Yeah, it was me

Did you ever notice how the merchandising war in the supermarket has gotten increasingly out of hand? It started years ago with that first cardboard cutout of Mr. Whipple and the dingbat squeezing the Charmin.

Then, before you knew it, there were bottle openers and chip clips hanging from the shelves just precariously enough that if you brushed by they would sway back and forth, while you held your breath to see if they'd fall.

Then the "Route Merchandisers" got even more brazen. They started stacking the boxes 13 deep instead of 12, so they would protrude just enough that you would grab their brand first. Same with cans. But that wasn't enough. So they developed the shelf organizer for soup cans with the pretty full color display. "Buy me!" they screamed silently. And you would gently reach forward and slowly lift the can from the neat stack and suddenly in a whoosh they'd all come tumbling down. And yes, everyone in the aisle turned and stared, you turned red, then turned tail and ran.

Not anymore. If you're like me, after awhile you became immune to the ruckus caused by your occasional shopping faux pas. Quite frankly, I'm too old to give a hoot.

So yes, today, it was me in the refrigerated pudding aisle. I grabbed the jello, perched way too close to the pudding and sure enough I took the pudding down. Way down. Smashing to the floor down. Exploding on impact down. Brown goo everywhere, I turned, contemplated the ruins on the floor, calmly picked up what was left intact, and placed it back on the shelf. I left the mess on the floor. I didn't turn red. I didn't turn and run. I simply kept shopping. Like I said. Immune.

Then I got to the cereal aisle. I wanted the special K, but not the one on the middle shelf they conveniently placed so I'd grab it. I wanted the one on the top shelf, roughly 6 feet off the ground, or, in laymen's terms, a foot higher than me. My arm didn't quite reach. Back in the Ice Age, before responsible packaging, those 15 boxes that came crashing down would have landed with no more than a thud. But in today's world, where manufacturers who use recycled packaging seem to think that recycled glue is also necessary, those boxes were nothing but mulch when they hit the floor, scattering 150,000 pieces of cereal straight down that recently waxed and shiny floor. Probably safer to walk on.

Now I am certainly not taking the blame for the air popped oat chip bags at the checkout. Look, I've got a cart full of groceries blocking my view, and they've got a rickety, poorly made rack of chips blocking my path. You tell me who's winning that battle. On second thought, I'll tell you. As I told the clerk when I handed her fifteen little bags and said "I'm not buying these. They just seemed to come flying at me." Now this is a woman I see often at the store. "Why don't you want them." she asked. "Cause they probably taste like cardboard," I replied. "But more importantly, because they pissed me off when they got in my way. And speaking of in the way, I should tell you there was some pudding in my way in Aisle 13. And some cereal in 3. So if you should come across a bit of a mess back there, it was me, and furthermore, I am not ashamed."

Remember people, there are cameras everywhere in virtually every store. They are watching us and they know when we trash the place. So from now on, don't be embarrassed. Be proud. It's our 15 seconds of fame, or in my case 15 minutes. Whether you are in a clothing store knocking everything off the hangers, or at the Farmer's Market making Tomato Sauce out of the Organic Vine Ripened Display...when you get to the checkout, just say, "Yeah. It was me." Then Smile, give a little wave and a wink, and make a beeline for the door.

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