Old friends were coming for dinner, and we had just returned from a New Year’s Eve trip. We needed a few things from the store to round out the menu, so I took the short drive to the Ukrop’s outside our neighborhood.
It didn’t take long to fill the shopping basket, and I headed for the self service checkout. Quick and easy, I’d be out in a jiffy. One by one, I scanned the items and dropped them into a paper bag, except for the fresh ground beef, which I put in a separate plastic bag (I didn’t want to start the new year with e.Coli).
I hurried home, unpacked the groceries and breathed a sigh of relief. Dinner might be ready before our friends arrived.
“Hey,” Kim shouted from the kitchen, “you didn’t get the ground beef, did you?”
What? I knew I had picked up the ground beef. I had even put it in a separate bag. Wait, I thought, I had left the bag on the checkout counter.
I grabbed my keys and hurried back to the store and walked up to the self service attendant. Before I could open my mouth:
“You forgot your ground beef!” she said. You got it, that’s why I’m back.
“I put it back in the refrigerator case. I’ll show you.”
Not “three aisles down, on the top shelf.” Not “it’s over there.”
“I’ll show you.”
Sure enough, she led me right to it. On the third shelf, right where she had left it. I smiled, thanked her and walked out of the store.
After 26 years of shopping at the family-owned Ukrop’s, that will change Monday as the sale to Ahold (Giant/Martin’s) becomes official. What follows over the next few days are a few highlights and memories.