A Question of Peas

Or… Pinned Down About Peas

By Jeff Salter

Grocery stores are on most of our minds these days — with CoVid-19 creating shortages… and the shopping experience drastically altered by how many customers can enter, how far apart they must stay, and whether they’re masked.

Here’s a true-life experience of my own, though somewhat out-of-season… since it occurred on Nov. 22, 2017 (the day before Thanksgiving that year).


Of my TWO grocery runs today (Wednesday), this was the SECOND.
Having heard dire warnings about the crowds at both Kroger North and Kroger South, I waited until 7:50 p.m. before striking out for the north store.
Arrived around 8:00 and had no difficulty finding a parking spot.
So far, so good.
Entered the outer doors but there was a line to get through the inner doors.
Hmm. Hadn’t figured on waiting in line to get inside.
Beside me was a young woman.
Two other females were at the front of this queue — talking to each other, rather tersely. Something was bothering one (or both) and it had to do with green peas.
I swear.
Person A was trying to find out if Person B was bringing the dish with green peas… and Person B was pitching a fit about being pinned down about her peas.
In the meantime, other people had come in behind me — a couple to my left, and someone to my right.
So our queue had now accumulated eight or more people… and we were still in that space between the outer doors and the inner doors.
After a moment of standing there, waiting, I observed – loud enough for everyone to hear – “Why, in the rush to shop for Thanksgiving, did Kroger decide to lock us out?”
The young woman beside me responded, “Oh, the doors aren’t locked. Those two are just arguing about the dinner.”
That clued me in — Person B was the grandmother, Person A was the mom, and the lady next to me was the daughter.
All this time, “A” and “B” were so absorbed in their argument about who was making the dish with green peas that they were oblivious to the crowd behind them which were totally blocked entry by the positions of their two shopping carts.
I guess if I hadn’t spoken, we’d still be standing there waiting to get in.
It still took a moment for the two (so intently bickering) to “notice” they were holding up fellow citizens and they finally – albeit slowly – eased inside the store.
As I maneuvered around them, they were still arguing about the dinner plans. Person A‘s chief contention was that she had to know what Person B was bringing. Person B either didn’t want to get stuck with the green peas again… or it was her traditional specialty and she refused to allow anyone else to bring it.
I wish I’d taken names of witnesses so I could later check on how successful this family dinner was.
I’ll bet there will be lots of leftover peas.

Have you ever witnessed anyone so stressed about their dish for a big dinner… that they’re unaware they’re blocking the entrance to a grocery store?

[JLS # 488]

About Jeff Salter

Currently writing romantic comedy, screwball comedy, and romantic suspense. Fourteen completed novels and four completed novellas. Working with three royalty publishers: Clean Reads, Dingbat Publishing, & TouchPoint Press/Romance. "Cowboy Out of Time" -- Apr. 2019 /// "Double Down Trouble" -- June 2018 /// "Not Easy Being Android" -- Feb. 2018 /// "Size Matters" -- Oct. 2016 /// "The Duchess of Earl" -- Jul. 2016 /// "Stuck on Cloud Eight" -- Nov. 2015 /// "Pleased to Meet Me" (novella) -- Oct. 2015 /// "One Simple Favor" (novella) -- May 2015 /// "The Ghostess & MISTER Muir" -- Oct. 2014 /// "Scratching the Seven-Month Itch" -- Sept. 2014 /// "Hid Wounded Reb" -- Aug. 2014 /// "Don't Bet On It" (novella) -- April 2014 /// "Curing the Uncommon Man-Cold -- Dec. 2013 /// "Echo Taps" (novella) -- June 2013 /// "Called To Arms Again" -- (a tribute to the greatest generation) -- May 2013 /// "Rescued By That New Guy in Town" -- Oct. 2012 /// "The Overnighter's Secrets" -- May 2012 /// Co-authored two non-fiction books about librarianship (with a royalty publisher), a chapter in another book, and an article in a specialty encyclopedia. Plus several library-related articles and reviews. Also published some 120 poems, about 150 bylined newspaper articles, and some 100 bylined photos. Worked about 30 years in librarianship. Formerly newspaper editor and photo-journalist. Decorated veteran of U.S. Air Force (including a remote ‘tour’ of duty in the Arctic … at Thule AB in N.W. Greenland). Married; father of two; grandfather of six.
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17 Responses to A Question of Peas

