In an earlier post, I previously blogged about my affinity for Wegman’s Grocery Stores: it is an ongoing love affair between shopper and supermarket that has spanned the test of time for nearly 8 years. Wegman’s makes food even more exciting than it already is (how is that possible?!?), and I usually end up leaving the store with more in my cart than I intended to buy. Cinnamon pumpkin cream cheese?? Sure! Add it to my cart! Cranberry Spice Holiday bread?? Gladly purchased!
However, I also share a great deal of love for another Titan of the Supermarket Gods. If Wegman’s makes food more exciting, then Wal-Mart makes buying items you didn’t even know you needed more exciting. It is a clown car of random items that are, simultaneously, useful and cheap! (And typically, unnecessary…I mean, c’mon…did I really need to buy a Thanksgiving Pilgrim Hat for my dog? DON’T answer that.)
So, when I caught wind of a new Wal-Mart Super Center being built in our town, I was only too excited to make my initial pilgrimage to our shiny new Mecca. Of course, I had my reservations: would the new store’s status as a “Super Wal-Mart” detract from the items it offered? Would it be mobbed with holiday shoppers? And for God’s sake, would there still be an Ice-E machine?!?
If there’s a sucker born every minute, Wal-Mart saw me coming a mile away…
How sad is it that I couldn’t even get past the main entryway without spending ten dollars?!?
Chocolate covered cherries…winter mint Hershey Kisses…a holiday mix of Reese’s PB Cups…and last, but certainly not least…the timeless Christmas staple…Three Variety Tin of Popcorn.
Like I said, Wal-Mart had my money in its pockets before I even showered this morning. It has a dangerous pull over me…sort of like the Emperor’s control over Darth Vadar in Star Wars.
Despite my devotion to the Dark Side, I couldn’t help but feel a twinge of excitement when I saw all of the holiday displays. The holidays are almost here!, I thought. And it’s not inappropriate to feel excited now! It’s taboo to put Christmas trees up in October, but now, everything’s free game! It’s two weeks before Thanksgiving! I’m entitled to feel merry!
The debate about when it’s politically correct to put up Christmas decorations is a topic for a completely different blog post, but suffice it to say that, like alcohol, Twinkies, and in-laws: everything in moderation. And that goes double for my RAC for the day: introducing friends to chocolate covered cherries. These boxed wonders are a must-have during the holidays, and when I saw them sitting there, so unassuming on the shelf at Wal-Mart, I knew I had to share their deliciously gooey awesomeness with cast members at a rehearsal later in the day. Needless to say, I left that rehearsal with no chocolate cherries to call my own. It’s pretty amazing what food can do to lift a group’s spirits (not to mention their weight…moderation, moderation, moderation!).
On an unrelated note, dear reader, am I allowed to count an attempted RAC, even if it wasn’t fully completed? Allow me to explain…
On Saturday morning, I had to take two Praxis tests, to fulfill requirements for my music education certification. If you’re unfamiliar with the Praxis exams, they test general and content knowledge (mine being music) and notify your supervisors if you’re allowed to continue with certification. I’ve had to take a total of 3 tests, each spanning 2 hours or more. These tests must adhere to strict proctoring rules: no cell phones, no food, no gum, NO NOTHING…you’re not even allowed to think about using your cell phone. The Thought Police, straight from 1984, will sense this violation and, consequentially, beat you to within an inch of your life.
Before my 2nd test began on Saturday morning, one of the aides came to fetch all of the test takers from the hallway, and reminded everyone that cell phones were not permitted in the testing room (nope, not even in your pocket…on silent.) Prior to the test, we were instructed to leave all electronic devices in our car. This rule was obeyed by every test taker…except two forgetful people.
The two culprits raised their hands, and the aide was quick to tell them that they had to put their phones in their cars. Unfortunately, for…Larry (I’ll call him Larry), he had run into a bit of bad luck that morning (as if taking two tests in the same morning is bad enough luck).
Larry: See, there’s a problem there. I locked my keys in my car. I can’t put my phone in my car.
The test aide acknowledged this, with only the smirk a proctor could muster, and turned to the second culprit, Ms. Jerkface.
Aide: When you take your phone out to your car, could you please lock his phone in your car as well?
It was a legitimate question: none of us were allowed to leave the testing facility until an allotted amount of time had passed…we would be dismissed together. It wasn’t a huge inconvenience, and it would have helped Larry out a great deal. Instead, the conversation went down another path.
Aide:…could you please lock his phone in your car as well?
Ms. Jerkface: No! Like, I’m not gonna be responsible for someone else’s phone.
I wish there was a HTML for “extreme snottiness,” ‘cause that’s the exact inflection she said her answer with. In front of every other test taker in the room. My initial response was: does she get points taken off her exam for being a brat?!? (Note: I didn’t want to say brat….I wanted to say something worse…but then, I would be lowering myself to the B*#$%’s level now, wouldn’t I?).
I knew in an instant what my RAC for the day would be: I would volunteer to host Larry’s cell phone in my car until the completion of the test. Under the circumstances, I really didn’t’ want to: I knew I would be leaving the test after 1:00 PM, which meant I would be very late for a rehearsal downtown. I didn’t have time to dilly dally after the exam was done. Plus, I didn’t have a clue who Larry was…his phone could be crawling with germs…it could be rigged with explosives…it could be a Transformer in disguise and morph into Optimus Prime. But, I also wasn’t going to let Larry get booted out of the test because he still had his cell phone with him.
So, I bravely raised my hand, with Ms. Jerkface breathing her ice cold breath down my back. I announced, in front of everyone, that I would be willing to hold his cell phone, which the aide seemed satisfied with…however, to make a long story short, Larry decided to go with one of his acquaintances who offered to keep his cell phone after I did. I was strangely disappointed I couldn’t help out. I don’t normally volunteer to do random acts of kindness in front of huge crowds, so it was a big step for me.
I think, all things considered, my actions merited an RAC labeling. I was frustrated at first, because I couldn’t follow my intentions to completion, but then I remember one of the main tenets of my project: an act of kindness is an act of kindness, no matter how big or small. I may not have been able to help poor Larry out that day, but I took a step beyond myself, and, consequentially, put someone’s else’s needs before mine. This RAC may not have come to fruition, but it just goes to show you that when you make “do-gooding” a priority, you automatically become less self-occupied and more aware of the needs/wants of others. And if that isn’t Christmas-y, my friends, I don’t know what is.
RAC # 15: Bought chocolate covered cherries for cast mates
Result: Everyone seemed to have ten times as much energy; I got my fruit requirement for the day
RAC #16: Offered to hold someone’s personal item for safekeeping/Offered to help a person in need
Result: Nothing outwardly resulted from this attempt; a scorned Ice Queen/Jerkface; an addition of gumption to my character