The following is my firsthand account of the happenings this afternoon at a local supermarket that is always busy. Most of you in Londonderry, Derry, Windham, Hudson, Salem, Lawrence, Lowell and the better part of New England know the place, so there’s no need to use names here. Market Basket.
Like many of you, I arrived at this busy supermarket to find the parking lot FULL. I’m not one for shopping for parking spaces, so like many folks, I just parked at the Exit 4 Park and Ride, and hiked in.
Once I got inside, it appeared to be the busiest day of the year, and I racked my brain as to why this might be. I shared my lighthearted wonderings on Twitter:
Still curious as to what was going on, I wove my way from the entrance, past the cheese, butter, OJ, and dairy to the deli counter. Here, something was different. There were a hundred people at the deli counter. The air was tense. There was the smell of meat. (And three bean salad.) My stomach grumbled.
People were acting oddly. I felt my skin prickle. Was that a low moan? Without warning, everyone spoke up at once. They all were ordering… brains. Then, in great haste, they lept over the counter. Clearly, the Honey Ham was not going to be a big seller. I ran.
I darted past the Asian specialties, stopping momentarily to inspect the extensive selection. Wow! Fish sauce! Something grabbed my arm. Wheeling around, I realized the Asian specialties are across from the… bacon. Bad place to be! I broke free and dashed down the aisle.
Cutting across the front of the aisles to the paper goods, I found a place to rest. My breath was coming hard. My chest heaved. My pocket buzzed:
It was @SidewalkSigns! They’re a local business that sells these neat A-frame signs. sidewalkflyer.com OK… so @SidewalkSigns and I would be meeting afterwards to help Hank Peterson put up a new maple sign at Peterson Sugar House. I’d only dropped by Hank’s moments ago to remind him of the meeting, on my way here. That… seemed like a thousand years ago. My heart pounded. I replied, and looked up from my phone just as a zombie lunged at me. “Brraaaiins!” Dodging to the left, I ran back towards the chicken, which seemed appropriate.
Here, at the long refrigerator cases in the back, I found chicken livers, calves livers, tripe. You know what is displayed with THAT stuff. The case was littered with empty packages, ripped open. Teeth marks in the styrofoam. Juice… ugh. I couldn’t look. Turned to run. Slipped and fell. Got up ran into a cart being pushed by a soccer mom. A cart filled with… whoa. Yecch! THAT’S where the packages went! I backed up and swiftly maneuvered around the chicken-on-special island, shedding zombie tacklers as I went. It was an exhilarating moment. I felt my spirit and hopes rise. I actually felt like doing a Tebow. Then I remembered what team he went to. Not wanting his fate, I scrambled, trying to be more like Gronkowski. My ankle hurt. The PA system roared to life, scaring me nearly out my skin.
“WELCOME TO MARKET BASKET, WHERE YOU ALWAYS GET THE BEST PRICE!”
The PA was deafening! I flinched with every word. Interestingly enough, so did the zombies. One of them croaked,” Does it always have to be that loud?” I nearly commiserated, but he lunged, grabbing at my head. I ducked, swerved and ran toward the veggies, tapping on my phone and tucking foam plugs in my ears. (Look. I don’t like loud places. I keep ear plugs in my pocket. That’s not weird!)
In the produce section, I made my greatest find. Zombies hate Brussels sprouts. According to the leading authority on Brussels sprouts, Wikipedia, its spelled with an “S”, so if you say Brussel sprouts, you’re incorrect. And February is pronouced, Feh-brew-wary. Anyways… back to my new weapon. There were enough unsold Brussels sprouts that I had lots of ammunition. I didn’t even have to throw the stuff – just hold it up and they were repelled. I backed deeper into the Produce Section, past the organic veggies and… look! MORE Brussels sprouts! I gathered those and ran. I was going to beat those devils and complete my shopping if it killed… well… you know that wasn’t the idea.
Emerging with my cart from Produce, I suddenly found I’d been ignored. The zombies had been repelled by the Brussels sprouts, especially the organic Brussels sprouts, and had momentarily lost interest in me. As I rounded the corner by the bakery, I saw I had a new problem. Fortunately, I had a plan.
Shopping carts were five deep in every checkout line. Zombies pushing carts everywhere. All the carts were filled with various types of meat, mostly brains and a fair amount of $4.99/lb rib eyes too. Big special that day. Everyone likes rib eyes.
With their hunger for meat sated, the zombies were lining up and being checked out systematically. They still ignored me. My cart was filled with veggies. Sure, I had picked up some of those rib eyes, some chicken quarters and a pound of bacon, but I had buried them under lettuce, broccoli, zucchini and Brussels sprouts. My thought was, if I remained quiet, they’d leave me alone. I gathered my courage, and pushed my cart towards checkout.
Looking around, there were 6 zombies with about 37 items each in the Express line. Nobody was objecting. After all, they’d eaten the floor manager and the coffee counter crew. One had taken over at the counter and was politely ringing up groceries for the other zombies. At Market Basket, the coffee counter frequently takes overflow from the Express lanes, as long as you don’t have produce.
My heart still thumped in my chest. Choosing the right checkout line was critical. Careful consideration, and… there was my spot! I shook my head. Could it be real?
“Imagine that,” I thought. “A checkout lane with $1.99 knives for sale. $2 off!” That was over half off! With the opportunity to purchase extra defense without overextending my credit card, I relaxed. Not only were there knives for my lane, but there was another item that was keeping the zombies to the other lanes: “6 Hour Energy” bottles. 6 Hour? 4? 7? I can’t remember. I just know that the zombies were scooping those things up like mad, even fighting over them.
Checkout was impressive. Five carts deep, every lane. From start to finish it only took me 28 minutes to do my shopping, including the six minutes to get checked out. Zombie apocalypse or not, those kids can run a register! I was impressed, and apparently, so were other shoppers:
A quick reply to Charlie, then I loaded up and started to work on getting out of the parking lot. I looked at the cars. The exit. My watch. Yeah. I was going to miss that meeting at Peterson’s…
Recent research by a major Medical Journal has revealed why those “6 Hour Energy” bottles are so popular. In the 70s, there was a movie about a popular cracker called “Soylent Green”. It starred Charlton Heston, who begat Charlise Theron, hence the similarity in their names, but I digress. “6 hour Energy” is actually a liquid reformulation of Soylent Green. The reason zombies prefer this stuff should be obvious. Soylent Green ingredients: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Sp-VFBbjpE Keep this in mind when your teenagers come home with the stuff.
April Fools! Hope you enjoyed the above, which is dedicated to my wife, Carol Mack. You see, Carol knows that the story is a fabrication. She knows I can’t possibly complete a trip to any supermarket in less than 90 minutes…