete with bells and whistles.

I happened to be purchasing a few bottles of wine at the time, and the checker asked me for my ID. It was at this point that I realized I'm a grown-ass woman. I can buy wine and everything (though I can only afford the cheap stuff). I shouldn't be embarrassed by something that is just a fact of life! If it makes some people uncomfortable, than screw them. And as a former grocery store checker myself, I can attest that I honestly didn't give a shit what people bought as long as they paid for them and weren't rude to me. It was quite the epiphany. Though I still turned bright red as the box slid smoothly over the scanning platform.

I got home less than ten minutes later, anxious to finally take advantage of the ______. I opened the box only to discover that it was empty. I thought it felt kind of light in the store, but never having purchased this item before, I figured it was just a really lightweight substance. Plus, I had grabbed it so fast that I didn't think to check it like I would check a carton of eggs. Apparently I'm not the only one embarrassed to purchase this stuff. Whomever got there before me must have been so cowardly that they couldn't even bear to bring it to the check-out. They took it out of the box and shoved it into a purse or pocket.

Part of me doesn't blame them. Another part of me is indignant that not only did they commit one crime, but they screwed me out of six bucks (or two and a half more bottles of cheap wine as I like to think of it). Not a ton of money, I grant you, but also not insignificant to someone of my limited means.  However, a third part is gloating that I had the lady-balls to do what this anonymous woman could not. I faced my fears and the imaginary judgment of my fellow shoppers to take care of business like the strong, self-sufficient broad that I am!

Of course this means that I'm still without the item that I reeeeeeally needed. I was barely able to buy it in the first place. There's no way in hell I can handle going back and approaching customer service, which will also undoubtedly be helmed by a man, and saying, "Uhh this box I just bought was empty." That's way too much progress for one night. So I can either make a second trip to Target (because clearly I can never show my face at Ralph's again) and be out another six bucks. Or I can suffer in awkward silence. We'll see how this goes...

UPDATE: 9:55pm, 7/9/12. I ended up caving and went to the somewhat ghetto CVS in North Hollywood. There's no judgment at Ghetto CVS. It was a lot less dramatic but Mission Accomplished. :D

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