Tag Archives: grocery store

A Serenity Prayer for the Grocery Store

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As I walk through the automatic door, I will be calm and choose a grocery cart that will sufficiently carry my goods—not the small one that some other people jam to the brim on both levels because choosing a larger cart seemed too cumbersome.

I will gently wipe the handle with the provided disinfecting wipe, place it in the trash can and not on the floor with the others and proceed to the produce section.

Hmm…the wheel is wonky and OH MY GOD I JUST VEERED INTO A DISPLAY OF TRISCUITS AND EVERYONE IS LOOKING!

Deep breath.

Accept that they’re Triscuits and most likely already dry, smashed wheat in the box and remember it could have been worse, like glass jars or pop. I will courageously continue my journey, taking more time to pick out a head of broccoli and asparagus than I took to pick out my shirt, and then proceed to the rest of the store.

Great. This idiot is barreling down the middle of the aisle like a linebacker and refuses to obey the conventional commandments of a civilized grocery society. But some people never learn, and while I’m not above throwing a shoulder or putting my best foot forward to trip him, instead I will move to the side.

Karma doesn’t have an expiration date, my friend.

However, this container of hummus in my cart does and every second that I’m stuck behind this woman examining cans of soup like they’re a treasure map is a second that I’m nearing the date on my hummus. I’ll just swerve around and…of course. The other side is blocked by an employee with a cart full of boxes that he needs to stock.

Breathe in. Breathe out. Everything in good time, and by “everything,” of course I mean hummus.

My cart sufficiently filled with items that I can remember from the list I left at home on the counter-minus the three things they didn’t have in stock even though they’re on sale-I will make my way to one of the two open checkout lanes and hope I can break my streak of picking the one with the latest cashier-in-training.

Look at that! I’m second in line…behind a woman with 42 cans of cat food that need to be individually rung up and a variety of Lean Cuisine meals, all defrosting and blocking the UPC code to be scanned.  

That’s okay. No big deal.

I’ll distract myself with the magazines conveniently placed in the lane so I can flip through and not actually buy them. Let’s see: How to lose weight and gain friends, how to make recipes that will help you lose weight and gain friends, what celebrities have lost weight and gained friends. Oh yes, and Reader’s Digest.

Just breathe and don’t allow the incessant beeping of the 42 cans of cat food being scanned sear my brain and instead look to the other side of the lane—batteries, dog treats, lip balm and aspirin.

I think I might need that last one, because seriously? This woman is now debating two expired coupons and I’m about to just give her the 50 cents she would have saved in order to move this along. And is that…a checkbook? Now she’s going to write up a check?

Deep breath.

See? Now your groceries are being rung up and bagged and the light is at the end of the tunnel. Swipe the card, thank the cashier, grab the receipt and all 300 extra pieces of paper that get pumped out of the printer with it and head for the doors. Just steer your cart toward the car and…where the hell did I park?  

SERENITY NOW!

Well. at least there’s hummus.

For that, I’ll give an “amen.”

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The 10 Commandments of Grocery Shopping

Given the fact that the employees at my local grocery store see me more than my own family does, it’s safe to say that I have quite a bit of experience pushing a full cart around.

While I generally enjoy the experience because a) I love finding and checking things off of a list and b) food, there are a few simple things that would make it better for all those involved.

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Thou shall not leave your cart in an empty parking spot.

As I’ve said before, there are two kinds of people in this world: 1) those who return carts to the cart corral and 2) a-holes. Leaving a cart to find it’s own way home often results in the cart camping out in a parking spot someone will inevitably pull halfway into before realizing the cart is there and angrily backing out, pissing off people behind them. The carts have a home. Help them find their home.

Thou shall not walk down the center aisle of the parking lot

You do not have super-human pedestrian powers that override people in their cars trying to get past or around you. Pick a side—any side—and no one gets hurt.

Thou shall travel up and down the aisle like a civilized person

Up one side, down the other. If you’re barreling down the middle or the wrong side like a linebacker and clip my cart, I am not above throwing a shoulder. Also, try to refrain from doing a 180 halfway down a jam-packed aisle only to amble along as if you’re taking in the sights of the Louvre. It’s soup. Not the Sistine Chapel.

Thou shall obey the express line rules

The sign says 15 items or less. It does not say, “Everything you can stick in the small-ass cart you chose instead of regular cart.” That does not refer to the number of item types, but the actual item count. For example, those 75 cans of soup that took you 15 minutes to pick out does not count as a single item. You are not a special snowflake. If everybody ignored this rule, it would just be a regular line.

Thou shalt not decide against the frozen pizza you picked up in the frozen foods section and then place it on the shelf next to the shampoo

Really? Come on now, people.

