Snow trouble, no shovel

Alexandra Golden Assigning Editor Zaria Johnson Editor-in-Chief

Of all the things on our lists of essential supplies for our first apartments — a vacuum cleaner, oven mitts, toilet paper — a shovel was not one of them.

One of us never shoveled anything in her life, and the other always had to help her dad as soon as the first snowflake hit the pavement. Sure, winter always happens and we should be prepared, but we’ve never seen it happen like this.

No snow on Thanksgiving, no snow on Christmas, no snow on New Year’s: things were looking pretty clear. Until our girl Izzy brought what felt like a whopping 12-foot “F-you” for warming the planet and ruining the seasonal system, right when we started getting comfortable. 

Even then, we still weren’t concerned with shovels. Zaria’s apartment complex University Oaks provided shovels for their resident’s to borrow early in the day, so her car was in the clear. Alex luckily had friends who lived in her complex who let her borrow a shovel to get her car out to start the venture. 

So, as a pair of retail therapy-obsessed college students do, we decided to spend the day out at Outback taking advantage of Alex’s employee discount. We planned to follow our discount dinner with shopping sprees at Five Below and Target but very quickly, it seemed, our plans were derailed.

Instead of retail shopping, the two of us and another friend found ourselves driving to Macedonia’s Target to hunt for shovels. Alex called beforehand to make sure they had shovels in stock, and after hearing they had a few left, we made the 20-minute venture.

As soon as we entered the store, we were met with mostly empty shelves except for a few metal, garden ones. Zaria coped by browsing the face-shaped flower pots in the next aisle, leaving Alex to ask an employee if there were any winter shovels in the back. Luckily, she said there were! 

The problem? Target only had one shovel and three of us on this trip. Our friend called dibs, so Zaria and Alex went back to their apartments shovel-less. Alex left instead with an ill-fitting Target two-piece, and Zaria with a DIY lavender kit that she’ll inevitably kill. 

Who knew in 2022 it would be easier to find a COVID test than a shovel? Not us. 

At that moment, neither of us realized how badly we needed a shovel until Alex called Zaria at midnight crying in the Eagles Landing parking lot because all the spots were either filled with cars or partially buried in snow. 

Zaria grabbed two of Oak’s complementary shovels and headed to Eagles to save the day. In just under an hour, we cleared a spot. Unfortunately, after Zaria helped Alex get a parking space, she lost her own. Luckily, she had a friend in the area that she stayed with until the next day when more spots were cleared at her complex.

After Izzy’s snowfall, Oaks revoked our shovel privileges since many of Zaria’s neighbors decided to keep them for themselves (not Zaria, she returned hers). 

Last week, Winter Storm Landon was all anyone could talk about, and we knew shovels were necessary. The Sunday before the storm, we took a much needed trip to Outback so Zaria could get her discounted toowoomba salmon fix, followed by another adventure for shovels. We went to Target, Walmart, Ollie’s, Home Depot, you name it, we went there.

We thought all hope was lost. It seemed as if no store in a 20 mile radius had any shovels, besides the last two child-sized shovels we bought at Ollie’s. 

After leaving Ollie’s, Zaria placed a Walmart pick-up order for two, fairly flimsy looking shovels. The website didn’t have any information on stock, so our expectations should’ve been low, but we remained fairly optimistic. 

Walmart canceled our pick-up order the next day, saying there were no shovels in stock after all. We thought we were screwed, stuck with two baby-shovels that didn’t look like they could shovel much at all. 

We’d like to take a moment to shout out Ace Hardware for having a few shovels available for pick up on their website. Without a second thought, Alex placed an order for two shovels. She thought what happened at Walmart was going to happen again. 

Alex got the confirmation email that the shovels were ready to be picked up. As silly as it sounds, it felt surreal. After all these adventures and scavenger hunts we finally got shovels.

Alexandra Golden is an assigning editor. Contact her at [email protected].

Zaria Johnson is editor-in-chief. Contact her at [email protected]