Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Holidays turn stores into obstacle courses

’Tis the season. Supermarkets love The Season. Our supermarket is a good one, all things considered; the staffers are always helpful, the selections are varied and the produce department is large and pretty good. The store provides handy little electric carts with big baskets on the front for those of us who find it difficult to shop on foot. Bless them for that. But during the busy holiday season (roughly early October through mid-January), it takes a nimble bumper-car mentality to maneuver the aisles. Unfortunately, actual bumping is frowned upon.

I always start at the right side of the store where all the carts are stored. The electric ones are plugged in next to the regular ones and the brightly colored plastic Kiddy Karts, which look like cars and are wide enough to carry two kids. They are often left blocking the aisles by mothers who forgot something and can't maneuver the cars to make a U-turn.

So I saddle up electric cart No. 3, unplug it and off I go to the produce section, dodging displays of pumpkins, gourds and winter squash of every sort. Why are those veggies on special display stands or decorative piles on the floor? Because they're Seasonal. There's no room for them on the regular display shelves, which are now occupied by 18 varieties of apples. Next to the apples in the formerly open aisles, there are now stands of caramel apples on sticks. If I make it through without toppling pumpkins or sticky apples, there is a hidden, flimsy little cardboard display lying in wait for me as I round the corner. It's stacked with little tins of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, mace and vanilla. They don't want me to forget these vital pumpkin and apple spices. I think I could crash that little display thingee just by looking at it. I live in fear that I'll hear "Clean up in produce" over the store speakers just after I pass.

Halloween went by without incident. With Thanksgiving, the pace — and the number of store displays — has picked up. Now there are cardboard turkeys with pleated-paper tails guarding the produce department. There's dried fruit spilling from cardboard cornucopias right next to a case of citrus fruit that my electric cart and I could easily get around last week. I'm forced to back up. My little cart beeps like a cement mixer truck in reverse.

By Christmas, I'll be dodging displays of holiday cards, candy, miniature Christmas trees, ornaments, stocking-stuffers and all things elf-ish. The flimsy, cardboard displays of pumpkin and apple spices will be joined by similarly vulnerable stands of red and green sprinkles, cookie cutters shaped like bells, fir trees and Santas. There are little packets of chopped nuts, too. How will I get through this holiday maze without leaving destruction in my wake or having an ugly encounter with a couple of screaming kids abandoned in a plastic Kiddy Kart? I'm stuck. I'm coming unglued. "Clean up on Aisle 5. Code Red!"

Sheila Stoll is happy to hear from readers but cannot respond to individual queries. Write her at PMB No. 309, 7904 E Chaparral Road, No. 110, Scottsdale, AZ 85250.

Holidays turn stores into obstacle courses 11/27/12 [Last modified: Tuesday, November 27, 2012 3:30am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Gators rally past Kentucky, streak hits 31

    Blogs

    LEXINGTON, Ky. — For the second week in a row, Florida found itself storming the field in a game that came down to the last second. A 57-yard field-goal attempt by Kentucky kicker Austin MacGinnis came just a few feet short of making history and snapping a 30-year losing streak, as the No. 20 Gators escaped a …

    Florida wide receiver Brandon Powell (4) scores a touchdown during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Kentucky, Saturday, Sept. 23, 2017, in Lexington, Ky.
  2. Pen makes it way too interesting as Rays hang on for 9-6 win

    Blogs

    A couple of home runs provided the news pegs of the night for the Rays, but it was more topical to talk about what nearly happened as they hung on for a 9-6 win over the Orioles.

    Lucas Duda's three-run homer in the third inning was the Rays' record-breaking 217th of the season, as well as his …

  3. An attempt to project what Rays will look like in 2018

    The Heater

    BALTIMORE — We know what the Rays look like this year: a team that had enough talent but too many flaws, in construction and performance, and in the next few days will be officially eliminated from a wild-card race it had a chance to win but let slip away.

    Adeiny Hechavarria, high-fiving Lucas Duda, seems likely to be brought back.
  4. Trump fallout: Bucs' DeSean Jackson to make 'statement' Sunday

    Bucs

    Bucs receiver DeSean Jackson said Saturday that he will make a "statement" before today's game against the Vikings in response to President Donald Trump's comment that owners should "fire" players who kneel in protest during the national anthem.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver DeSean Jackson (11) makes a catch during the first half of an NFL game between the Chicago Bears and Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla., on Sunday, Sept. 17, 2017.
  5. Kriseman invites Steph Curry to St. Pete on Twitter

    Blogs

    Mayor Rick Kriseman is no stranger to tweaking President Donald Trump on social media.

    Mayor Rick Kriseman took to Twitter Saturday evening to wade into President Donald Trump's latest social media scuffle