Tuesday evening I headed out for my weekly Wa-Ma shopping trip after cleaning up dinner and helping to get the kids ready for bed. I was tired, and I had way more stuff on my list than I really had the energy to shop for. When I arrived at the Wa-Ma everything was status-quo. The standard Wal-Mart greeter was there with his friendly smile, and there seemed to be a pretty typical number of patrons there for a weekday evening.
It was towards the end of my shopping trip that some real drama occurred. I had just collected some frozen chicken patties and was headed over to get some fresh chicken when a man called out to me: "Ma'am, I'm going to have to ask you to step away; there's been a small fire." Given my rather exhausted state, it took me a moment to process this extraordinarily bizarre information. ". . . Oh. OK." I answered as I backed away from the man and headed closer towards my destination meat cooler. "Ma'am - Please step away!" the man called out again as he took a step in my direction - as though he might have to intervene. "Oh! - you mean this cooler right here? I thought it was kinda warm." At this point I turned around and headed up to the produce section still fully perplexed by the whole situation, and periodically peeking back over my shoulder wondering if there was something more I had missed.
In all reality I hadn't realized the man was talking about the cooler I was headed for, as he and a few of his colleagues seemed to be more huddled around one of the open coolers in the middle of the floor. It dawned on me that he probably thought I was some sort of self-destructive lunatic woman perusing the Wa-Ma late at night looking for some trouble. Still, he seemed relieved when I finally clued into what he was saying, and it become evident that I was merely a slightly dense individual as opposed to a suicidal one.
Several moments later while gathering myself some hummus and trying to decide between the pine nut and the roasted red pepper types, I was truly shocked when I looked up and saw two fully outfitted firefighters (tanks, helmet and all) briskly following what appeared to be young gay guy who was leading them to *the scene of the crime*. The whole situation was so bizarre I literally could not stifle my laughter. The fact was, there was no fire - at least not at the moment; it had obviously already been extinguished. And yet, following procedure, some faithful employee had placed a likely frenzied call to the fire department.
I'm certain the firefighters were disappointed to discover no flames lapping at the sides of the cooler needing to be hosed down. And some of the shoppers seemed to be a bit rambunctious too. Several teenagers followed the firefighters from a distance hoping to get in on the action, but were immediately redirected by a rather stern manager who told them they needed to head the other direction (once she was out of sight though, they went back to get a better look at the non-fire happening in the meat department). One angry elderly woman confronted the produce boy who was stocking strawberries about when she would be allowed into the meat department as she wanted to rap up her shopping (I thought about suggesting she just get some tofu this week instead, but figure I'd better not borrow any trouble for myself).
All in all, I'd have to put that down as one of my more adventurous Wa-Ma trips. It was really invigorating to come home from shopping and to be able to share with my husband about all the action (I know. . we're really an exciting couple!). Generally, the Wa-Ma trip is not highly anticipated, but I'm really hoping to stumble upon some more bizarreness next week.