It had been several years since I had shopped for the holidays in a town any larger than Grand Island. However, with the move - well I had new shopping territory.
This past weekend - before the Arctic Express rolled in - my guy and I traveled to the 50 minutes to St. Joe. St. Joseph isn't a little town and despite the boat load of people and the traffic, our attitudes were surprisingly good. We had good roads coming into St. Joe but when we got on the Belt - well - the traffic was a good indication that we would spend a good deal of time 'waiting' at stop lights. The norm on Saturday was waiting for two to three rotations of the 'green-means-go' lights prior to being able to travel along the Belt to the next stop light and/or destination.
Our first stop was Lowe's. It was busy and you could tell people were on missions. Luckily we found what we needed quite handily. We even saw some people we knew!
Then we were off to the outdoor mall at the north end of the Belt. We were able to get in and out of Borders - no problem - despite the ubber long check out line. Apparently most of those shoppers were in a zone and didn't hear a clerk that said -she was opening up the back register. I just went there and was out of there lickety -split. We even got in and out of Target - to get printer ink. Can anyone tell me why printer ink runs dry just before the holidays. Always!
We then traveled to East Hills Mall which is south on the Belt. There had been major renovations there all fall but more parking was open and many of the renovations were nearing completion. The upgrades do make for a nice venue.
However the mistake of the day was going to the smelly lotion store. It was packed - literally you could not turn around without having to excuse yourself for bumping into someone. I needed a generic gift for this week and decided I could find something there. I did. A nice little sample package that was a ready to go and even came with a nice ribbon and bow. It was also a percentage off. Super I thought. I picked one up and moved over a bit on the same table.
Now here is the story - I sat the box down in front of me to look at another item on the table. As I was looking at another gift set and I was standing right up to the display - an elderly lady with her arms full and a store clerk came right up beside me - the lady asked the clerk - where were there more of those? - as she pointed to MY gift sampler box. Then it happened - the clerk reached right around in front of me and handed MY box to the gal.
Now, I whipped around - speechless. Which most of you know - does not happen often. The older lady asked the clerk - are there more of these?
Well - I had found my voice by then - I said rather loudly - "there are more of them over here" - while I reached over without moving and grabbed another box - and not missing another beat - said - "just like the one I had in front of me that I was going to purchase" - as I stared down the clerk.
Apparently the older lady was oblivious to what I had just said. The clerk wasn't because I could tell by her expression but she didn't say ANYTHING to me expect she started into her spiel about what was on sale. The other customer walked right round me and went for more of the gift boxes. Apparently I was lucky to get the second one. The other customer even had the gall to ask the clerk if she could switch the bottles that were packaged in the box. I knew then I had to get out of there!
Now - I thought for about half a second about NOT purchasing the second gift box - but I decided that was a good gift and I usually don't have such experiences at the smelly lotion store.
I went to the register to make my purchase - a different clerk than my box stealing one - rang up my purchases. She told me the total and I questioned the total stating I thought the sign said the gift box was 30 percent off. The clerk looked like she was going to argue with me - incredible - when the clerk next to her stepped in and said - yes those are on sale that I was correct and she instructed the clerk how to correct the total.
It was time to go home. The only consolation was filling up the gas tank in Wathena for a $1.49. Oh the joy!