The Great Maceys Debacle

So there I was!

Maceys Parking lot. Patiently waiting. Blinker on.

The timing had been perfect. I had done the loop once searching for that just-right spot to park - one that would fit my very large (very awesome) rental van, one that was close enough to the store that hauling Wyatt in and Groceries out wouldn't be a hassle, and far enough away that we wouldn't get stuck in the storefront traffic/pedestrian jam on attempted exit.

Then, there it was. The holy grail of parking spots. Two spots down from the first cart return. Close to the store. Close enough to the cart return to make shopping-cart-responsibility a snap, but with a nice one-car buffer to prevent rogue-cart sabotage to my big shiny van.

An elderly couple (he in his fedora, she in her broached cardigan) was just pulling their classic Oldsmobile from the spot, which pretty much sealed the deal for me.

I had to have it.

I put on my blinker, the universal signal that I had staked my claim, and patiently waited for the Oldsmobile to complete its careful maneuvering.

Then! Just as I took my foot off the brake - you guessed it - a small blue clunker swerved from out of nowhere and screeched into my spot.

I sat there, mouth agape for a moment. Did that really just happen?

My sense of justice had been crossed. The scene from Fried Green Tomatoes where Evelyn Couch deliberately and repeatedly crashes her SUV into the slick sports car that hijacked her parking spot popped into my brain. "Ladies, I'm older and have better insurance."

"I can't believe they just did that," I said loudly, yet lightly - because such moments of unjust frustration must be made audible, but I had a MonkeyFish in the back seat. "I can't believe they stole my spot. I was patient, I had my blinker on, I was clearly waiting! That is just unbelievably rude."

To which Wyatt's sweet voice responded from the back, "Mommy is sad?"

"No, Wyatt. Mommy isn't sad. She's frustrated!"

"You're not frustrated."

"Yes, I am. I most definitely am frustrated."

"You're not sad! You're happy!"

And I allowed it to roll off my shoulders. "Yes, Wyatt, I'm happy. See? Mommy is happy. We'll just park somewhere else." And, under my breath as we passed the little blue clunker, "ya yardbird!"

And as our luck would have it, the stars aligned a second time and we parked in the second most perfect spot, which happened to also be right in front of the little blue clunker. I was feeling pretty good about our fortune as I worked on unharnessing my son from his complicated car seat. "can I ride in a car cart, mom?"

"Sure, buddy, if they have one to ride in, you can ride in it."

Wyatt laughed in delight - and there was a commotion by the little blue clunker.

A man ran his shopping cart of goods to the blue clunker and nearly crashed into the trunk he was in such a hurry. A blonde woman appeared from seemingly nowhere at the other side of the trunk, but she turned away from it and instead looked to be very interested in the tire of the SUV parked next to it.


They were acting so bizarre that even Wyatt got quiet and just watched them.

They can't be done shopping already, I thought. Maybe this isn't the same blue clunker that stole my spot.

Then the Maceys brigade approached from the other side of my van. "Excuse me, sir," asked a woman in her shiny Macey's apron armor. "Do you have a receipt for that?"

The blonde woman stared even more intently at the tire, refusing to look at her accusers. The man just stared at the Macey's woman and the two bagging boys who stood tall behind her. "Are you going to answer me?" she asked in a pleasant but no-nonsense tone.

My annoyance with their parking-spot hijacking and my confusion toward their odd behavior was replaced by a feeling of equal parts pity and unrighteous justification. I felt sad for them and their obvious desperation, I felt embarrassed for them and the awkward spot they were in, now. But under all that, I also felt like waving a wild finger at them and saying, "Ahah! That's what you get!"

The man mumbled something.

"You don't have a receipt." the Macey's woman said, and I detected genuine pity in her voice.

I discovered that I didn't want to make a spectacle of the couple. They had tried to shoplift my favorite grocery store. They weren't getting away with it. That was enough for me. So I stopped 'fumbling' with Wyatt's carseat, loaded him into my arms, and headed in to the store.

I got as far as the carts in the entry way of the store, and patrons and employees alike were talking about the scandal. This kind of news sure travels fast!

"Car cart, mom!"

I wiped down the unruly blue car-shaped cart, deposited the boy behind the wheel, and made my way into the store - away from their business and back to mine.

But I couldn't help thinking aloud to Wyatt (who was making car sounds and cared about little else), "Well! They certainly stole more than my parking spot!"

Post edit: apparently it's an epidemic!


Ro Ro Riot said...

Wow. It's not every day you witness something like that. I'm glad you didn't tackle them, though.

MikkSolo said...

I LOVE that scene in Fried Green Tomatoes! I secretly wish I had the guts to do something like that!


Nae said...

I've never seen Fried Green Tomatoes, but I laugh like I've seen it because I've heard it described so many times.
That's quite the debacle! Now you can teach your children once they get old enough to drive that stealing parking spots can lead to stealing other things, which can in turn ruin their day, and they'll become marvelously polite drivers. Not that I was worried that they wouldn't be. :)

Philip and Mandy said...

Oh my goodness, as I was reading this post I was thinking "Fried Green Tomatoes!"... and the next paragraph you quoted it. Ha ha.