I got paid to buy groceries this week. (Total fluke, totally true.)
Thursday was what we refer to as a “Free Day”; Miller and I had nothing on the agenda all day long. Mid morning, I pulled out ingredients to make beef vegetable soup only to discover that we were out of frozen veggies. Typical. Thankfully we live two minutes from the grocery store.
Believe it or not, I enjoy grocery shopping with Miller, especially when we aren’t rushed. On a Free Day, the grocery store becomes more of an outing somewhat akin to the Children’s Museum.
Just as I put Miller in the cart with the frozen food section in mind, he requested to go to produce. We wound up naming every single fruit and vegetable in the joint, including what Miller refers to as “green lemons” (aka limes).
During our leisurely stroll, we collected a few extra items. Berries, cereal, paper towels, and milk made their way into the cart along with some bags of frozen vegetables.
As Miller unloaded our purchases onto the conveyer belt – “Mommy, don’t touch the groceries, I’ll do it!” – I asked the cashier about her grandson. The bagger gathered my purchases. I inserted my credit card into the chip reader.
Meanwhile, another woman got in line behind me. I recognized her from a music class that our children were in last year. When we exchanged hellos, I couldn’t help but notice that her cart was heaping in an I’m-shopping-for-the-month-without-my-kids kind of way.
The bagger placed my four bags into the cart next to Miller, and we said our thanks and goodbyes to all three ladies.
On our way out we spotted some good friends, Alli and her daughter Meredith, in the next checkout line. I pulled our cart aside and picked up my buddy Meredith to say hello.
Alli’s cart was pretty full – not quite as full as the gal’s was behind me in line, but probably a couple of week’s worth of grub. I put Meredith in our cart and walked with Alli to her car.
While Alli loaded her groceries in the trunk and the kids compared stickers, the bagger came outside looking for me.
“Ma’am, there was a mistake. Your transaction wasn’t finalized inside; your card just got charged for your groceries and for the woman’s groceries behind you. You’re going to have to come back inside so we can straighten it out.”
This is the point that some people might get frustrated or annoyed by the inconvenience. I didn’t care, because, as I said, it was a Free Day and we had nowhere else to be. It’s lucky, actually, otherwise we would’ve been in the car and long gone before the mistake was discovered.
Back inside, I met the bagger at customer service where she studied a receipt nearly as long as Miller is tall. She felt bad about the ordeal and didn’t want to take even more of our time voiding all eleventy-hundred-and-thirty items individually.
To speed up the process, she tallied some numbers in attempt to figure out how to key in a $263.21 refund to my card, but couldn’t get it exact. Instead, she credited me $264.72.
Now to repurchase my groceries.
She looked at my bags and said, “You know what, forget it. You can have the groceries.”
I protested, because I really didn’t mind. Mistakes happen, and we had nowhere else to be.
“No,” she said. “It should never have happened in the first place. Take your groceries. I’ll ring them up later off of the receipt to get inventory correct, and I’ll pay with them using a gift card. I’m so sorry for the inconvenience.”
How about that. Not only did I get free groceries, I technically got paid $1.51 to shop.
I love getting paid to shop.
I love taking things as they come.
I love not taking said things too seriously.
I love when mistakes create an improved reality.
And I love free groceries…almost as much as I love Free Days.