Ambush season is upon us. Entering and leaving the grocery store has become a gauntlet – run through the boy scouts, football teams, baseball, soccer, dance, school fundraiser for this or that, buy a coupon book, buy a coupon card, enter a raffle, donate to send x to y, well you get the idea.
I don’t know if they do this where you live, but they do here. For some reason, staking out the air conditioned foyer at the Kroger is the place to be – after all people have to pass through there to get their basket or buggy in order to enter the store and shop for food. And they have to pass through again on the way out once they’ve purchased said food. Yeah, the captive audience is great.
The groups often split up, and they’re usually attended by parents, (especially for the younger cohort) who hang back while their progeny
shill one thing or another, I mean: grow as youth and learn life lessons. Often one group will take the inbound door and another group will take the outbound door – so not only are you hit once, but twice. And even if you’ve already donated/purchased, there’s the implied guilt that you didn’t choose to give to this particular child, this particular cause, this time and they’re entitled to it, dammit, because they took their afternoon to stand here and talk to strangers, they deserve it.
And I want to be clear, it’s not that I’m against giving or supporting youth or the community or the schools – it’s the being expected to – every single time you walk in the store – it’s the whole unavoidable encounter.
I’m not a curmudgeon either. You know, if we gave every time, for every cause and/or activity that’s represented, we probably wouldn’t have money for groceries.
Next week, school starts, and they’ll be roaming the neighborhood with wrapping paper and candles and candy.