10 Reasons Why I Shouldn’t Go Grocery Shopping without Supervision

1. The parking lot.

The uncontrolled behavior starts before I even get in the store. I’m one of those who doesn’t like to park anywhere near the entrances to a retail establishment, because some drivers are incredibly stupid and inconsiderate and I don’t want them maneuvering a vehicle into the slot next to mine. (I happen to prefer that my own car not have dings, dents, hanging bumpers, and paint scrapes that were not part of the factory finish.) So I park in Brazil, and then I walk.

Trouble is, this lengthy hike (I make sure I have plenty of water and a snack or two) means that I now have to walk past all of the people I was trying to avoid. People backing up without looking, idiots trying to turn into a slot while you’re still strolling past it, random children who have been psychologically destroyed by the non-purchase of a toy, and cretins who think belching and grabbing at their junk at the same time is some type of art form.  By the time I actually get to the store door, I’ve got a negative attitude because I’m already tired and our society is clearly doomed.

2. The shopping cart selection.

Some folks just have an eye for spotting a properly-functioning merchandise conveyance. They waltz up to the shopping-cart petting zoo at the front of the store, not even hesitating as they make their decision, and then manage to choose a cart that will function beautifully for the next two hours, never once making the tiniest squeak or doing that annoying thing where some of the wheels lock up like you just ran over an armadillo and then those wheels don’t roll right ever again.

Me? I can’t even get the carts to separate. My first choice is always the one that has somehow become welded-for-life to the spooning partner behind it. I can jerk and rip and tear but the carts refuse to stop copulating. The same thing happens with the next several random picks. By the time I finally get one of the carts free, I’m sweating and cussing and slightly foaming at the mouth, causing small children to tug on their mommy’s skirt and promise to be good the rest of their lives if they can just be taken away from this place with the scary man.

And, naturally, the cart I finally liberate is one that has had a hard life of drug and alcohol abuse. Only one of the four wheels even tries to work, with the other three digging in their heels or stubbornly trying to head in a direction that does not appeal to me in the least. It’s like trying to push a Buick across the bottom of the ocean. And the noise all of this makes? First-responders often show up and hand out evacuation guidelines.

3. I can’t get from Point A to Point B and then calmly find a check-out station.

Nope. I end up running all wild-eyed from one end of the store to the other, 400 times. To be fair, I always have the best intentions of following a plan (non-perishables first, refrigerated next, frozen after that, and alcohol as a reward at the end), but I rarely stick to it. I just somehow lose my focus and my sense of logic, and I often have to make repeat trips to the exact same part of the same aisle. (Because grabbing both peas AND corn during the same pass makes entirely too much sense, right?)

4. The cheese section.

This is one of those spots where I completely lose my mind. I’m not even supposed to be eating this stuff, cholesterol issues and all, but before I even realize what I’m doing I have all manner of shredded, sliced, cubed, bricked and processed cheese piled into my cart. I always get too much. We won’t even be able to eat half of it before it expires, and cheese doesn’t expire for a really long time. It’s not like some of the other emotionally-weak dairy products that can expire before you pull into your driveway. (On the flip side of the dairy-longevity spectrum, although I don’t think it’s really dairy, is that odd soy milk stuff. We drink it and all, I actually like the taste, but have you ever taken a gander at the expiration dates? I have mortgages that will be paid off before a half-gallon of that mess will actually turn. What’s going on there?)

5. I am the one that irritates you in the frozen food section.

Full confession: I hold the doors open too long until everything fogs up and you can’t see anything inside the units, which makes people frustrated and bitter and not apt to speak kindly of you. I can’t help it. See, I eat a lot of those low-fat, low-cal diet things. (More of that high-cholesterol issue, and my weight issue, and the general issue of not wanting to go into cardiac arrest as I reach for another triple burger with a side of lard fries at a drive-thru mega-chain.) I realize the healthiest thing is to simply prepare my own meals using fresh and organic produce, exercise daily, practice yoga, avoid additives and donate to the World Wildlife Federation, but let’s get real. Who has time for that?

So I eat frozen things that have been sucked dry of all possible fat and any possible chance of being celebrated for the exquisiteness of the cuisine. But since I have to make the best of it, I try to pick out entrees with the most promise for actual flavor. Which means I stand there with the door open, pondering, inadvertently creating the ghostly, irritating frost layer that drives other people crazy as I try to decide between the Garlic Chicken Surprise and the Fiesta Fish Frenzy. Mea culpa.

6. The chip aisle.

I love potato chips. Worship them. But they don’t love me. I can just glance at a bag and I gain two inches around my waist as punishment for the glancing. So again, I try to be good by forcing myself to select something that has been “baked” instead of “fried”. (Translation: “tastes like cardboard” instead of “holy cow, I just had a salt-laced orgasm”.)

But it appears that the “baked chip” people are very busy, always coming up with new flavors that sound very promising. So I buy everything that comes along, desperate and hoping. But it rarely works out, and after I try one chip the bag is shoved into the back of the pantry for all eternity. Just the other day I found a parcel of “Uncle Granny’s Zesty Sea-Salt Tidbits of Nothing” in a dark corner of that pantry. It had an expiration date in 1987.