  1. jbrayweber says:

    What a cute story, Jeff. But OMG… going to the store at 8PM the night before Thanksgiving? Are you insane? What in the world did you forget the first time?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Nope. That’s a unique one, Jeff. Although, I have been blocked…almost every time I go to WalMart, Kroger, or HEB…by people on their cell phones having an animated conversation while their cart is blocking the aisle, two or more people blocking the entire aisle because they had to stop and chat, and/or by employees who have not only spread out their palate of items (to stock the shelves) across half the aisle and then have taken up the other half by getting out their cell phone and talking to someone while they should be working. Usually, I’ll excuse myself, very loudly. “Excuse me. May I get through.”

    At my age, people usually don’t get upset but apologize profusely. LOL There is an advantage to getting old and bold.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I have, and although I would have been as nice as possible,I would have pointed out that they were blocking to door and customers.
    HOWEVER, I can understand the argument.That never happened in my family’s house, because everyone came to my house for the holidays, (even unexpectedly, from states away). My mother had the most kids, was the least available and although there are good,(even another great), cook in the family, she had a magic touch with food and enjoyed making it.
    I would get in on the bet that although the woman may have had a specialty and could be jealously guarding it, I would go the other point-spread and put my money on her mother wanting the peas done the way they always had and the daughter probably wanted to do it another way. I could see her reluctance; my family is full of sticklers for tradition.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jeff Salter says:

      I’ve gone both ways — on interpreting what Person A wanted and Person B wanted.
      Can’t decide and I guess we’ll never know. But there was definitely a conflict — a struggle for who calls the shots. Perhaps this came at a time when the grandmother could no longer host the T-giving event and was struggling with the “new normal” of her daughter being hostess.


    • Sometimes people need a jolt to help them realize they are thinking of no one but themselves. Especially if they have 8 people lined up behind them and haven’t bothered to notice.

      Our society has become very self-centered. You see it in the stores, on social media, on TV, whether they are talking or writing.

      A little jolt now and then never hurt anyone. Being rude would have been barreling through without saying anything. LOL Just my opinion.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. LOL I can’t say I have ever been blocked from going into a store like that but maybe that’s a Thanksgiving eve thing. I don’t think I have ever run to the store the day before Thanksgiving and I avoid the bigger stores between Thanksgiving and the New Year as much as I can which might be why I have never witnessed anything like that.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jeff Salter says:

      For the life of me, I can’t picture WHY I was dashing about to grocery stories on the day before Thanksgiving.


  5. Elaine Cantrell says:

    No, Jeff, I don’t think I’ve ever witnessed anything like that, LOL>

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Anonymous says:

    Peas are an important source of protein. Not to be underestimated in food shortage situations.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Patricia Kiyono says:

    I don’t think I’ve ever been blocked at the entrance to a store – but definitely in the aisles. People drive their carts down the middle of the aisle and leave them there while they go off and peruse the stuff on the shelves.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. trishafaye says:

    Yes, I have a feeling that there were a lot of family dynamics already in play before this grand spectacle!
    It’s like those one-sided phone conversations we’re all subjected to on a daily basis now. Usually I get annoyed and don’t want to have to listen in, but occasionally there’s one so intriguing that brings up so many questions I almost want to walk up and say, “Excuse me…” and proceed to ask my questions.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jeff Salter says:

      I can’t tell you how often I’ve been in this situation and been so intrigued that I could barely resist interrupting the conversation to ask for clarification! LOL

      Liked by 1 person

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