A Costco-Walmart Adventure

A couple of days ago I received a call from a friend. She needed to go shopping for groceries. Being a Lion whose motto is We Serve, I jumped at the opportunity. Most sane people would have found a simpler service project, but not me. I had to drive 45 minutes to get to the starting point of this adventure. The friend is a caretaker, and her latest job is taking care of Norma a 101 year old lady without any family. She relies completely on the people she hires to do her favors.

Traffic was light at 2:00 in the afternoon, and I got to the house in forty minutes not forty-five. My friend was waiting for me at the door, and we were ready to go. I asked her if she had a key to the house to get in, She waved the key at me, “good” I said. “Did the lady give you money to shop with?” She dug into her purse and pulled out two blue cards one debit, and the other a credit. “Good,” I said again. “My lady wants me to go to Costco,” said my friend. “Did she give you her membership card?” Again, digging in her purse, she whipped out a Costco card. “Great,” I said, “let’s get going.”

Neither of us had a clue as to where the Costco was. Thank God for cell phones. We both found the address for the nearest one and I pumped the location into the GPS. We were off for an adventure.

I joined a Costco back in the nineteen-eighties when an agent came to our company to sell memberships. I bit on the bait and joined. The store was immense, but not convenient. Prices on things were good, but I don’t buy a TV every week or month. I was more interested in food. The Costco hook is packaging. The prices are good, but one must buy a package. For a can of tuna at a low price I might have to buy a package of twelve cans. My membership ran out and I never rejoined, but I did join Sam’s Club which was much closer to my home.

We started shopping in the meat department. My friend loves chicken wings and drum sticks. She picked up two discreet packages and went home with 32 drum sticks and 48 wings. Thankfully, four drum sticks were packaged in one plastic unit, but there were eight units to a package. The price was low, but who will eat that many drumsticks before the last one goes bad in the freezer? I figure it’ll be June, 2021 before they run out of drumsticks. We spent a lot of time looking for stuff and passing most bargains. My friend told me that the last caretaker was asked to leave. “Why,” I asked? “Norma told me that her last caretaker spent over $400 at Costco. I took a quick count of what was in our basket. “Do you realize we have over $130 dollars worth of groceries in the basket right now, and we have a lot of shopping left to do?” She thought about it for a second and said, “lets check out and go to Walmart.”

At the register I pushed the debit card into the reader and got a message “enter your PIN.” What? Do you have the PIN?”

“What is a PIN?” she asked me. The second card was the same. I reached for my wallet and pushed my American Express card into the reader. “We don’t accept American Express,” said the clerk.

“Oh shit, you mean to tell me the largest retailer in the world does not accept the number one card in the world?”

“Sorry sir.” I pulled out my emergency VISA and paid.

We managed to find a Walmart about five miles away and finished the shopping minus two items, Italian bread, and Biscotti. The total between the two stores was $320. At least we didn’t spend $400.

We spent an hour in Costco, and another hour in Walmart before we began to find our way back. It was dark, and thankfully I had the GPS to guide me. It was about six p.m. when we parked in the drive. My friend said she would go in first, check her client, and then open the garage door so we could unload quickly.

Two minutes later my friend reappeared, “can you help me?”

“What is wrong?”

“I can’t open the door.” I took the key from her and tried it on the two locks. It worked fine on the dead bolt, but it didn’t move on the regular lock. “We need two separate keys to open this door,” I said. “Now what?”

My friend began ringing the door bell. “Norma can wheel herself over and open the lock for us.” After several minutes and a lot of ringing, we peered through the side-light window and saw Norma slouched in her wheel chair and vigorously pointing toward the left. My friend went to the side yard only to learn that the gate was locked. She went to the opposite side and found the same. “Maybe Norma was pointing at the neighbor,” I said. We quickly went to the next house and rang the bell, and told the neighbor our story. It turns out the neighbor didn’t have a key either. The neighbor lady said “I’ll call the police.”

It took about five minutes for a cop to arrive. He listened to our story and said he would be back. He went to his patrol car to get his lock pick. By the time he came back, a fire truck arrived with three firemen. They went straight for the door with a tool that looked like a battering ram. “Oh great, now we will get in, but we’ll have a door that doesn’t close again.” Lady Luck was with us because within two minutes they had the door open and they rushed in to see if Norma was okay. My friend followed them. I stayed outside with the cop who insisted on seeing identification and asked for more information. “This happens a lot,” he said.

“Yeah, well it has never happened to me,” I said. I realized later that he meant this happens a lot at this house. My friend came out to ask me in, and the cop asked if he could go in to check on Norma too. “Of course,” she said. The cop and Norma were acquainted with each other and spoke for a few minutes. After he left we lifted Norma back into her wheel chair. I was right she had slid down while trying to come to the door and was inches from sliding onto the floor.

Finally, I unloaded the groceries into the garage. As we were going in and out Norma kept warning us not to let her cat out. On about the second trip, I looked up and saw the cat at the edge of the garage door looking out. My friend looked up and saw her too. Immediately she ran toward the house to scare the cat back into the house. That is all I would have needed to make the night complete, a missing cat. Thankfully, the cat skedaddled back into the house and we shut the door behind her.

I wished my friend good luck and left. I got home by 8:00 p.m. The first thing I did after relieving myself was to pour a generous shot of whiskey over ice to reward a successful service call.

Believe it or not!

Day 15-Quarantine-Assess How Lucky One Can Be

Today, I must make a giant decision relative to going to shop for needed groceries. I promised family that I would not leave my home. They offered to shop for me. Why should I put young people at risk for me? I am closer to end of life than I hope they are so it just makes sense to keep them out of harms way.  I will practice social distancing and avoid crowded spaces so my risk is reduced.

15-Online-Shopping-Statistics-Ftrd32.jpg

Yesterday I tried using a shop on line program using Wal Mart service. The program is easy to use and they offer just about their entire inventory of groceries. Where it fails is in the delivery part. I recognize that there are just so many people employed to run around the aisles with a customer shopping list to collect items for a specific customer. Then, there are also too few employees driving those orders to customers. I failed yesterday to get in the que, and this morning I tried earlier with the same result. I will try again in the middle of the night. Meanwhile I will scrape my coolers for available goodies to feed my fat ass. I’m sure I will survive.

Today’s agenda includes cooking, reading, killing grass near the pond, walking, shaping my rose project, and watching a series on TV. Oh, and avoiding coming in contact with COVID-19.

SCAM WARNING

Wal-Mart Supercenter Torreon

Wal-Mart Supercenter Torreon (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

First things first, Thank You Mike for sending this warning, I am forever grateful. We all know how careful we must be during the Christmas shopping season. Parking lots are creeping with predators hungry for our cash. Be very aware.

OLDER MEN SCAMS
Women often receive warnings about protecting themselves
At the mall, parking lots, etc.
But this is the first warning I have seen for men,
And I wanted to pass it on in case you haven’t heard about it. A ‘heads up’ for those men who may be regular customers at Lowe’s, Home Depot, Costco, or even Wal-Mart.
Last month I became a victim of a clever scam while shopping. Simply going to get supplies turned out to be quite traumatic.
Don’t be naive enough to think it couldn’t happen to you or your friends. Here’s how the scam works: Two nice-looking, college-aged girls will come up to your vehicle as you are putting away your purchases.
They both start wiping your windshield with a rag and Windex, with their breasts almost falling out of their skimpy T-shirts.
(It’s impossible not to look). I should have known better because it was 30 degrees outside.
When you thank them and offer them a tip, they say  ‘No.’ Instead, they ask for a ride to McDonald’s. You agree and they climb in the vehicle and start undressing. Then one of them starts crawling all over you, While the other one steals your wallet. I had my wallet stolen October 4th, 9th, 10th, twice on the 15th, 17th, 20th, 24th, & 29th. Also November 1st & 4th, twice on the 8th, 16th, 23rd, 26th & 27th, and very likely again this upcoming weekend.

 Wal-Mart has wallets on sale for $2.99 each. I found even cheaper ones for $.99 at the dollar store and bought them out in three of their stores.

Also, you never get to eat at McDonald’s. I’ve already lost 11 pounds just running back and forth from Lowe’s, to Home Depot, to Costco, Etc. So please, Send this warning to all the older men that you know and warn them to be on the lookout for this scam.

(The best times are just before lunch and around 4:30 in the afternoon.)

