Safe Space! Not!

Yesterday was a productive day for me. I must have had five items on my to-do list that involved being out and about!

I was on my own, as my wife was on the East Coast embracing her three precious granddaughters!

To a majority of people that venture into the cauldron of chaos characteristic of shopping in a large metropolis like the Sacramento area, it is distasteful but not daunting.

For me, however, wrestling with panic disorder with agoraphobia for over three decades makes a simple errand a sometimes challenging voyage!

My wise purchase of an iWatch has made it easy to track my heart rate. It is mostly a comforting feature. As many know, a rapid heart rate can be a seminal symptom of panic disorder. At other times when it incorrectly registers a supposed 148 beats per minute, I know intuitively that it has misread and that it will display an accurate reading shortly.

Meanwhile, in going for a routine blood draw at Kaiser, I was comforted by my iWatch’s indication that my heart rate was in the high eighties. After having navigated the short distance to the facility in hovering 100 degree temperatures I noted a reading of 148! I knew it was inaccurate, but I had to work through the typical symptoms of fight-or-flight when it shortly displayed a 112 reading. I got the blood draw and my rate soon decreased to around 100 as I approached the car, pressing with my right hand on the bandaged draw region to ensure bruises would not appear later.

I then successfully made my Walgreen’s purchases and stopped by Safeway to grab some Golden State Chicken salad from the deli. My intent was to add a couple items, thus the large shopping cart choice.

As I feared, my gluten-free diet precluded me from choosing a substitute item, as the deli did not have my choice. I immediately abandoned my shopping plans there and dutifully pointed my cart to the unlogical left, but correct doorway to return it to the stack outside the store.

As I got within two feet of the door, the cart suddenly skidded to a halt!

I was startled a bit, but pushed harder! I knew, though almost 74 years old, I wasn’t that weak! A slight tinge of panic made an attempt to engulf me as embarassment set in.

From the corner of my eye I noticed a young gal approach with a clicker in her hand and she blurted out, “I’m so sorry! Our carts must go through the checkout line before exiting the store. They have a built-in lock that engages when someone exits without having done so.”

I was so relieved that I left the store without having the presense of mind to complain about the stupidity of this feature.

Afterall, I was simply acting out a rare thing: taking the cart back outside rather than abandoning it in the store in a random aisle, knowing I had no items to check out.

My relief in having escaped the store was soon replaced with the utter disbelief that a large grocery chain would initiate a feature so STUPID! Naturally, I understand their motive is to not have someone leave the premises with unpaid items or to steal a shopping cart.

But, come on, why is it that the honest folks must always pay for the ones who game the system! Contemplate what the technology must have cost to install the system in the front wheels of each cart with radio receivers to engage them! It surely must be more expensive than any potential monetary cost of the few who escape with unpaid for groceries.

WOW! So, I am officially avoiding Safeway!

It doesn’t seem like a safe way to shop now!

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