The week before Christmas, I had to make a delivery over by the Raley's Supermarket near Stateline on the South Shore. The parking lot was full. I drove to the farthest corner up behind the supermarket.
Nix. Nada. Nope.
Driving across town, I noticed that the Safeway parking lot was also full. I needed some groceries, but I didn't even try.
A week later, right before New Years, we'd run out of some basics. I went to Raley's at "The Y," also on the South Shore That lot was full as well. Lots of cars covered with snow, some that hadn't moved for hours. I would have left, but I was desperate. Gotta have something to eat.
So I loitered in the driving lanes with all the other cars. Eventually, someone pulled out right in front of me and I got a space.
Inside the store, there were no shopping carts. There were no hand baskets. The mass of people in ski clothes was impressive. I saw no locals because I was apparently the only local who'd forgotten the rule that says shop before 8:30 a.m. or after 9 p.m. during holidays.
The produce section and the dairy section had entire shelves that were empty. The wine section was getting thin. The bread shelves were as lean as I'd ever seen. There were no employees roaming the aisles because they were all up front tending to the long checkout lines.
When my turn came, the checkout man looked harried. "Busy, huh?" I said.
He made a weak grin. "Job security," he said. "There's a few skiers in town." An impressive understatement. "But we love 'em."
"Yes, we do." I agreed.
No parking, no carts, no food. Tahoe's tourist life blood has arrived.