Giant Eagle Misadventures

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I appear to be a fully functioning, generally normal human being. I have friends, a family, a job, and some interesting hobbies. No felonies, no spectacular talents, no debilitating weaknesses, either. Just your basic person. But as the old song goes, “Everybody plays the fool, sometimes…”

My time was not long ago, at the Market District “Whole-​Foods-​Wanna-​Be” Giant Eagle in Wexford, as I was on a quest for German Chocolate. To call this particular Giant Eagle a “supermarket” is not accurate. Roughly the size of 400 football fields, it is a fully functioning city, complete with its own government and a sushi bar to boot. If any store would have my elusive German Chocolate, this would be it.

As I grabbed my cart and entered the store, I noticed the conveniently situated cup holder in my shopping cart. Cursing myself for succumbing to the gentle nudge of those marketing geniuses at work (Hey, lookie! A cup holder! It looks so empty… I better get myself a coffee!) I headed over to the in-​store Starbucks and bought the biggest latte available.

Adding the all-​important sugar, I placed the cup in its new comfy home and began shopping.

I meandered for a while (I had that luxury because my kids weren’t with me), but couldn’t locate the German Chocolate. I asked a helpful Giant Eagle employee but she couldn’t either. I gently ranted that the store has $28-​a-​pound Parmesan-​Reggiano Cheese, but NO German Chocolate. She smiled at the crazy lady.

Mildly frustrated, I swigged my then-​lukewarm coffee, when inexplicably the lid popped off and the entire contents spilled down the front of my mainly white and rather flimsy t-​shirt. I immediately asked where the bathroom was, and in-​between barely stifled giggling, an employee told me that the bathroom was located way in the back of the store.

Walking/​shuffling/​running to the bathroom, I locked the door, and tried to figure out how to remove this giant coffee stain. Spotting the sink and the automatic hand dryer, it came to me in a lightning bolt: rinse the shirt in the sink, and dry it under the “super blaster” hand dryer with the jet engine motor that nearly blows the skin completely off. The model of ingenuity, I am!

I peeled off my coffee shirt and spent a few minutes rinsing it in the sink, a little full of myself at my cleverness. Then I picked my purse off the floor and tossed it in the sink while I began drying the shirt. The dryer hummed, smoked, crackled and BAM! It turned off. The sound of running water was suddenly quite clear, since the dryer turned off — I’d placed my open purse in a sink with an automatic faucet. Now I had a wet white t-​shirt to wear and a purse half-​filled with water.

Scrambling for any way to avoid public embarrassment, I realized my options had run out. I proudly put on my t-​shirt, slid my dripping purse over my shoulder, and finished my shopping (avoiding the freezer and cooler departments.) The checkout clerk didn’t even blink when I handed her my damp visa card from my sopping wet wallet.

Lucky Giant Eagle customers received more than “fuelperks!” and “Free Cookies for Kids”, and “Absolute Minimum Pricing” that day.

Elizabeth Wiethorn

Elizabeth is a freelance writer and lifetime Pittsburgher who resides in the North Hills. She has worked in adult literacy, at a financial investment firm, as a kindergarten teacher’s aide, as a debt collector, and even as an entrepreneur. Her BA in English from the University of Dayton and her MBA from Duquesne University provide her with the unusual combination of being able to “cook the books” but also write a concise, grammatically-​correct statement denying all wrongdoing. She finds humor in the everyday and loves to laugh, especially at other people. All emails praising her undeniable talent can be sent to .

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