Thou shall respect the invisible checkout line bubble of personal space

Regardless of how close you creep up or how many items you throw on the belt, you will be next—after me. If you continue to creep up, I will pretend to go through my coupon keeper for an extraordinary amount of time and chit chat with the cashier…unless you would like to pay for my produce. In that case, you have a deal.

Thou shall treat the cashier with respect

This means not chatting on your phone while she’s ringing up your groceries or getting ticked when she won’t accept the four expired coupons you thought she’d ignore. If you get caught trying to sneak in an expired coupon, just let it go. It’s 35-cents off of dish soap. You’ll survive.

Thou shall not stop at the exit to go over your receipt

Once given your receipt and all 300 extra pieces of paper that get pumped out of the printer with it, do not stop and read the receipt like it’s a treasure map. There is nothing on that paper that is that important that you need to throw on the brakes and cause a backup. Move it along.

Thou shall reconsider the self-checkout

Know your limits. Can you find a bar code on a product? Match the picture of bananas on the screen to the bananas in your cart? Flatten paper money to insert into a slot? If you answered “no” to any of those questions, don’t be a hero. Go through the normal checkout.

Thou shall not stalk for a parking spot

Finally, do not slowly drive behind me at 5 mph impatiently waiting for my parking spot that is often only two down from another available spot. Unless you’re going to get out and help me unload my groceries into the back, your insistence on sitting there, impatiently revving the engine on your minivan, will force me to do a full vehicle check—interior and exterior—before getting back in and leaving 5 minutes later.

Thank you for shopping with us.

Have a nice day.

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Stars! They’re Just Like Us!

Anyone who has “accidentally” flipped through an US Weekly magazine (as I did while waiting to get my hair did the other day) knows there is more important information on the back of a shampoo bottle than there is in that publication.

One of the most ridiculous things is the “Stars: They’re Just Like Us!” segment. For the uninitiated, this is where they feature photos of celebrities doing things like breathing, eating, drinking out of straws and carrying adopted children named after obscure fruits found in Ethiopian villages.

The captions of these paparazzi photos verify/explain the celebrity is breathing, eating, etc., since it would otherwise be unclear that this person is, in fact, a human doing shockingly mundane human things — just like us!

Lest you think I’m exaggerating, these are a few of the captions from that issue:

  • They Indulge in Fast Food!
  • They Strap on Shoes!
  • They Eat Off Others’ Plates!
  • They Use the ATM!
  • They Write Names in the Sand!
  • They Balance Cans!

I don’t know about you, but I would never have guessed that Jennifer Lawrence uses the ATM—just like me! Of course her balance is astronomically higher than mine, but still! She’s so normal!

To be fair, a lot of magazines make the assumption that we all live a charmed life. Food Network Magazine had a spotlight feature on a new cast member and her kitchen in the Hamptons.

She said, “People hear ‘the Hamptons’ and they think glitz and glamour, but it is really just farmland.” The article then goes on to suggest we pick up some of Katie’s finds for our own kitchen. Those include:

  • French Bistro stools $674
  • Rivera strop shade for a window $209
  • Natural-edged bowl hand-carved from a single log $564

I would, but I just won $2 on a scratch-off lottery ticket and am busy trying to decide if I want to take it in one lump sum or a dime for the next 20 years.

Anyway, I might actually take interest in these features if they included things I could relate to a little bit more.

Stars! They’re Just Like Us! They:

Light incense, forget they lit incense and then freak out when they smell smoke five minutes later!

Say, “There’s fungus among us!” while picking out mushrooms at the store!

Excel in “Procrastibaking”—baking instead of doing a bunch of more important things instead!

Get up 10 minutes early in the morning so they have that extra time to stare mindlessly at the wall as they shower!

Can go from “nothing sounds good” to “why isn’t there more of this to shove in my face?” in mere seconds!

Get terrified when putting back a shirt without folding it and then making eye contact with the store worker!

Beat the crap out of a black bean with their spatula when they thought it was a spider!

Spend more time picking out broccoli at the store than picking out the clothes that they wear!

Will practically break their arms before making two trips into the house with the groceries!

True, it might not be as glamorous as sharing that they “Pull Their Hair Back On the Go!” but you can’t tell me they’ve never stood up and had a chickpea fall out of their bra.

Now that’s a headline that I’d like to see.

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A Matter of Taste

The fact that the employees at my local grocery store pretty much know me by name is no secret. Along with multiple stops during the week for myself, I also do the grocery shopping for my mom (she hates it) and for my uncle (he’s physically unable.)

I don’t mind it, so I do it.

Grocery shopping for someone else is entirely different than grocery shopping for myself. Considering I’m not going to actually eat any of the items I’m purchasing, I’ll admit that I’m much less particular. A banana is a banana and an apple is an apple.

