I’m sure it hasn’t escaped anyone’s attention that I often have a tendency to discuss the weekly pilgrimages to Publix I make in the company of my mother; she does about 95% of her shopping there because she became a fan of the outfit when they first opened up a store in Savannah, GA and has been a regular customer ever since. Speaking only for myself, I honestly have no allegiance to any grocery store in particular—but for the most part my weekly trips to Publix are always pleasurable, and most of the people that work there know both me and my mother by now…you know the old TV saw about going “where everybody knows your name.”
Two weeks ago, the friendly relationship between me and the popular grocery chain experienced a brief rift that almost necessitated counseling; but I’m pleased to report that everything worked out for the best and is back to normal. The rough patch involved an item that was mentioned in Publix’s weekly circular two weeks back; they had a BOGO (buy one, get one [free]) special on Original Rangoon’s Bacon Wrapped Scallops and having had these temptingly tasty delicacies several times in the past, I thought it was a pretty good deal. They’re normally available at Publix for $7.99 a box (and there are only 10 in there, so you can see they’re a tad pricey) but if you luck onto a deal where you get an extra box, you have to admit it’s pretty sweet. Half-off $7.99 is…um…er…hang on a sec, I can’t get the calculator…well, damn it…well, anyway, it’s a pretty neat deal.
Unfortunately for me, I tried to capitalize on this deal when Mom and I went to Publix on September 4th—a Friday—and what’s worse, it was the first day of the Labor Day weekend. You see, as a rule, we normally go shopping on Wednesdays…but that’s trash pickup day, and my mother is a bit nervous about driving over to my place since the time she nearly “took out” my neighbor’s garbage can. So we then moved it to Thursdays, and then eventually settled on Fridays as Grocery Day.
What I usually do in anticipation of Grocery Day is check Publix’s online circular to see what specials they’re offering that week and in this particular instance I was excited because they had these scallops on sale…and the last two times they offered them at the BOGO price they ran out of them before I could buy them. Well, the same thing happened again and while I really wasn’t what you would call pissed off, this ritual was getting sort of monotonous. So I asked the guy at the seafood counter: “Do you guys ever carry these, or is it just something to get me in the store?”
Seafood Guy was very apologetic. And honest to my grandma, I wasn’t busting his chops or anything—it’s just that it seemed an awfully big coinky-dink that they never had this item in stock (which I certainly can understand, since they are delicious) when Mom and I came a-shopping. (Either that or I’m just the unluckiest person that ever lived—and that is certainly a possibility not to be lightly dismissed.) He tells me that they honestly and truly had them in the store yesterday and they simply ran out. He even went into “the back” to see if there might possibly be some more boxes that were overlooked (I asked him not to go, since I did believe him), but came back empty-handed.
So I ask Seafood Guy if I could get a “rain check.” He says, no problem, just go up to the front to the customer service desk and explain to them the situation. Which I ended up doing, and the lady at the desk was most accommodating, putting the rain check in my fat little hand. The week after, we went to Publix for groceries…but alas, they didn’t have the scallops in stock. I began to suspect that it might be because of our switching the shopping to Fridays, and in fact, when I called Mom this week to see when she was wanting to go, I responded to her “How’s Friday sound?” with “I am never gonna get those scallops.”
But all things come to those who wait, and they had them in stock this morning, so I got to use my rain check. And brother—there’s no exaggeration about that term, either. We had just gotten into the check-out line when I glanced out Publix’s front doors and saw that it was raining felines and canines. This didn’t come as any great shock, because we’ve been having inclement weather all week; I was beginning to wonder if I’d ever see the sun again. So I turn to Mom and say: “Here’s the game plan…I’ll take my groceries out to the car (I had gone through the line first) and put them in the trunk, and then I’ll come back for yours.”
Yes, you heard right—chivalry is not dead…though I can understand why it’s on life support because after taking my bags out to the car and then coming back for Mom’s and putting them in the car, I was soaked to the skin. As I got into the passenger seat, she turns to look at me and says after a pause: “A little damp outside, isn’t it?” “Yeah, it’s a bit moist,” was my reply.
I decided this evening to fix a box of these scallops for dinner even though I experienced a brief lack of faith beforehand; I thought to myself: “What if these aren’t as good as I remember them?” Fortunately, the habits of the Half-Assed Gourmand are those of a lifetime; I enjoyed every bite of the splurged-upon dinner, and may be able to convince myself later that it was well worth the soaking I received.