Yesterday I was drifting through Target with a shopping list, accumulating a modest pile in my cart. Near the end of my perambulations I looked down to toss a nail brush in my cart. But the paper towels weren't my brand. I didn't need that many bars of soap. Hey! That's not my cart! If I had someone else's cart, then where was mine? I had just had it a minute earlier. I looked around me. Woman on a cell phone. Red-shirted Target employee taking inventory. Child demanding something loudly. All appeared innocent. I walked up and down the nearby aisles, nothing.
"This is really strange, but my cart disappeared. Someone must have taken mine and left theirs. . . . " I said to the Target lady, feeling a bit discombobulated and confused.
"I'll look for it," she said amiably. "What was in it?"
I paused. "What was in it?" I repeated dumbly, stalling. Glancing at my list, I saw "foaming hand soap."
"Um, foaming hand soap . . . ?" I murmured, lacking conviction. Other than the foaming hand soap, the truth was more like "Several miscellaneous cleaning products and plastic containers that weren't on my list, but that promised to make my life easier, my summer more bearable, and my demeanor more cheerful. But I have only a vague sense of what they were."
She said she'd look for my cart. I made a little show of looking some more, went back and just picked up the foaming hand soap to buy along with the nail brush. So, brave guerilla shoppers, the next time you stray from your list, ask yourself, "If my cart were lost, what would I run back and purchase?" And just get that.