I’ve done a couple of late night grocery outings this week as I’ve prepared for a quilt luncheon and a book club dinner. Every time I’m in a grocery store late at night, I remember another late night grocery run I made several years ago when the kids were small. I used to love to go shopping after they were all in bed (which was usually close to midnight). (Putting 3 kids in a basket at a grocery store was never my idea of a good time.)
On that particular night, the store was almost empty. I took a basket, and started my leisurely stroll through every aisle, without children. It was heaven . . . until I started noticing how gritty the floor was. Oh my, I thought, with disgust, wondering if they ever swept the floors. The longer I strolled, the more disgusted I became. Every single aisle felt filthy. My heavenly shopping outing became frustrating and uncomfortable as I grew more and more angry at the apparent mis-management in that particular store.
By the time I’d gone up and down every single aisle, then made my way to the check-out, I had determined not to return to that store next time I needed groceries. Then I started putting my items on the conveyer belt, one after the next. At the bottom of my basket was a 5 lb. bag of granulated sugar. As I lifted it up out of the basket and onto the belt, a steady stream of sugar fell from a good sized whole in the bottom of the bag. I stared at the hole and at the sugar that had pooled into a pyramid under my cart at my feet. I’m sure my face went red as I realized where the grit I’d been walking on (through the entire store) came from.
I was mortified and told the cashier what I had just done. She was gracious and kind, and she laughed saying it was good this happened at the end of the day just before closing when the cleaning crews came in to clean the floors. I left the store with not quite five pounds of sugar, and a determination to withhold judgement when I didn’t know the whole story (which is always).
I thought about that bag of sugar this week as I walked though the grocery store without children. Things are not always what they seem.