I previously posted this blog back in January, however, I just came back from the store and it was pretty much the same situation today as it was the day I wrote this.
Enjoy, and be glad you're home reading this instead of out doing your OWN grocery shopping. ;)
I don’t know about you, but I would rather wrestle rabid alligators than deal with the weekly trip to the grocery store. Nothing against the notion of shopping itself, but it’s a jungle out there; or rather, in there.
For me, it usually starts as soon as I reach the shopping carts. Guaranteed the first one I go for is going to be super-glued to the one in front of it. You’d think I’d learn and move on. But no, I usually end up tugging and pulling until people stare; then I move on to a different one. The next one is either soaking wet, has a suspicious-looking tissue in it, or is one of those special carts that not only has a squeaky wheel, but also pulls to the left. The latter is what I usually end up with.
So I’ll start making my way down the aisles, sounding like I’m pushing a hospital gurney and trying not to take out every display on my left, when I’ll
inevitably hit the first of many road blocks, otherwise known as The Aisle Hogs. These are the people who don’t care if there are other shoppers in the store,
don’t care if there are other people in the aisle; and certainly don’t give a flying French fry if you can’t get by them. With cart parked dead center in the middle of an aisle, at a slant, they will inevitably stand there beside it for all of eternity, staring spiral-eyed at boxes of mac and cheese. Even if I offer a polite “Excuse me,” it still won’t arouse them from their shopping-induced stupor.
I’ll also surely encounter The Old Home Week Committee. The members of this group feel right and just to conduct the business at hand—usually the town gossip, or news of Old Man Winkle’s hernia operation—by congregating directly in front of the busiest promenade in the whole store; the meat counter. Usually I, and several other weary shoppers now hopelessly stuck in the committee-generated traffic jam, will swap defeated, knowing looks until the meeting adjourns sometime within the next century.
Speaking of the meat counter—without fail, I always encounter at least one of the Meat Fondlers. These are the souls who need to be “in touch” with their carnivorous cravings, and therefore take it upon themselves to personally poke and prod every package of meat in sight, while I wait to find a break in the action so I can squeeze in and grab a roast. I’ve learned to be cautious here; for if I take something they’ve had their mitts on within the past five minutes, the Fondler in question—still feeling rights of first refusal—will shoot me a look that could fry a hamburger.
By some miracle, I will finally get—more or less--all that I came in for, and go to get in line. By the way, I’ve finally figured out how grocery store managers calculate how many cashiers they need in the store at any given time—I had several hours to think about it during the last time I stood in a checkout line—they take the number of shoppers, divide it by 73, and then send 9 other cashiers on break. At this rate, customers are lucky if the expiration date on their milk is still valid by the time they get to their cars.
The cashier-shopper ratio is only part of the hold up as inevitably several of the customers in front of me will all have their own little set of issues to make the line go slower. There are the coupon queens, the check writers who forgot their ID at home, and the people who need 18 price checks. Not to mention the long lost relative of the cashier, who feels the need to reminisce between the ravioli, rhubarb, and ricotta.
And finally—once I get done with everything else--there’s the epic question of Who’s Going to Bag. Since baggers seem to be an even rarer species than the people in the “12 Items or Less” lane who aren’t mathematically challenged, it’s usually a face-off between me and the cashier. If I decide that I’ve been through enough already and have absolutely no intention of putting anything in a bag, I will inevitably feel guilt as I’m sure the cashier probably hates the place more than I do, and I will help bag anyway. But if I’m determined to hold my ground, the cashier will—and I’m quite certain of this—purposefully be as slow as the maple syrup that will end up leaking in my bag. So usually I do bag--and I’m bitter about it--but I get out that much sooner.
Only to realize I forgot the milk…
As a side note, I've just published my first book, available on Kindle, and soon to be available in book form at Amazon.
Here's the link: