Yup, merchandised right smack in the middle of the tampons and maxi-pads are the chocolate-covered almonds and peanuts. Brilliant.
At the end of the aisle, I find one of the late-night stock clerks replenishing boxes of toothpaste.
"So," I say, "Nice marketing in the feminine hygiene aisle."
He laughs, "Hey, it wasn't my idea. Must have been Head Office."
"I'm sure it was. It's brilliant, really."
"Well, it worked," he said, looking down at my basket containing a package of the chocolate-covered almonds in question.
"Yes, it did. And I'm not even PMSing." He laughs some more.
I continue my shopping and the clerk and I meet later in the potato chip aisle, aka Mecca for the Tall Penguin. I pull two bags of Sour Cream 'n Onion off the shelf. He looks into my basket and snickers.
"A basket full of junk food, eh?" he says.
"Not so," I say, "Look again. That's a basket full of junk food and condoms. All a girl needs these days for a satisfying life." We laugh. "And hey, don't knock it," I add. "Remember, I'm helping pay your slave wages." I make my way to the checkout, leaving my newly-made friend to his job.
The cashier rings through my purchase. Somehow I've managed to spend more than I planned. But such is the rule of late-night shopping. The munchies always get the best of you.
As I'm heading out of the store, my clerk friend meets me to offer a "Sleep well." I smile. It's moments like these that make life just a little more bearable.