A Moment in My Life – Monday, August 16, 2021
Jeannie Yee Davis
This Saturday, I unexpectedly went on an errand run for paper and ink cartridges. Now, I can’t say that I have never entirely run out of 8 ½” x 11” paper. Luckily, it printed the last page of my document before I ran out of paper and got the warning, “your ink cartridge is extremely low.” Forget about waiting until Costco has their ink sale, which I believe they had in the last coupon book. I didn’t realize I was low on ink, so I ignored that sale. Today, I have little choice whether to wait for another sale or not.
I may have little choice, but I was still in control, so off I went to Costco and Staples to check the paper and ink cartridge inventory and prices before buying anything. It’s been years since I physically drove from store to store to window-shop. Before Amazon became the one-stop shopping giant, I let my feet instead of my fingers do the shopping. It was kind of fun hopping in and out of the stores again.
I went into Costco expecting to find my 62XL ink cartridges on their shelves—maybe not the price I was willing to pay—but they would carry the stock. I also expected to find a carton of 8 ½” x 11” paper, which would present the dilemma of whether I wanted to invest in that much paper at one time or not. Contrary to my expectations, they didn’t have my ink cartridge in stock at the El Camino Real warehouse. To my surprise, they offered a ream of 800-sheet multi-purpose paper for $7.49, meaning I don’t need to buy the box.
I went to Staples, most likely for paper but not for ink. As little as I want to pay an arm and a leg for the ink at Costco, they tend to offer the best price, but you never know if Staples might happen to have a sale going on. Staples was my go-to place for printer paper, and they didn’t disappoint. The last few times I went there, they didn’t have a paper sale. This Saturday, I showed up just in time for the last day of their paper sale—a 500-sheet ream of multi-purpose paper at half off for $4.99. Just as I expected, the individual ink cartridge price was more than Costco’s.
I saw the paper display when I entered Staples. I busied myself reading their sale offer when a kind salt and peppered hair salesman approached me and asked if I needed help, which I appreciated his kindness but declined. After seeing what I came to see, I headed to Price Club, which is what I call the other Costco on South Airport Blvd, to distinguish the Costco in reference. I think I’m getting soft because I had this urge to thank the gentleman on my way out of Staples. I haven’t seen such customer service anywhere in forever. He was busy serving a customer, so I reluctantly left without seeking him out.
Since the per-unit price for the paper was 9 cents at either store, I planned to purchase the 800-sheet ream from Price Club. Luck was on my side. It turned out they had my 62XL ink cartridge making my shopping at Price Club a success.
On my way home, I kept thinking about this notebook I saw at Staples. That’s the trouble with physical shopping, you might see something that you didn’t plan on buying, so I decided to go back for it. I’m a sucker for purple notebooks.
Guess who I walked right into when I entered Staples? Yep, you guessed right, that kind gentleman whose name is Rickey. Rickey was arranging a display near the entrance. The first thing out of his mouth was, “You’re back!” and we chitchatted a bit before I got my notebook. After I completed my purchase, I made sure I sought Rickey out, this time, and said goodbye.
In a way, I wish I didn’t because he made it hard for me to leave. I found him where I left him earlier, and I said, “Okay, Rickey, I’m heading out,” and we chatted a bit and said our goodbyes. Such a sweet man. He asked if I was returning that night since I might come back for something, but I assured him that I completed my shopping. He seemed so sad, and it broke my heart to have to leave him. It’s crazy, but it doesn’t take much for me to warm to someone, and apparently, he is the same way. After all, everybody was a stranger at one time.
Throughout this errand run, my expectations were all over the place. I began the trip with certain expectations—some met, some not—but I accomplished what I set out to do in the end. It turned out the best part of my experience was when I went with the flow of things and just let life play out. I couldn’t have planned or expected to meet someone who would touch me in such a sweet way. Who knows if our paths would cross again, but for this one afternoon, this lovely older gentleman put a smile on my face and made my day a better one, and that was unexpected.