The grocery store. An inevitable chore. An evil place. I had to make this trip today to restock my echoing, empty larder. I know probably everyone has had their grocery store post, so this is mine. It’s always a roller coaster of emotions for me. I get excited to go because I am always so optimistic that 1) I will save money because of smart decisions and wise choices and 2) that these products will make meals of unprecedented delicacy that would make you want to slap your mama. Yeah, neither of these things happen. After the initial excitement wears off and I am actually in the store, my emotions run the gamut between anxiety over price versus quality and frustration at the wonky wheel on my shopping cart that makes pushing it around seem like I’m behind a mule and a plow in a field in the rain. I get excited and hopeful again when I get home because I’m like a kid on Christmas morning. Look at all this stuff I just got and the fun things I can do with it!
There is always the screaming/crying/tantrum-throwing kid. Always. On this I can depend. As grocery stores do not give away their products like Canada does its healthcare, I must spend money to obtain these products. Being in the unenviable, but necessary position of having to further deplete my bank account, I would really appreciate the ambiance of the environment to be of a zen-like nature. Calm, sedate, harmonious are words that come to mind. (Idea: Instead of the little sample cups of the newest frozen novelty, those cups should contain Valium and/or Xanax with little shots of Jameson or Patron to wash it down. That would make the shopping experience much more pleasurable and soothing.) There should exist a peaceful aura that puts one in a tranquil state so that when that dreaded time comes as the “checker-outer” scans the last item (always the loaf of bread … or light bulbs) and your total appears on the screen, there is a sense of serene surrender to the inevitable, burdensome necessities of life. Sometimes … most times I make a list. Sometimes … most times I forget the list. Incessant wailing assaults the brain making recollection impossible, ergo, I will forget the things on my list … that I left at home. Discipline must not be effective within the boarders of the grocery store. It’s like the walls were built with some kind of common sense kryptonite rendering parenting ineffective. I’m sure this is probably a known fact among parents, which is why they don’t bother, and because I have no offspring (of the human nature), I am excusably ignorant of this. Maybe I should cut them some slack? Nope. I’ve looked some of these kids in the eye, and they are undeniably the spawns of the devil.
There is always that person (I’m not going to profile or stereotype or name names) who acts as if they are the sole shopper in the store, obliviously navigating the aisles with no regard for anyone else, especially those with the forwardly-mobile challenged cart. I was going to say that they knew who they were, but they don’t. They really don’t. In their grocery store world, no one else exists. They feel they can rightfully stand directly in front of the cereals without flinching when you say, “Excuse me,” and then you are forced to reach in front of them to grab the box of Honey Nut Cheerios. It’s almost an inappropriate move. The grocery store experience can be a slippery slope when it comes to space invasion. Sometimes it just gets too personal.
I can resist everything in the freezer aisles — those nasty frozen pizzas and the TV/diet dinners that taste like cardboard covered in ketchup — however, I get to the ice cream and lose my mind. The decision on whether to buy those new ice cream bars, Magnum, is a tough one for me. (I know. I know. The name totally throws you off. Am I buying ice cream or am I buying condoms?) I might stand in front of that case for a full five minutes agonizing over the decision of should I or shouldn’t I. I go back and forth in my head weighing the advantages (um, have you had them yet?) and the disadvantages (well, I always like to pretend to myself that I don’t eat empty calories). I finally make the decision that I knew from minute one I would make. I don’t get them. I talk myself out of them. However, on this last trip, I got them! I hope that my will is stronger next time, but after eating the whole box in one day (there were only three … and they were very small), I don’t think that will happen. I can’t believe I just admitted that. But I’ve said earlier that I have a high metabolism. I just hope it can withstand my new addiction.
I have a problem with the lobster tank in the seafood department. Not only does the spawn of Satan’s unchecked howling put the lobsters in a higher state of stress in which they already are, knowing their fate, but does anyone really know how long those poor lobsters have been living in that tank. Really? Not like you can tell them apart. “Went to the store today. Franklin wasn’t in the tank. Guess his number was up.” I imagine it being like the dentist’s tank in the movie Nemo where there’s a hierarchy and an impending sense of doom. They never know who’s next, but they do know that at any time, the Hand of Death might plunge itself into the tank waters, snatch them up and bring them to their inevitable, premature death. I’ve never bought lobsters from the grocery store. I’ve never cooked lobster. If I do eat lobster, it’s because I ordered it off of a menu. I fully accept my limitations when it comes to cooking. Even though I am a true southern girl who eats crawfish and crabs, alligator and squirrel, it breaks my heart to see them in that tank.
The check-out. Ah, the infernal check-out. I always get in the shortest line which ends up being the longest line. The person in front of me always has some kind of check-out drama — put this amount on this card and I’ll pay the remainder in cash or has sub-purchases within the collective groceries because they’re shopping for multiple people. My personal favorite is the one who will argue over 12 cents. A dime and two pennies. I have more than that on the floor of my car. An uncomfortable moment happened today when I neglected to bring in my own “green” bags. I do use them more often than not, but they’re kind of like the grocery list — well intended but forgotten. But at my grocery store, if they’re bagging your groceries in those land-filling, non-biodegrading plastic bags, the shoppers in the other lanes look at you as if you’re drowning baby kittens in the bathtub while laughing. I can feel their judgmental eyes glaring at me. I want to yell out, “I left them in my car and I was too lazy to walk back out to get them! That just means I’m lazy, not environmentally unconscious! If you’re going to judge me, judge me correctly.”
In summary, I marginally love and mostly loathe “making groceries.” And there you have it — my first (and hopefully only) grocery post.