 

The Ghost of Thanksgiving Yet to Come

Thanksgiving at the Trolls

Thanksgiving at the Trolls (Photo credit: martha_chapa95)

An interesting futuristic story of Thanksgiving written by Arnold Ahiert of the Canada Free Press. The theme of the story is much like that of Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand. This is the greatest Thanksgiving situation as implemented by Progressives.

The Ghost of Thanksgiving Yet to Come.

315 mph in 3.9 seconds, WOW!

dscn0064It all began with a simple e-mail to my stepson and his daughter. Sometimes the power of suggestion is overwhelming. I received a spam message f rom Firebird International Speedway in Chandler, Arizona.  Why not, I asked myself? I sent a simple message to these two very important people with the following:  “Are either of you up to going? ” The event was the  NHRA (National Hot Rod Association) Pro Time Trials. I was half kidding, but then again I was hoping for an escape from winter.

It actually happened!

My grand daughter replied,  “are you serious?”

“Why not?” I replied.

The phone rang. She asked me again. “Yes, I’m serious.”

“Okay, I’ll make arrangements.”

Last Saturday we left for Midway airport at noon for a three o’clock flight to Phoenix. Tracy had an agenda. First we were to go to an “In and Out Burger” for the best hamburger and fries we ever had. Then we checked in at Red Roof Inn. Afterward, we shopped at Wal Mart for weather appropriate clothes.

Bright and early on Sunday morning we were at Denny’s eating breakfast. The goal was to get to the track when it opened. We made it. Our car was about the twentieth in the lot. Since she had pre-paid for our tickets, we practically walked through the gate without a pause.

ShoppingThe first order of business was to buy souvenir tee shirts. Tracy spoke to many of the vendors by name. She’s been at so many of these things, they know her well. With the shopping completed, we were free to roam the pits.  We passed a line of semi-tractors, six in a row. All belonged to the John Force team. The trailers were all lined up and crews were busy assembling the cars. I couldn’t believe that they were actually putting them together at the track. She explained that they are practicing for the real thing on race day. After every run, the crew disassembles the car and checks every component for wear and damage. Suspect parts are replaced before the next run. The teams practice their tasks, while the driver practices with the car.

Force Team Semi's

Unloading Fuel Dragster

Unfinished Funny Car ChassisUnassembled DragsterAfter a car is assembled, the crew starts the engine. The car is on a jack stand with wheels above the ground. Some of the crew huddle around the engine with electronic measuring devices. Others are probing the hoses. Still others are looking at the clutch,  transmission, and tires. The fumes from the nitro fuel is obnoxious and burning my eyes, and throat. The noise is deafening even with my ear plugs in. I watched from the side at a safe distance. I wanted a closer look, so I switched to the other side. Right in the middle of my walk, a crew member gunned the engine. I nearly dropped to the ground. The noise scared the hell out of me. I felt the exhaust heat thirty feet behind the car.  At another trailer, I watched as veteran Don Prudhomme, quietly moved away from next to his dragster to stand behind a new Dodge Challenger parked next to it. he was not about to stand in front of an eight thousand horsepower engine as it was started for the first time. After witnessing him back off, I stood a little farther back at test firings.Top Fuel DragsterDid I mention the weather? The sky was blue, the sun was bright, the temperature in the morning was sixty, and it shot up to seventy-nine degrees by afternoon. I wore sun block and long sleeves to keep from getting burned. The locals walked around in tee shirts and shorts. Some walked in flip flops.

By ten thirty the cars began to arrive at the starting line for trials. There was no side by side racing, just one car try outs. Some of the cars shot off the line only to shut down the engine after a second. They coasted across the finish line at eighty five miles per hour. Later in the afternoon, the same car would run the distance and cross the finish line at 315 mph in 3.9 seconds. WOW! 

John Force

Lucas OilAlAnabiBernsteinSnake RacingGEICOHartley RacingKalitta Motor SportsMATCOThe quarter mile stretch was shortened  last year to give the drivers more stopping time.  Even though the total race distance has been shortened from 1320 feet to 1000 feet,  the speeds are the same as before.

By four o’clock, Tracy and I began the trip back to cold country. We arrived home at 12:30 a.m. I was totally exhausted.  The twenty four hour sojourn into the desert washed away my winter doldrums.

I dreamt of biting into a nice big juicy tasty In-and-Out Burger with fries.

The clock rang at seven a.m. It was time to get up to go for my stress test. What fun this weekend was.

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