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Saturday, July 20, 2013

Grocery Shopping Battlefield

For the record before I go any further, I hate grocery shopping.  Grocery shopping is where evil lives and thrives in America.  All manners, common courtesy, religious belief and just basic humanity is suspended from the human mind the moment people enter the parking lot of a grocery store till they leave the parking lot.

There is not one person in the United States that can ever claim that they have not run into people that have no manners in a grocery store.  It is almost as if a brain neuron shuts off as soon as you exit your car in the parking lot of the store.  This mental breakdown of common sense and manners gets worse the closer you get to the entrance of the store.  People forget that cars are bigger than they are but the coupons in their pocket will make them and the small children in tow immortal.  Cars are moving and the brain is off, must get a good cart before they are all gone.  And everyone knows that the start of a bad shopping experience starts with a cart that desperately pulls to one side or the other.  The last shopping cart that steered where you wanted it to is in the Smithsonian.  It was made in 1958.  I hear it is a huge crowd draw. 

People have their cart, have a list or just go from memory for the crap they must have to survive another week.  This is when mission impossible starts.  You must navigate the aisles at risk of losing your life or your ankles.  And yes, I have had my ankles rammed by aggressive shoppers numerous times.  That is when you as the victim get the fake, “I am so sorry, I didn’t see you there” auto response.  Then they grab from an overstocked shelf the same damn thing you were reaching for.  I’m telling you, this is a hunter gatherer battlefield that we call the grocery store.  Those fake smiles from all of those eighty year old ladies are not fooling me.  Shopping is war in their minds and they teach it to their daughters in secret.  And they pass it on to their daughters.    

Then you have the block and hold move.  This is where they park their cart mid to right of the aisle while holding onto the handle or basket and reach to the far left to ponder the purchase of an item.  I call this the “None Shall Pass” move.  They study the Lipton Tea box or whatever it is for a long time while others behind you tap your ankles with their carts because you are blocking their items on the shelf.  Turn your cart around and forget about rest of aisle two.

Then you have the “Communication Block and Hold” move.  This is when the person on the cell phone to whoever is on the other end of the call decides to turn their cart sideways in the aisle and describe the fifty items to the NSA to prove they are not a terrorist.  It’s national security.  You must turn your cart around and forget about aisle three. 

Everyone hates the wrong side of the road aka aisle shopper.  We drive on the right side of the road here in the good old USA.  What in the hell happened to these people in Zombie mode that drive a cart on the left side of the aisle in the supermarket?  My sister in-law likes to ram them and give the auto response “I’m sorry, I didn’t see you there”.  She’s like Chuck Norris in the grocery store.  Don’t mess with a mother of four daughters.  And yes, I have been with them and actually seen them all taking notes on little tiny pads of paper.  Even the four year old little Sarah took notes in crayon.  I’m telling you, this was a training shopping run for her daughters.  Future Navy Seals in the grocery store.

The next one I like to call “Losing Waldo”.  This is where they are in the meat department, they find some chicken, pork, or beef, they put it in their cart but end up putting it back on a shelf in the canned food area or anywhere that is not refrigerated because they changed their mind.  I’ve actually found steaks on top of Reese's Peanut butter cups in the candy aisle at one particular store recently.  Peanut butter is a protein and so is steak, might go there if you do not want it?  I did not buy the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups that day.  Do you think the associate actually checked the temperature of the meat product after they found it sitting there for an unknown amount of time and returned it to the meat department and put it back with the rest of the steaks in the display case?  Do you think they tossed all the packages of peanut butter cups?  Same thing goes with all kinds of frozen foods.  Frozen peas in the canned peas section because it was cheaper to go canned.  This is the Losing Waldo effect that can never be explained by modern science.  Common sense is suspended by some universal energy that the grocery stores control to make humans act like a three year old that doesn't want a cookie.  Yuck, spit it out.  Shiny object... ewwwww!

Produce is another topic for another day.  That is where the animal part of the human race as a gatherer comes out.  You have seen it first hand.  Someone tries a grape from one bag and they pause judging the taste of the grape, and then they grab another bag of grapes!  Same goes with many other fruits in easy to open bags or boxes.  Say nothing.  Don’t buy the grapes.  Never get involved in a produce heated discussion over a freaking tomato either.  People could be killed even though there is a stock room filled with more of the same produce but people do in fact get more aggressive in this department of the grocery store more so than any other.  We do farmer’s markets for produce.  My ankles are thankful.  My head and knuckles thank me every day; they could have been lacerated by someone with a perfect manicure or a guy that just wanted my tomato.

We come to the check out process.  Aggression levels go up by a factor of ten.  They have their stuff and you are not cutting or beating them to the shortest line.  Those motorized carts have a turbo booster that can only be used in the general area of the registers to check out.  This is the one time in your entire grocery shopping experience where you can see true evil in a person’s eyes and soul.  You may be tough but you are not tough enough to stare down someone with two carts full of food and cut ahead of them in any register.  Blood will be spilled.  Blood will flow from your ankles for sure if you thought you could out maneuver them.  And just like NASCAR, if you don’t have the right grip on the steering apparatus of your cart, you will be rammed causing serious damage to your knuckles if your grip is outside the bar that you are legally bound to steer your cart with.  No referee at the checkout so you pay the cost.  Lick your wounds while they whip out the thousand plus coupons and do battle another day.

As you pay your bill and finally get out of the grocery shopping trip to hell you can by all means ignore traffic and any moving large vehicles in the parking lot.  You have a cart full of bags and everyone knows that that makes you immortal.

One last thought.  If there is any kind of seasonal storm in any area of the country, you are on your own for emergency grocery shopping.  It becomes a survival of the fittest for those that must have a month’s supply of goods for a storm that will last one or two days.  Fingers may be lost if you grab one of the next to last twenty loaf’s of bread on the shelf.  Be safe people.  I recommend ankle armor during weather related grocery shopping trips.  No wait, I recommend it for every trip to the grocery store.


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