That’s my daughter’s favorite phrase. Everything is “awkward” from her nearly eight year old perspective.

We shop at the Safeway and like many chains, they have a discount card that lures people in and promotes loyalty by tossing bones here and there in the form of special member promotions and discounts at the gas bar. Rob gave me Shelley’s card to use after we moved in with the assurance that we’d get it replaced later as it had her name on it.

It was a hectic time. Moving from Iowa to Alberta. Getting married. Unpacking and packing and enrolling Dee in school and applying for residency and now it’s nearly three years later and I am still shopping with Shelley’s card at the Safeway.

And I don’t think about it very often. Oh, sometimes when a clerk makes a scrunchy bunny face at the card and my credit card but thinks better of asking why the names don’t match before handing it back. On those occasions I think “oh yeah, the names don’t match” or “whew, dodge that awkward conversation”. Well, not so much “conversation” as painful monologue because there is no conversation after the words “yeah, that’s my husband’s late wife’s card”. Although there probably is quite the conversation after I’ve left.

Today there a woman was being trained on the register by a clerk I am familiar with who smiled her recognition as she bagged the groceries.

“Are you a new club member?” the trainee asked.

“Excuse me?” I replied. Because I forgot about the name thing.

“Your club card has a different name on it.”

And instead of saying oh … nothing … or agreeing or anything else than what I did, I said,

“Oh, that. It’s my husband’s late wife’s card. We just haven’t gotten around to changing it.”


She hands the card back and looks at the other employee, the one I sorta know but who probably didn’t know this, and she is looking wide-eyed back.


Very, very awkward.

5 thoughts on “Awkward

  1. New Safeway card? Low on the list of priorities. I can barely imagine having so much free time that changing that would be worth it. I’ll bet there are dead people all over the U.S. and Canada and I wonder what companies are learning, from that, about the shopping habits of dead people and their tendencies to use coupons.

    Club programs bring out my inner anarchist, I guess.

  2. when i was a supervisor, one of my employees was killed in a car accident. i ‘adopted’ the widow for several months – we were on call to support her in any way she needed – i organized groups doing yardwork on request, meeting for tea, sorting death benefits, going through work-related papers she found at home, etc.

    she was using her dead husbands cell phone, so when it came up on my phone it was as if he was calling me…

    i never changed it. 3 years later? she calls me about once or twice a year to check in and let me know how things are going for her and the children. it still comes up as if he’s calling me. i probably should change it… but the ‘awkward’ is only mine.

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