A store flyer came to the house on a weekday morning. The store doesn’t see my Mom or me since we rarely venture in the store’s neck of the woods. When we do, we both prefer the store down the street that is more budget-friendly: the 99 cent store. The last time I had been to this store was when we got a flyer approximately six months ago. That flyer and the one we had gotten that weekday morning had the same sale that drew me to their last one. I definitely wanted to take advantage of the flyer’s coupons because the prices were painfully hard to resist. I thought to myself though, “Not on a Saturday!” Crowds are to my Autism what I suppose heavy smog is to an asthma patient.
My Mom intended to go on a Saturday morning just days after the flyer’s arrival. She was headed to the store after visiting another store and the 99 cent store, but when she saw the crowded parking lot, she decided what energy she had left would not sustain her through that crowd. Later in the day, she asked me if I wanted to go and redeem the coupons. She caught me at a moment with nothing going on. So out of boredom and against my better judgment, I went to the store with the flyer in hand.
Boredom would have been a piece of cake to deal with compared to what I found behind the store’s doors. It was like every human being within 5 miles had descended upon this store. I can still picture in my mind driving the store cart through the maze of my fellow man. I recall the tension rising in my body and my hands holding the cart handle as if I was holding on to the edge of a cliff. You might imagine what I wanted to do with that cart but my coping skills were in gear. Holding on with my tight fists, deep breathing, and a prayer on my lips, I found what was on sale and headed for the check-out lanes.
Fortunately, I had the option of going to the express line where there was an idle register. The other lines were well attended with loaded carts to the hilt. The store flyer had indeed brought folks from the hinterlands with them buying far more than the items on the flyer. The store’s strategy of bringing in business with a few coupons didn’t make any money off of me. The total sale price was almost less than the regular price of just one of the five items. That thought was of some comfort, but I still wanted to get out ASAP!
I had problems on how to scan the all-important coupons which were the ONLY reasons I was there. Unlike I usually do, I asked for HELP! The cost would have been four times higher if I didn’t motion someone for help. That was too high a price even for my fear of asking for help. After help came and I was on my way, I left a long waiting line of “express lanes”.
As soon as I got outside, I could breathe normally again. I survived another panic from crowd mayhem. I went home, went to my room, and bathed myself in “alone” time. I’m glad those flyers only come around twice a year. I’d go if they have those same irresistible coupons again in six months or whenever, but NEVER on a Saturday again!