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Sunday, February 07, 2010

Snow Crazy

Snow Crazy

I hail from much warmer parts of this fine country. I grew up in Louisiana, went to college in Alabama (Roll Tide...) In those places, a threat of snow warrants a huge response. After all - no one ever talks about the snow removal budget in Bossier City, Louisiana, because there is no snow removal budget in Bossier City, Louisiana. Nor are there any snow plows.

I can remember way back in 1993 when a winter storm swept through Alabama and dumped a foot of snow on us. We were stuck in our house for nearly a week without power or water. People in the deep south just aren't prepared for big snows.

Understandably. That big storm was 17 years ago...and hasn't been repeated since.

When there is a threat of snow in the southern parts of the United States, people head out to stock up on milk and bread and other staples out of necessity. They don't know when they'll get to a store again. They have to be prepared. They get a little crazy...

Understandably. There's also very little walking to the stores going on, especially in the more rural areas.

I always assumed that here, near the Mason-Dixon line, things were different. They HAVE snow removal budgets AND equipment. They have huge beehive shaped storage sheds for salt and sand. They have huge dump trucks with snow plows on the front. They know how to handle the snow. Here in Arlington, I can walk to the grocery store a block away if I run out of milk or toilet paper or whatever.

On Thursday, however, I found out a little differently. The boys and I went out Thursday morning to do our weekend shopping, thinking we would beat whatever crowds might be developing later during the day as school let out and people left work. I did intend to stock up on milk, because I have two growing (G R O W I N G) boys that go through a gallon faster than I can buy one. I needed a few other things to round out the menu as well.

We went to Target first, and it wasn't too bad. We got the non-food items on our list, and a couple of food ones, and had they had any milk (besides that dratted chocolate soy) I probably would have been done for the morning. But, they didn't, so we headed to Safeway to finish up.

The parking lot was already packed, so I left the boys in the car and ran in on my own. I grabbed a hand basket and went back to the dairy section and grabbed a couple of gallons of milk. I added one or two other items and went to the front of the store to check out...

There were 4 cashiers and 9 million people in line.

I grabbed a spot and settled in for a long winter's nap.

And then I was entertained completely for the next few minutes while the official store announcement lady had a nervous breakdown.

"Attention: all available personnel! We need everyone to come to the front of the store. I don't care if you are a cashier, a stock person or a bagger, you need to come up front. We have got all these people up in here because of the storm prediction and it is crazy. We have got to open up some more lanes right now...you know they closed that Seven Corners store and all those people have come over here to get their groceries because of that winter storm prediction and they are crowded up in the front of this store and we have got to have some help up in here..."

I could hear the panic in her voice.

This went on for a few minutes...an announcement...a moment of silence, where I assumed she was collecting herself...another announcement.

Then...another announcement. This one was very calm.

It was also made by a completely different person.

"Attention: all cashiers. Please come to the front and open your register. Thank you."

I'm afraid someone may have been put on administrative leave.

I paid for my small basket of goods and headed out to the parking lot as this announcement by the same calm voice was aired...

"Attention: customers. We recognize that due to the large crowd there are very few shopping carts available...if you need a shopping cart...(the voice was growing more stressed)...then we suggest...you go stand in the parking lot ...and wait for one."

I have a feeling it was a very long day at the Safeway...