Monday, January 23, 2012

Frozen in the Soup Aisle

Today I am back in Springfield and have presentations for the next six days, but today's story goes back to Saturday when I took a trip to Target to buy food. First, I learned a lesson about going grocery shopping. Whatever you do, do not go shop for groceries first thing in the morning when you're hungry. I seemed to buy a lot more of everything.

As much as I'd like to talk about purchasing habits this blog, or rather this post, is not about that. Today's actual story occurred when I was in the soup area. Usually I spent as little time as possible in each area when shopping. I don't look at labels, prices, and I most certainly try and ignore everyone else in the store. Okay, shopping isn't my favorite thing in the world. Anyway, I was entering the soup aisle and there was one man in also shopping for soup. The way he had his cart parked made it difficult to look at the soups. On top of that he was directly in front of the soup I wanted.

No big problem, right? This man proceeded to stand in that spot for many minutes reading the labels and checking prices. I also think he had a calculator going on his phone along with looking at coupons that he had in his pocket. That was fine and saving money is always good, but he sort of had a barricade to the soups. What did I do? Did I say, "excuse me?" and grab my soups and run? Nope. I did the only thing my body would let me do; I stood.

This was a most awkward situation because all I wanted was what I couldn't reach. I'm one to never say, "excuse me" because I see that as the rudest thing possible. In my mind it is less rude to reach around a person that it is to speak to a stranger. Perhaps I am reflecting my beliefs onto everyone else, but there is nothing more intrusive than a stranger saying hello or excuse me.

So yes, the only thing I did was stand with my eyes looking at an opposite direction with just the outer extent of my peripheral vision being able to see the other soup shopper. As soon as I stood in this position I was frozen in it. I couldn't move and I felt paralyzed. I know this was such a simple task and now it was turning into a nightmare.

A minute or two went by and I was still in this pickle. With each passing second I thought I could muster the courage to get that soup, but each time I was close I realized that between the cart, and the man, the journey there was far too great for me to get through.

As another 30 seconds went by I realized just how difficult this situation was for me. I mean, 24 hours prior I was giving a presentation on a stage for over 50 people without any issues at all. And yet, the process of getting a couple cans of soup was proving to be too much.

Finally, after another 15 seconds or so, the man found the best mathematical formula to make the most economic purchase and he proceeded to buy something like 30 cans of soup. As soon as he made his last grab at the cans he left the area and he seemed, like everyone else, oblivious to my presence and the plight I was going through. With the man gone I got my soup and left, but for those about three minutes I was scared and all but paralyzed in place. I always find it amazing on just how fast a situation like that can arise and when they do I wish I could be anywhere but there.


  1. My daughter is the same way. Our next door neighbor has yard sales every week and my daughter loves to go over and be a "sales lady." She can point people into the direction of all the different goodies they could possibly want. But this very same little girl stands frozen when asked, "how are you today?" by a stranger in a different setting. It always amazes me how she can be so outgoing in one area and so withdrawn in another.

  2. This is another instance I would have asked myself in your shoes, "What would my mom/dad/sister/friend (assuming they have decent social skills) do?" That sometimes can help you get unstuck because you are now approaching the problem in another way.

  3. I pretend to look at the other stuff on the shelves until they move. But in my head, I'm like, "MOVE!!!!!"