- The guy, Pearson, is responsible for not only saying hello but also making sure all returns get a label so that the person making the return does not get accused of stealing it at the Customer Service desk. Pearson's label making machine was broken, which was obvious the very first time he tried to print a label on return item number one. And it was still broken on times 3, 4, and 5. As people with empty baskets passed me by, Pearson kept trying. I began to fume. It is no joke that my normally short fuse is at an all time low point. I asked if I could just walk over to the CS desk and explain the printer malfunction problem. Pearson, who's job it is to be friendly, gave me a very sharp, unfreiendly negative reply. At this point I'm thinking that the people who passed the recent law that ordinary citizens in Florida can openly carry a weapon on their hip, next to their cell phone which probably plays Dixie, were out of their every loving minds. Clinically depressed, menopausal women against a piece of you-can't-steal-this-equipment. This is the kind of incident that could easily lead to a shoot out. Finally, Pearson relented. He stuck plain, unadorned labels on each item and I was on my way to the next step in the simple process. Except ....
- The line of people at the CS desk was longer than usual. When I first approached it, I was number 10 of 10. Lady #9 informed me that there had been three people on the registers, but for some reason one of them left. Perhaps it was time for a break. Gimme a break! So we waited. I knew my blood pressure was rising and couldn't do anything about it. I like to think of myself as a patient waiter. Let it now be known that I AM NOT! I called my Sweetie and asked him for some guided meditation. He gently suggested I concentrate on my breathing, not the line of people which was now up to 15 and still not moving. "See yourself driving on the highway," says my own personal coach. "Huh?" Silence on the other end of the phone until I realized the coach was serious. "Okay, I'm driving," I played along. "Now, see yourself slowing down. Concentrate on your breathing and slow down." "Oops," I said, "I just smashed my car into the 10 cars in front of me. " "Do you need me to come pick you up?" said the coach. Then ...
- A new cashier, Kevin, is thrown into the fray. Kevin has no problem telling the man who looks like he broke in line (when in fact he moved out of line because he mistakenly thought there were TWO LINES) that he has to go to the back of the line. "Oh, God," I pray. "Please grant me serenity ...." The line moves. The supposed line-breaker goes back to his original place in line that isn't moving. Switching my focus, I realize Kevin knows what he's doing. I am getting closer to the front of the line. Then ...
- I remember my manners and let the man behind me, #11, who is about 80 years old go in front of me. He only has one item, a broken fishing pole. How long can he take to return a fishing pole? Kevin almost has him arrested for queue breaking. It took about 15 minutes but my turn finally arrives. I hear the cashier in the next line ask for the woman's driver's license. "You're just messing with me aren't you," she says. I on the other hand am prepared. Hell, while standing in a line for that amount of time, I could have balanced my checkbook - Ha! I have my credit cards and ID ready. Ida process my return in less than 3 minutes; she never asks for ID. I know I should be grateful. I'm not. My blood pressure skyrocketed. My blood sugar has dropped. I should walk right out of the store and go home. I don't ...
- Instead I go to the pharmacy area and pick up Jack's sleep meds. I begin to unwind by winding my way through the household items, then the linens. I'm not fooling myself, I'm heading towards the fabric department. I know I shouldn't but I do. Then ...
- After picking out fabric another lady and stand in front of the cutting counter wondering where the cutting person is. We wait. We discuss fabric selections. We wait. We search the aisle close by for someone who looks like a cutting person. We wait some more. Do I have to tell you that it was at the 7 or 8 minute mark that steam started coming out of my ears. I could have left the fabric bolts right there and walked out. Probably I should have but I decided to take a stand. I stormed right back to the CS desk and demanded that a manager and a cutter person meet me in the fabric department, NOW. I actually said N-O-W! Kevin looked up at me, smiled and nodded. I stormed back to through the store. I didn't look right or left. I don't know if people stepped out of my way or not. When I got back to the cutting station, the other woman was gone, her selected fabric and lace strewn across the counter, clearly tossed in a fit of anger. There was no manager. But, before I had time to actually blow a gasket, Diane the Electronics manager came to my rescue. She listened to my rant. She apologized. She picked up the scissors and laid out the fabric. Let me just say that cutting a straight line is not required of people who sell electronics. To her credit, Diane tried but the edge of the fabric looked like it had been cut with pinking shears. At that moment, I didn't really care. To smooth my ruffled feathers Diane was cutting full yard pieces instead of 1/2 yard. Is this kosher? I decide not to look a gift horse in the mouth. Diane is, after all, a manager. She picks up pricing gun that is connected to the label printer that looks suspiciously like the one Pearson was using at the front door. I tell the truth when I admit to looking through the racks of fabric for a hidden camera. Had Alan Funt been in there I would have punched him because ....
- at this moment we discovered the printer had NO batteries. Every time she pointed the gun at the bar code, punched in the yardage cut and pushed the GO button, nothing happened. She left me to find someone who knew how to make it work. Can you here him? Can you hear Kenny Rogers singing, "know when to walk away ......" I started counting to 100 OUT LOUD thinking this would still my racing heart. Diane came back with Bill, another supervisor, in tow. He listens to my story of woe. He apologizes. He helps Diane with the machine. He calls Kevin and tells him to prepare a Customer Satisfaction card for me and leaves. Diane kept cutting but the machine never worked. We compare notes on hot flashes. Both of us are dripping in sweat and I seriously doubt it has anything to do with hormones, though we both sort of laugh it off. Finally she prints out a label, I don't know how and don't care. I want out of there.
- I head to the CS desk and Kevin hands me a $20 gift card. I take it, but I begin to feel guilty. Diane has already given me extra cuts of fabric. Should I accept the gift? I decide to take the money and run. As I head for the check out lane, I can't help but notice there is NOBODY in line for returns. They are all in line elsewhere. At the express lane I was #2. Piece of cake ...
- Before I head home I decide I better go to the bathroom. Walmart bathrooms are not my favorite, but when I gotta go, I gotta go. I walk in to discover only one stall open. I step in, and say the only thing I can think of, even though I know it is blasphemy. "Jesus Christ," I swore and beat a hasty retreat. A Walmart employee was behind me also looking for a place to pee. "That bad?" she asked as I brushed by her. I don't even acknowledge her; I am out the door. Kevin coming in my direction gives me a big smile. I think I have lost my ability to smile. "The woman's bathroom is disgusting," I tell him in as I pass by not even breaking stride. "I'll take care of it," he replies and I think to myself, "stand by Diane, you're about to get a lesson in plumbing."
- I get to my car. I don't know whether to laugh or cry. What has happened to my ability to take things in stride? Where is the girl who sings LaLa instead of meeting confrontation head on? When I got home, my Sweetie held me in his arms. His arms said, "I understand" but I bet his eyes said, "what a goof ball."
P.S. I am fully aware that this post has no mention of food and I didn't post yesterday. Oh well.
July 8: Caramel Corn
14 cups popped popcorn
2 cups brown sugar – packed
1 cup butter
½ cup light corn syrup
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
Optional: 1 cup mixed nuts if desired
Remove any un-popped kernels. Place popped corn in a buttered metal bowl and keep warm in a 200 degree oven.
Combine brown sugar, butter, corn syrup and salt in a heavy saucepan. Bring to boil, stir occasionally. Boil without stirring for 5 minutes or until mixture reaches 255 degrees on a candy thermometer. Remove mixture from heat and add baking soda. Beware! CANDY WILL FOAM! Stir well.
If using nuts, add to popped corn. Pour mixture over corn and toss with buttered forks to distribute evenly. Spread onto 2
un-greased baking sheets. Bake at 200 degrees for 1 hours, stirring every 15 minutes. Cool corn completely. Break into clusters. Makes 3 ½ quarts.