Tuesday, June 14, 2011

damn good jam

I was in Target with all my kids. You'd think I'd learn. But I don't.

So I was in Target and harried and trying to get out as fast as possible but I needed to get some pectin to make the strawberries into jam.

The strawberries had been sitting on my counter, ripening for two days.  Strawberries rot all too quickly if you ask me. I always feel it's me against the time clock of rotting berries.  Waste not, want not. Or whatever.

The berries were picked mostly by yours truly. I learned that taking two seven-year-old boys as cheap labor to the berry fields does not yield good results.   I think they picked a combined total of thirteen measly little green berries.  Jokers.

Anywho, the berries were ripening and I was under the gun and by damn I needed some pectin stat, along with other miscellaneous sundries.  And the babies were causing a ruckus in Target even after popcorn peace offerings were made. So I resorted to asking an employee.

"Hey do you carry pectin?"

"I'm sorry, what do you need?"


"Um. How do you spell that?"


"Hum. One minute. (Gets on her walkie-talky.) I have a guest here who is asking for pec-tin."

Here's where Birdie lets out her trademark pterodactyl screech because someone has touched her bag of popcorn. And the Boy has found a box of latex rubber gloves he can't live without.

And the employee on the other end of the conversation appears to help the first employee figure out how to type on her little handheld gadget.

"Pectin? What is pectin?" employee #2 says to me as if I were asking for uranium.

"It's used to make jam. It would be in the canning section if you have one."

"Oh. Let me see. (And now she's back on her walkie-talky asking someone named Shayla if she knows anything about pectin.)

At this point the popcorn has been dumped. Frankie's got his mouth on the handle of the cart getting all kinds of diseases and the Boy is mad because there are no rubber gloves in his future.

And here comes Shayla. And she looks promising. Like she is in charge and knows stuff.

"What is it? Pec-tin?"

And now she has the handheld gadget and she's typing away.

"Yes," I say, "it's used in canning."

"It's used in canning." Says employee #1 as if she knew all along.

"Oh yes. We do have that. Just a moment though. Just let me show these girls what I did here..."

I'm dying now. I'm so ready to pull out the ugly witch scream and let all my children have it. But you know, I'm in Target.

So finally Shayla leads me to the other side of the store, down the baking aisle.

And she hands me a box of gelatin.

Now. People. It took all I had to nicely say that isn't what I need and walk away.

As I drove home to the market I was thinking to myself, who doesn't know what pectin is? I mean really? Who are these people? 

But then I realized something. I'm lucky.  I know what pectin is because my mother taught me to make jam. I have never bought jam or jelly from the store. And maybe that's one of the many, many ordinary amazing things about my life.

And P.S. I make damn good jam.

Oh and P.P.S. Target does not carry pectin.


Jill said...

I am laughing my head off! Not at you ... but because I have been in that same position many times. More than once I have found myself screaming at the top of my lungs (in my head) at the "helper" at the store. Thanks for the laugh this morning! And I only wish that I lived closer so I could come and enjoy some of that delicious jam!

Love ya!

abode said...

Hilarious and the picture at the end - please sir, may I have another?

Julie said...

Too funny, and yes we are lucky we can make the stuff most people find in a jar or box on the market shelf. Good for you! Love you and your perseverance!

*katie said...

I had nearly the same experience in Target...the workers knew nothing! I didn't make it out to the strawberry fields this year, but I did go to blueberry fields up in Temecula that I had never known about!

Chelsea said...

Yay!! I just finished making strawberry jam at midnight last night, because I bought strawberries a few days ago and couldn't find that pectin anywhere! I'm a little picky and only like the Sure-jell brand, but thankfully my Target had it here in Utah! I now have a little stockpile of Pectin in my kitchen cupboard;)

50 Toes Photo said...

You are hilarious! What an adventure! I'm glad you found what you needed - and your beautiful berries didn't go to waste! I SO miss picking fresh California strawberries (there are NONE better!)!
Thanks for the laugh - I needed it today.

Heather Toller said...

You make me laugh. Daily. Thank you.

Jan said...

Nor, I discovered today, does Target carry cinnamon!

tollestrupfamily said...

Poor Shayla - she will never know how lucky she was that day because you just walked away. I would have been hard pressed to not make a snarky comment. But seriously, what is this world coming to when people don't know what pectin is?

Chelsea said...

Target carries pectin. What's great about when they get their canning supplies in for the summer is when they have to get rid of them in the fall. I got pectin for 75cents a packet. I bought a CANNER from there for $5. They have it, you just have to look in the most ridiculous places. And you're right - the employees don't know anything. It's best to go super late at night when the store stockers are there. THEY know where things are.