The offending item was dried cranberries. They were expensive, disgusting, and I was NOT going to bring them home with us.
My husband Andy and I have a game we occasionally play at the grocery store (because maturity is overrated). If Andy puts something in the cart that I don’t want, I try to sneak it out without him noticing (and vice versa). You might think, “Wow, how lame. That would be easy.” If you’re thinking that, you’ve clearly never played this game with Andy.
He knew I didn’t want the cranberries (first mistake on my part). He put them in the cart anyway. Game on.
It wasn’t two aisles later that he stopped, looked in the cart, and immediately started a frantic search. He found them by the peanut butter. “Nice try,” he said, “but you’re going down this time.”
I waited about ten minutes, and then I asked him to go get a can of corn that I forgot to pick up. While he was gone, I disposed of the cranberry bag. When he got back – you won’t believe this – he was carrying another bag of cranberries! He said, “I got the corn. Oh, and I picked up another bag of cranberries since I bet you just hid mine.” He looked in the cart and then let out a triumphant, “HA! GOT YOU! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!” People started looking at us weird.
A few minutes later, I successfully hid the new bag. We were on our way to check-out. I thought I might win…then he stopped us by a display of Jewish food for the Passover meal. “Wait a second,” he said suspiciously. “Let me check something.” Blast.
“Where are the cranberries?!” he asked.
I had hidden them long ago at that point, so they could have been anywhere. I threw my head back and let out a loud, “MUAHAHAHAHAHA!” Now people were really looking at us weird.
“Fine,” he said. He looked around. “Hey, we forgot to get matzo crackers for our Passover meal, didn’t we?” He grabbed a giant box of matzo crackers and added it to our groceries. It took up literally half of our cart. “And we should make sure we have enough,” he added. He put another box on top of that one.”
“What are you doing?!” I grabbed the box. “We’re not even Jewish.”
“We need more crackers!” he said. He put two more boxes on. The pile of cracker boxes was almost as tall as he could reach. “Tell me where the cranberries are, and I’ll stop adding crackers.” He grabbed another box.
“Okay, okay!” I surrendered. “The cranberries are in frozen foods. I forgot exactly where.” He immediately ran to frozen foods, like someone was going to see them and take his precious cranberries. I started putting matzo crackers back.
We finally got to the check out, and all of the items (including the cranberries) made it onto the belt. Andy got a text, and when he pulled out his phone I realized that this was it: my last chance. My buzzer shot. Now or never. I swiped the cranberries off the belt and put them by the magazine rack. The store was busy, and the people in line on both sides of the aisle must have thought I was nuts. He put his phone away. I smiled sweetly.
As Andy was bagging the groceries at the end of the aisle, he suddenly said, “Whoa…wait wait wait…where are the cranberries?!”
“I’m sure they’re in there,” I said. “Keep bagging. It’s busy in here.”
The Meijer employee spoke up. “Um…I don’t remember ringing up cranberries.”
Shoot. “I’m sure you did,” I said. “Seriously, you’re fine. Just keep ringing.”
“I’m not sure…” he said. “Well, maybe I did. I ring up a lot of stuff. I could have subconsciously rang them up and not noticed.”
“I’m sure that’s it.” I said.
“Hey! Who’s side are you on?!” screeched Andy to the teller. “Where are my cranberries!?” Andy was laughing, but the worker looked freaked out. He put his hands up in defense. “Hey, I’m totally biased here. Not on anyone’s side, I promise. I don’t know about the cranberries, I swear.”
(I ignored the fact that “biased” was not the correct word to use there). I felt bad for the guy, so finally I said, “Okay fine. I’ll get the cranberries.” But, astonishingly, in the two minutes of this exchange, someone grabbed the cranberries from where I left them by the magazines. I’m not kidding. There were a lot of people in there, so it could have been anyone. I started laughing. “They’re gone.” I said. “Seriously, I left them right there. I promise. They’re gone.” Swish! Buzzer shot was IN!
Andy laughed and threw his hands up in a “why me?” gesture. “FINE! I can’t believe you did that!” The awkward teller looked at us, thoroughly confused.
“So…should I keep ringing, or… um…are we still concerned about the cranberries?”
“Nah, you’re good man,” said Andy. “She won.” The confused teller finished ringing up our groceries.
A few days later, I bought the bag of cranberries and left it in the front seat of Andy’s car with a little heart taped to it. I bet they tasted pretty good, but there’s no way they tasted as good as my victory.