High jinks and utter foolishness at the grocery

Excitement awaits you in the soup aisle

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.

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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.  😉

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Strawberryindigo.

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27 thoughts on “High jinks and utter foolishness at the grocery

  1. Hello,
    This is Jackie. Are all these photos yours? If so, may I have your permission to use the first one on our magazine?

    Thank you.

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  2. We are all hunter-gatherers at heart still, stalking the urban jungle.
    My local shopping center is in a working class/welfare sub-class area next to a public hospital, so you get a great mix of raw humanity to look out. Nothing like the perfect,plasticized, homogenous middle class clientele you see in the adds on TV.

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    • Hey Rev! Shopping must be fun for you, If it is a 24 hr. joint I would try picking up a few items around 3 or 4 in the morning. This I have done a few times and everytime I do, I run into the most interesting people. 😉 Thanks for the input.

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  3. Oh, you have so wittily described the landscape of the 21st century grocery store. The store I go to has a “senior citizen” discount day on Thursdays. The assisted living centers in the neighborhood bring in their residents by the busloads. Add walkers in the aisles and shoppers who can’t remember where they left their carts to the general mayhem. I wish you could shop there on a Thursday and write about it – you would do the experience justice. I’ve not encountered the grocery cum furniture store before – it would certainly help to be able to sit down and rest my feet a bit via a convenient furniture display.

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    • IHello Heart to Harp, Very nice to see you! I think it would be fun to visit at the store you describe and take pictures. When I am shopping I am too busy to get any good photos. Also, I was afraid if any of the store personnel caught me taking pictures of people sprawled out on moderately priced cheap leather furniture, I would get into trouble with store security. Perhaps if we were there together I would be braver. 😉 thanks for the visit, Happy Spring!

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  4. That’s hilarious – you sound a lot like me in a shop (I’m hurried, busy and single). I often wish shops sold patience – I could certainly use some! I used to find shopping really depressing (unusual for a woman) but, I’m gonna try to think of your post next time I go and see if I start giggling in the aisles!
    Carol.

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  5. Hilarious and well-written! I.Hate.Shopping. You wrote about every yikes-inducing scenario! Have you ever been to IKEA? Now that’s a place I’m willing to go to…I’ve been that shopper whiling away the time on the merchandise, stuffing Swedish cookies into my mouth!

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    • IKEA frightens me. It smells like bad cafeteria food and the two times I’ve been there I got lost. It made my head hurt. Do you like cheap leather chairs? Would you buy one knowing that someone like me had sat in it all afternoon and eating cheetoes and getting that orange cheese powder all over it? What if you had a coupon? Let me know. I am flexible on the price… 😉

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      • If you sat on it, said leather chair would be a throne and beyond any double coupons!
        IKEA in Bejing is an elderly dating hangout…I heard it on NPR a couple of months ago. Wild, eh? Swedish Chinese matchmaking!

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  6. Charming! But at the risk of revealing my age it made me think of a time the snaps would have taken a whole lot more effort to produce and share with maybe a handful of friends. Thanks for a smile to start my day.

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