When I’m shopping for myself, I morph back into that delightful (annoying) person who carefully selects the best green beans out of the bin one by one and performs a full body of scan of a potential potato purchase with the intensity of a DNA expert on CSI.

Given the amount of produce that I eat in a week, I consider it necessary to ensure that the money I spend is going towards quality stuff. I will NOT be satisfied with limp beans, people. I will not!

Once my purchases are home, I am vigilant about washing the items before they wind up in my mouth (or on my shirt first, in all likelihood.) I’m not a freak about it, but I’ve witnessed people sneezing on open produce and little kids licking a vegetable and putting it back more times than I’m comfortable with.

That’s why a recent trip to the store has prompted this long-winded post.

First I was cruising through the aisles in pursuit of the two containers of overpriced pineapple my uncle has me buy every week when a middle-aged man walked by the green bean bin, grabbed a handful, started chomping down like a small woodland creature and continued to walk through the store.

What the hell?

Who walks by a bin of green beans and treats it like a buffet with no regard to the fact that a) it’s technically stealing and b) it’s technically gross (see above for snot and saliva encounters, which in this case, serves the dude right.)

Brushing it off, I wheeled my cart towards the grapes and spent 42 minutes trying to open the plastic produce bag before being joined by an elderly lady. From her lowered position on a Hoveround, she began popping grapes in her mouth from a number of bags with the dexterity of a Wack-A-Mole champ.

At this time, please see the paragraph above under “What the hell?” replacing “beans” with “grapes.”

Noticing that I was simply grabbing a bag of grapes without much fruity fanfare, she went on to lecture me about how I was wasting my money by not tasting each batch. She had been “scorned in the past” and was forced to throw out a batch of (literal) sour grapes, and now appeared determined to help others avoid a similar fate.

I politely told her that I was fine and that I would “buy on blind faith.”

Looking at me as if I had two heads—neither one of which was being supplied with green grapes—she went on to warn me of the perils of my decision. At that point I told her I wasn’t shopping for me, but for my uncle, and gestured to the denture cleaner and Right Guard deodorant spray.

Still skeptical, she was either full or thought I was full of it, because she shrugged her shoulders, popped another grape and left me with, “Well, suit yourself.”

As she turned and left in a motorized huff, I couldn’t help but notice that her basket contained no grapes. I guess there’s truly no accounting for taste.

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Watch out, Wonder Woman

It’s a bird! It’s a plane!

Anxiety Girl

No, I don’t have X-ray vision I can’t leap tall buildings in a single bound—heck, I can’t even leap over a puddle without getting wet somehow— but I have discovered that I possess quite a few of my own super powers.

You don’t believe me?

With my superhuman powers, I can:

  • Instantly populate a grocery checkout lane by accurately picking the wrong one to go through 87 percent of the time. The line might only have had one person with a couple of things to buy, but 20 minutes later, I’m still in line with six people behind me blocking me in so I can’t move.
  • Replace an empty roll of paper towel and/or toilet paper. I didn’t initially think this was any sort of superhuman ability, but evidently it is, as I always find a roll with one square left at the office.
  • Turn into a ninja when I walk through an invisible spider web. And even when I’m walking behind other people, my face can still find the spider web. This power is not to be confused with Spider-Man’s spider- sense, as although I do have a sense of premonition with some things, I obviously cannot sense impending spider webs or slow talkers.
  • Cause green lights to turn red. Whenever I’m in a hurry, all I have to do is think about how I’m in a hurry, and every green street light that I approach will instantly turn red.
  • Apparently motivate people to do their jobs. How? I can get up from my office chair for two minutes and return to  five “urgent” emails, two voicemails and a note that I just missed someone who really wanted to talk to me. None of this happens for the other nine hours I’m sitting there, only the two minutes I’m gone.
  • Bite my lip in one spot, think about how much it hurts and then bite it in the same spot within five minutes of the first bite. Yes, the same exact spot.
  • Turn water into, well, hotter water (the “water into wine” thing would be more helpful.) While it’s said a watched pot never boils, I can put a pot of any liquid on the stove, remember something else I wanted to do, walk away for 3.5 seconds and return to find the pot of liquid has not only boiled, but has completely overflowed.
  • Cause my hair to grow. I can go weeks without noticing much going on with my hair, but the day that I decide I need a haircut and make an appointment, it will suddenly start to freak out and grow long and shaggy in ways I didn’t know were possible. Every morning leading up to that haircut will be spent fighting against the follicle forces that be.

So as you can see, I should pretty much be filling out my application for my own comic strip and Blockbuster movie. I’m hoping it involves a shirtless Ryan Reynolds or at least a cute pair of superhero shoes, but I won’t hold my breath.

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That’s one super power I haven’t mastered yet.

How about you? Are you harboring and superhero tendencies?