Crazy lady on aisle 3

I went into Randalls yesterday, a grocery store at which I rarely shop, and came across the strangest, angriest, kookiest lady I’ve ever seen.  I’m still wondering if this really happened, or was a crazy-train dream.

Here’s how it went down: I was behind Ms. Crazy in the checkout line. Her roast or whatever cut of red meat had dripped bloody juice all over the floor where I needed to walk, and was also all over the conveyer belt of the checkout area. I didn’t say anything even though, as a non-meat-eater I was sicked out big time.

Ms. Crazy noticed it on the conveyer belt and griped at the sweet elderly cashier to clean it up. Hearing how she talked to this service provider was the first clue that Ms. Crazy is, well, crazy.

When Pat the sweet elderly cashier rang up Ms. Crazy’s assorted box of individually wrapped cookies, Ms. Crazy complained in a loud & ugly way that the store flyer advertises that product for $2.99 but it rang up for $3.99. Ok, mistakes happen, and I’m pretty sure sweet Pat isn’t the one responsible for programming the sale prices into the cash register, so back off Crazy Lady.

Pat consulted the flyer and found that yes, that product is on sale but Ms. Crazy got the wrong variety or wrong size or something. Ms. Crazy’s response was to bark at Thomas, the bag boy, to go get her the right kind of cookies.

Yes, ma’am.

He came back with what he thought was the right variety, but it wasn’t the assorted box, it was all Chips Ahoy, and Ms. Crazy and her family need the variety and excitement that only Chips Ahoy, Nutter Butter, AND Mini Oreos can bring. Did I say they need the variety? Pardon me, they deserve it. She didn’t say that, but I could totally tell that’s the kind of person she is.

So Ms. Crazy sent poor Thomas back to the cookie aisle to do her bidding. While he was gone, she looked at me, waiting ever so patiently behind her hot mess self. I was making an effort to be patient, for once, and didn’t huff or look at my watch or otherwise complain. But when Ms. Crazy rolled her eyes at me, as if to suggest the Randalls employees were disappointing her high expectation of — and God-given right to — exemplary service, my patience quickly evaporated.

That was when Ms. Crazy noticed the bloody juice all over the floor. She asked me, Is that blood? I said, I don’t think it’s blood but juice from the meat you’re buying. Again, I didn’t say one word about how disgusting that is, or what a potential health hazard it is, or inquire about her feelings toward the innocent cow that gave its life to appear in her shopping cart or lecture her in any way about all manner of evil represented by that styrofoam tray full of flesh & muscle.

Not one word.

Fat lot of good all my restraint did me.

When Thomas had yet to appear with the holy grail of cookies, I jokingly told Ms. Crazy that I would give her a dollar if it would help speed up her checkout. She didn’t think I was one bit funny, and told me to, and I quote, “Shut the F*%# up.”

Yes, you read that right. She told me to shut up AND used the F word. In the grocery store.


That is some serious insanity.

I was stunned, for sure. I kept my cool and told her that she had no right to speak to me, or anyone else, like that. She replied in a nasty sneering way, “Oh  no! Did I offend you? I doubt it.”

Ok. Right. I’m not even sure how to respond to that, so I took a step back and said, ok, back off, I was just joking anyway. She yelled something about how Randalls needs to fix the computer and correct the price right because what’s going to happen when the next person comes along and has the same problem? I told her I’m not real concerned about the next person, because hopefully by then I’ll be home and have my groceries unloaded and be on to the next task.

Well, Ms. Crazy didn’t like my answer one bit. Not one bit. She screeched at me (yes, she really screeched), “You’re in your Sugar Land bubble and just want everyone to hurry up, get out of your way because you’re next.”

I’ve often joked about the Sugar Land bubble, where all the kids are above-average thinkers, the moms all have perfect figures and keep a perfect house, the dads all have high-paying jobs and coach Little League and everyone drives a gas-guzzling SUV. God Bless Sugar Land.

But I’ve never suggested that the “Sugar Land bubble” entitles me to preferential treatment.  So there, Crazy Lady.

After she screeched at me, I held up my hands as if to say, Ok, whatever, and to signal my official disengagement. Thomas had returned with the offending cookies by this time, and it was time for Ms. Crazy to pay for her cartload of processed, trans-fat-laden crap. And she didn’t even have her credit card out, ready to swipe.

I swear, some people. Sure lady, hold up the entire line so you can get your cookies and be unprepared to transact business. Egads.

But that’s not all — when Ms. Crazy finally got around to digging her credit card out of her wallet, she suggested my shopping cart was in her way. And she said, “Move your cart or I will move it for you.” Wow, again. I asked her if she was threatening me, and she said it sure sounded like it. So I decided to treat her like the child whose behavior she was modeling and said, “As soon as you ask nicely, I will happily move my cart.”

Ms. Crazy clearly doesn’t like people who establish boundaries. She told me to move my f-ing cart and then she shoved the cart a little bit. Pathetic.

I really wondered about the right parting shot. I chose to let it lie and didn’t say anything, but I kinda wish I would have told her how sad it must be to be her. Or that it’s not nice to talk to people that way. Or that there’s lots of good mental help available, even without comprehensive insurance.

After she left, Pat the cashier apologized to me, and Thomas said the Ms. Crazy comes in there all the time and is always like that. I joked to them both that if she was waiting for me in the parking lot, I was going to call the police. They took me seriously, though, and Pat made sure I had my cell phone and asked Thomas to walk me to my car!

And people say nothing exciting ever happens in the suburbs.

10 tips

So I’m getting groceries, minding my own business and trying to get on with my so-called normal life (as normal as life can be after breast cancer but before reconstruction), and I see a pamphlet titled “10 Tips for Getting a Mammogram.” This ought to be good.

Tip #1: “Yearly mammograms are recommended starting at age 40 and should be done every year for as long as a woman in in good health.” And if you’re not in good health? More often? Less often? That kind of construction bugs me.

Tip #5: “Try not to schedule a mammogram when your breasts are likely to be tender, as they may be just before or during your period. This will help lessen the discomfort.” Really? They think that’s going to help? I say try to schedule a mammogram after slamming 3 grande margaritas to help lessen the discomfort. But then I remember that I have neither breasts nor periods anymore, so I guess I can go straight to the margaritas.

Tip #8: “Only you and the technologist who positions your breasts will be present for the mammogram. Most technologists are women.” Most technologists are women? Now I’m really curious about the ones who are men. What percentage? Do women complain about having a male do their mammo? Is there a support group for male mammo techs? Are they cute?

Tip #9: “The entire procedure should take about 20 minutes. Your breasts will be compressed between 2 plastic plates. The compression may be painful, but should only last a few seconds.” I could make a smarty-pants comment about how long the pain of a mastectomy lasts but I’m not even going to go there. I will tell you it’s more than a few seconds.