I don’t enjoy supermarket shopping. Rarely do I go unless I’m on vacation. Recently, I was reminded why I hate it so much. Was it my imagination? I perceived that my wife went into s-l-o-w-w m-o-t-i-o-n. It was like watching the final losing Super Bowl play over and over again. Supermarkets have a sort of cruelty about them. It ends at the check out line as I stand with head down staring at the floor. Wouldn’t want to get caught looking at tabloid headlines. …Other shoppers personal items would be worse.
We went through the aisles, then back through the same aisles in reverse. It was like instant replay. As a puzzled newlywed I asked my bride, “Honey, why do you go through all the aisles and not buy anything?” “I don’t know Sweetie, that’s the way I’ve always done it. “That way I don’t forget anything.” It still didn’t make sense to me. I instead concentrated on being a serious-minded shopping cart operator. Why did she lead me down the narrowest, most crowded aisles and suddenly change directions? She had the uncanny ability to disappear in milliseconds. Didn’t she understand that I had a reputation to uphold. …Now to turn this rig around.
“Honey, we need some potatoes.” “I saw them on aisle 27, Pumpkin.” “Yes, Dear.” I replied faithfully. The supermarket was such a scary place! Evil lurked around every corner. You never knew when another grocery cart would suddenly pop out and collide with yours. My mind wandered. The calm octogenarian gentleman slowly pushing his cart toward me could be a total maniac. …Using his cart as a weapon…The culmination of years living on a fixed income. His eyes narrow slits. …face frozen with determination… waiting for the exact moment to prey on the unsuspecting. If there was a God, let a yuppie shopper with a shopping cart full of gourmet foods and designer water suddenly appear. That would be my cue to escape his evil game.
“Sweetheart, did you get the potatoes?” “Yes, Dear.” I replied proudly. “Sweetie, those are red potatoes, I wanted russet potatoes.” I was confused, didn’t the word “russet” mean red? It turned out that russet potatoes were actually white. We made our way back to aisle 27. “Russet potatoes are better for baking.” “Oh” I said. “Sorry” “It’s OK Hon, you just didn’t know. “Look, they have twelve kinds of beef jerky.” “That’s nice, Dear.” “Let’s go to the check out.”
Cart pushers and sudden stops were invitations for disaster–especially if you had long objects in your cart. Cart thieves were the lowest form of life. Too lazy to get theirs from the front of the store, they’d seize yours. Spend too long perusing the frozen food section and it could happen to you. Your carefully selected items tossed aside as the thief made a clean getaway. There should be special punishment for cart thieves, just like there was for horse thieves in the Old West.
Maybe I should look at supermarket shopping differently? It could be a whole new realm of competition. Discounted canned goods sans labels could lead to an exciting party game. “What’s in the can?” Guess creamed corn and it could be pickled beets. Of course losers would have to eat the contents of their can. It has the makings of a new “Reality TV” show. Eat your heart out “Fear Factor.” Next trip go to the end of the aisle where sale items are carefully stacked in a pyramid. Select an item from near the bottom of the stack and carefully pull it out. This game is similar to “Jenga,” losers collapse the stack. Public humiliation would follow with the “clean-up on aisle three” announcement.
Perhaps the most spine-tingling challenge for shoppers happens when they enter and leave the facility. It’s a thrilling game of “chicken” as motorists challenge pedestrians to cross. Cross-walk markings seem to be there only as a suggestion. Runaway shopping carts in the parking lot provide plenty of thrills. “Attention thrill seekers!” “Step right up!” “Place your bets!” “I’ve got fifty dollars on the blue Toyota.” “Watch out, that cart is heading right for your car!”