I know this probably sounds a little strange but visiting the grocery store can be a rewarding and educational experience and yes, it is a bit thrilling. I suppose that it helps to play these things up because in reality grocery shopping can be one of those elements of the daily grind that can really grind one up. It’s a boring chore of the mundane that can drive anyone crazy. Since I’m a mom to two growing teenagers I am forced to go food shopping on an a constant basis.
I pride myself on my shopping prowess and I am quite the shopping cart driver. I can turn on a dime and I am faster than you’d think so get out of my way. I am on a mission here. I have no time for doubt or indecision. Get what you need and go. I have no time for slow pokes blocking the aisles. Long lost lovers reuniting, old people arguing about soup and especially the one’s who park right in the middle and disappear; leaving their cart to parts unknown. Those are the worst. I try to carefully move their cart out of the way and if they catch me at it I get the dirtiest looks, its like I am molesting their produce or something.. I am tempted to throw small and expensive items like scented pine nuts and organic razor blades into their carts in hopes they are forced to pay for them.
I suppose at times I can get somewhat territorial and a bit hostile. It is a jungle out there. And It’s everyone for themselves. I have seen acts of desperation and cowardice. I myself have been victimized, my thick wad of coupons stolen from under my nose along with my grocery list to add insult to injury. I have been hit up by crooked foodstampers who want to commit food stamp fraud with me, hit on by the Pepsi guy, insulted by the Cheetoes guy and screamed at by a small child who wanted my mint chocolate chip ice cream.
I have learned to be tough and ruthless. I have learned about double couponing and what happens when you bag up lavender scented snuggle dryer sheets with dove dark chocolate and, I have learned much about my fellow humans.
I liken it to a jungle and it is. It reminds me of a wildlife safari. Each part of the store is like a different habitat; each with its own ecosystem. The frozen food wastelands: the habitat of the eternal bachelor. He is easily identified by his bulging cart of frozen pizzas, canned chili and beer. The organic food section sprinkled with pale hipsters in their 30′s who bring their own burlap shopping bags with inspirational messages written on them. The lemon-scented cleaning product section: the lair of the harried mom ( you can find me between the Pine Sol and the Febreeze) and one of my all time favorite places; the colorful and the sugary, the cereal aisle! This is the place for everyone to embrace their inner child. Hey the Froot Loops box says it has more fiber. Who am I to argue?
So many spontaneous moments happen in the grocery store. It is the perfect place to see a cross-section of humanity. The strangest scenes will play out in the aisles and believe I’ve seen it all. It seems some people liken the grocery aisle to their dysfunctional living room and they will act accordingly.
I go to a chain store that advertises one-stop shopping. That makes it interesting because it causes some items to mix with others that should not mix; Ortho Lawn Be Gone and Kraft Macaroni and cheese with chain saws, diapers and 12 different kinds of olives, for example. Throw in a Starbucks, a deli, a bank, a optomistrist and a day care center and you have more than a store… you have a lifestyle.
It also makes for some interesting sights and it certainly can be a convenience for weary shoppers. Take furniture for instance; it is hard to turn down a nice soft sit down on a comfy new sofa showcased next to the Doritos and bean dip. It is a common occurrence to see shoppers sprawling out on the furniture. I’ve seen people reading books, eating a sack lunch and playing games on their phone. I’ve seen old men napping and a young mother nursing her fussy infant. It seems the store not only approves of this but encourages it with big screen Hi Def T.V.’s tuned to The Sports Channel with cases of cheap beer a scant few feet away.
Food shopping can be quite the experience, every trip is a new adventure. At the very least I’ll get the makings of tonight’s dinner and a wee bit of my money will be set free out there to swim with the others, reproduce and stimulate the economy. So.. Happy Shopping! It’s the American way and remember Buy Local.