Wherein Ruth refrains from smacking a retiree

Had a nice little trip through Pick N Save today. Got a parking spot only three spaces in from the front end of the row, the frozen food section was warm enough to peruse at a leisurely pace, the friendly fellow offering 1 oz. samples of Kellog’s single serving lemonades sent me home with three free sample packets, and the State Fair preserves I wanted were on a great sale.

It’s a freakishly gorgeous day outside today so I had no choice but to smile as I wheeled my cart back outside into the sunshine to unload my groceries. As I was unloading my bags into the trunk of my car I saw another car pull into the lane behind me. There was a car parked opposite mine and down about 2 spots that was also being loaded up to take off so I didn’t know which of us the woman was waiting for, but I figured we’d both leave around the same time and that the waiting woman would either take one of our spots or move along to some other spot given that the parking lot wasn’t awfully full as it was 4 o’clock on a Saturday.

I finished unloading my groceries and saw there was no cart return nearby, presumably because where I was parked I was near enough to the store itself to take the cart all the way back.

So that’s what I did.

Mean Old Lady Prototype

Mean Old Lady Prototype

As I’m walking back to my car I see a woman in her 60s approaching me. It’s the woman who’d been driving the waiting car. With a positively citrus face she looks at me, looks down, begins growling loudly, angrily, bitchily. As she passes me she raises her voice just loudly enough for me to hear that it is *me* she is griping about. All I can make out is “stupid… such a stupid girl…” as she glares into my face before continuing across the the roadway between the parking lot and the store entrance.

All I can think is: What’s wrong with this woman? She’s upset with me? What did I do? Was it the parking space? She wanted MY parking space? Instead of one of the many, many, MANY others all around and equally available? Is that it? Is she upset because I wasted 24 seconds of her day by walking my cart back to the store instead of rudely leaving it out to hit other cars just so I could speed away so she could have my. specific. spot?

And folks? I think that was it.

The very idea of confrontation makes me sick. My knees and feet shake, my voice becomes uneven, my breathing shallows. But I felt ethically impotent allowing this angry woman to pass judgment in such a petty fashion on something so utterly unimportant, especially when you consider it all in light of what a miserable person she  must be if something so tiny could make her upset enough to lash out at a stranger over it. Doesn’t anybody love her enough to shake the bitchiness out of her every one in a while?


She didn’t stop, didn’t look; I preferred it that way. After all– what else is there to say without running the risk of some big, blue meanie slapping you in a Pick N Save parking lot? Particularly when there’s a fair chance you might be so inclined as to hit back.

You can be a tool no matter what your age. You can be a bitch, you can be ignorant, you can be stupid. You can be a grandmother many times over and still be a small, ugly person and don’t fool yourself that no one notices and despises you for it. And calling out small, ugly people isn’t likely to do anything. But I’ve got to tell you: Saying it still felt so damned good I just may engage in this exercise in futility again some day.



  1. Ruth, this was classic. I love ya for having that courage. I think more people need to be called on things like that. And what kills me is that you were actually doing the kind thing by taking your cart back into the store instead of leaving it rolling around dangerously in the lot like most people do… I always try to take my cart back in, if anything to make it one less for the poor employees who have to wheel a bunch in! And to get called out by this ignorant bitch is just unacceptable. I’m like you, I don’t like confrontation, but I would have said the same thing – probably with some fouler language thrown in! Good for you, girl! I’ll buy ya a drink on that one!

  2. Yeah, the supermarket parking lot can be a volatile place. Once I drove in and must’ve gotten a little too close to a guy who didn’t have the courtesy to wheel his cart down the side of the lane instead of the middle, where the cars need space. I turn around into the other lane and park one car away from him, and he starts frontin’ right as I get out, saying stuff like, “You’re lucky my wife’s here, asshole!” I’m pretty sure I shouted something back before heading to the store. I so would have engaged that fat fuck he had thrown the first punch and opened himself up to an assault/battery charge. Confrontation gives me a bit of a juice. I can hear “Jump Around” playing now…

  3. Hmmmmm…interesting, I think we have the makings of a play or movie here…..these type of things drive me crazy…how many times nowadays do we have the person who HAS does something wrong be the one upset and making noise about it….I saw someone over the weekend run out into the middle of the street downtown into traffic forcing a car to have to swerve to avoid hitting this person and as the car passed, the person who almost got killed, the person who was an idiot gave the car the finder and yelled f.u. to the passing car….so what is up with that ?? I see this type of thing everyday.

  4. Oh, and people waiting for someone to back out deserve whatever wait they get. Serves ’em right for not wanting to walk their fat asses a few extra steps.

  5. Eric – SOOOO in agreement on your last comment. Matter of fact, I always park further from the store – gives me some extra exercise!!!

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