HEADLINES

Mystery Shopper: A Late Night Dilemma

I'm accustomed to finding things outside my apartment door... an empty gum wrapper, some petals from a flower delivery, dust bunnies.  But this morning as I was leaving for work, there was something I had never seen before... two gigantic supermarket bags, filled with food,  tied together.

 
Since I was late as usual, I didn't have a whole lot of time to investigate.  I peered into the first bag and saw several bags of potato chips.  That's all I had time to see.  I debated whether to leave the bag in the hall or bring it in.  If I was meant for me, it would be insulting to the person who left it for me to leave it out.  So I quickly put it inside the apartment and ran(limped) off to work.
 
The mystery bags bothered me all day.  What did they mean?  The only thing I saw before I left was the potato chip bag.  It was an unusual brand, and it had a sticker that said "Patel- 99Cents"
 
Why would someone leave me a bag of potato chips?  I don't exactly look like I am starving.  For the first couple of hours, I decided that someone had made a New Years Resolution- no junk food-- didn't want to throw it out, and thought they'd give it to the old lady down the hall.
 
By hour three, I had decided that the children down the hall (the nice ones) had a festival at Church and these were the leftovers and their parents thought it would nice to give it to me since one time I returned a $20 bill they dropped on the floor.
 
By hour five, I had decided that the maintenance man found them in the compactor room (back to the theory that they had been thrown out for New Years) and decided to leave them near my door rather than throwing them out.   I am always friendly to the maintenance man.
 
By hour six, I thought :  But wait-- if those bags were in the garbage room--they might be full of bugs.  They might be poisonous.  Where exactly did I leave them?  Could Coco get into them?  Should I leave work early?
 
Since I only had one hour left at work, I decided to wait, but sat on the edge of my seat in the car service car.  I rushed upstairs, opened the door, grabbed the bags and put them on the counter.  They were heavy!
 
I didn't see any bugs.  The first bag had a couple more bags of potato chips (I determined they were an Indian brand), a container of DAL, a head of cauliflower, string beans and some papadums.  The second bag contained a 5 lb bag of basmati rice, more canned vegetables, peanut oil and laundry detergent.  
 
I could breathe again.   It wasn't New Years resolutions, the maintenance man, the kids down the hall.  It was obviously a mistaken delivery.  
 
I packed the bags up and wrote a note:  "These groceries were put outside the wrong door.  If they are yours, please take them."  Feeling foolish, I put the bags and the note near the elevator and ran inside the apartment so I wouldn't be caught.
 
Now it is 2 am, and I'm thinking how the innocent actions of an inept delivery man who you never met could change the course of one's life for a day.  Chain reactions.  Imagine the family telling the store they never received their groceries, and the delivery man swearing that he delivered them.  Now I have something else to worry about.  Was the delivery man fired?  Oh no!  I'll be up all night!  

Susan Neill is a local writer and artist with a gift for capturing the mysteries of everyday life. If you left groceries for her, thanks.
 

Subscribe

Follow Riverdale HamletHub