The Great Tomato Caper

The Great Tomato Caper

So today was a nice day and since I knew the roads were passable because I’d walked up to the Acton Memorial Library for the final meeting that I was officiating for the Acton Writers Group. I’d decided to step down from my leadership role with the group to focus on other more political activities with the Green Rainbow Party.

Since this was the middle of the month and the next scheduled trip to Market Basket wasn’t until the last week of March my larder was running low, not critical but I did need a few odds and ends. I decided because of the afore mentioned conditions to walk over to Donelan’s Market with my trusty wheeled cart in tow. Coming abreast of Citizen’s Bank I dutifully waited for a lull in traffic. I didn’t need to wait long because a kind, but foolish young woman, her heart slightly softer than her head came to an abrupt stop to allow me to pass, nearly causing the rather large black pickup truck, the kind with the four rear tires, to swerve to avoid rear ending her vehicle while I winced and scurried across Route 2A and into the Bank’s parking lot.

Arriving at the market I made my selections, a big, beautiful, red, round tomato, Firm Tofu, a wedge of Jarlsberg cheese, a four pack of yogurt, and two containers of chicken broth for soup stock that I’ll use to make lentil stew later today. Making my way to the cashier with my little two wheeler I could almost taste the grilled cheese and tomato I planned to prepare for lunch. Transactions complete and the bagger having kindly loaded my cart I bid the grocer banditos adieu and headed for home. Once more successfully crossing 2A, no traffic what so ever this time, I continued placing one foot in front of the other while enjoying the mild temperature and the blue skied beauty of this lovely day; surely Spring could not be far away.

Arriving at my front door, a friendly neighbor opened the foyer entrance and held it opened to allow my passage, cart still in tow. We exchanged pleasantries and I then began to haul my cart up each step one at a time, a laborious and arduous exercise requiring the switching of hands from cane to hand rail to gain the purchase and leverage I required to lift the cart up each consecutive step. Finally reaching my apartment door I carefully unlocked the deadbolt and with one hand pushed open the door a crack, then slid my cane into the opening to block any attempt by the escaping Nala should she be feeling frisky and curious enough to try a breakout but she obviously had a heavy night and was napping.

Having gained entrance for my cart and myself without incident I began to put away the items in the cart but what to my surprise and dismay, there was no tomato. Had it made good on what Nala couldn’t and escaped both the plastic bag in addition to negotiating its way out of the cart, no impossible. Did I forget to hand the delectable fruit to the cashier or worse, had I imagined the whole thing and never actually bagged a tomato in the first place, early onset? Nosirree, a quick check of the receipt confirmed the purchase and clearly indicated the problem lay with the grocer. Normally I would simply forgo the tomato and settle for a grilled cheese but the thought of letting that bandit get one over on me was more than I could bare, so after feeding Nala her lunch I donned my cap, cane and coat and marched right back over to said grocer, prepared to do battle, receipt in hand. I promised myself that I wouldn’t be snarky and call out the bagger for his serious lack of due diligence in assembling my purchases. I would not resort to name calling, casting aspersions, or make derogatory remarks about his intellect, though they ran freely through my mind on the walk over. The things racing through my brain were a loose amalgamation of thoughts; what if I don’t make it across 2A this time, can I file suit? If I’m struck and killed will Liz and Julia know the truth of my demise? Will they know to sue Donelan’s as the originator of this nefarious tomato crime?

Ready to do battle I approached the courtesy counter and asked to speak with the manager. A smiling middle aged man greeted me in a friendly manner, obviously hiding his dishonest intentions but I was having none of it. I’d been wronged and I was on a mission to see that justice was done. Laying out the receipt as well as my tale of woe on the counter I was met with a sincere apology and a new tomato of my choosing. The nerve of these people to address all my concerns and offer an apology also, well, who did they think I was just some random customer?

Having won the battle I withdrew my forces back across 2A and back into the village, up to the third floor and a well deserved grilled cheese sandwich with thinly sliced pieces of tomato; a highly successful campaign with minimal casualties and no loss of lunch.

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