7. The weird aisle that combines cleaning products and scented candles.

I suppose there’s a reason why all of these things are lumped together, but apparently my attempts at higher education have not given me the proper deductive skills. Perhaps it has something to do with the Retail Gods realizing that certain Americans are completely uninterested in proper house-cleaning, so they might as well offer you Plan B, which consists of an array of overpowering candles that can mask your domestic ineptitude.

And thusly, the came up with those “air-freshener” candles that are supposed to detoxify your house, eliminate stanky odors, and convince you that your home has become magically located in a Tahitian paradise.  (And possibly increase your libido, based on the often-startling images of scantily-clad women succumbing to self-pleasure in a bathtub whilst accompanied by artfully arranged flower petals).

These candle-makers are just as busy as the chip people. There are at least three new scents every time you walk down that aisle. So I have to experience each and every one of them. (The fingernail on the index finger of my right hand actually has a callous from all the scratching and sniffing.) So of course I’m always buying more, despite the fact that we already have enough unburned candles in this house to light a medium-sized Catholic church for the next two hundred years.

8. The fancy deli section.

Why pay less for a pre-packaged container of sandwich meat when you can pay even more for someone to physically slice the same exact meat on one of those blade-twirling machines and then lovingly place it in a special bag for you? Both versions of said meat have been sitting in the stockroom for the same amount of time. But I will happily pay ten bucks for three slices of designer pastrami that have been cut to my exact specifications, even when the rude little 12-year-old managing the hacksaw doesn’t listen to me and screws up the dimensions.

9. The ice cream section.

I have sinned. And I have sinned repeatedly. My craving for ice cream is why nuns were invented to beat people with rulers. Seriously.

10. My inability to be a patient human being in the check-out lanes.

You want to cut me off with your cart even though I saw the shorter line at Lane 12 before you did? Don’t think so. You want me to tolerate your screaming child who apparently cannot continue living unless you buy him a candy bar that will sugar-rush him to even greater heights of insubordination? Not gonna happen. You want to argue about getting to use a coupon that is not only expired but has nothing to do with anything that you are trying to purchase? I will pull out a machete and—

Oh, who am I kidding. I will just stand there and put up with it all and curse you under my breath. Because if I do something stupid and get my ass arrested due to your misunderstanding of acceptable human behavior, it’s just going to be that much longer before I can get back to my house where I can eat the taboo cheese, not eat the low-fat crap that I don’t want, suck down the ice cream using a shovel, and enjoy the aroma of yet another new candle, this one bearing the enticing name of “Shanghai Breeze and Pastrami on Rye”…



Previous footnote: Originally published in “The Sound and the Fury” and “Bonnywood Manor”, minimally revised for this post, mainly in the correction of a horrid “paragraph” that was actually one long sentence that was so grammatically offensive that my eighth-grade English teacher knocked on the front door twenty minutes after that post hit the airwaves. She had her ruler with her.

New, trivia-based footnote: The first time I shared this one on Bonnywood, it was my tenth fledgling post, many years ago, and I was still aglow with that starry-eyed belief that moving my blog from Blogger to WordPress would do great things for my literary career.

That tenth post only got TWO likes. Two. And I don’t think either of those two people are even on WordPress anymore.

But I stuck with it, and here I am now, lucky enough to have met some terrific people who have the patience and kindness to check in regularly and see what kind of messy soup I’m serving today. Even if I double-dip from the pot more often than I should.

It’s been a long, strange trip, y’all.



39 replies »

  1. Ummm, watch that shredded cheese – do you know how they keep it from sticking together?
    Processed food is the culprit for cholesterol, excess weight and so many issues. Plant based as your primary way of eating is best. And not hard to prepare. BUT – since I started becoming educated about foods, my grocery bill is higher.
    And never go shopping the first week of the month. Because THEY are all out there.
    It’s all part of the plot you know.

    Liked by 3 people

    • I think the shredded cheese is watching ME, knowing full well that I will fall for its charms, despite the chemical non-coagulants. It’s a twisted web, one that also includes the processed byproducts of nothingness. Life has changed dramatically since we hunted and gathered in the primordial forests of yesteryear. Now we are faced with the dilemma of exorbitant grocery bills to remain healthy versus cheaper alternatives that will clog our arteries within seconds. Just not fair.

      And yes, it’s a plot. And yes, they are out there. We must remain vigilant and wary… 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  2. My pet peeve is that little darling of six or so who’s gotta/wanna/ hasta wheel the trolley. They reach up with their sticky little fingers to control the oscillating travesty, one puny push, and they then lose interest. Another petulent push, which comes to shove, and the overladen rattletrap is off and away, fate letting it take its own course. Naturally, it homes in on me, or, to be precise, into the ankle that’s attached to the swollen foot that’s attached to the toe with the infected hang nail. All Mom offer are limp excuses as I limp away, swearing bloodily away.

    Liked by 4 people

    • It’s really quite shocking, this modern allowing of the children to operate vehicles without impunity. Back in my wee bairn years, I would never dream of usurping a duty allotted to the adults. It just wasn’t done. And the vehicular carnage resulting from such an abandonment of responsibility? Pure outrage. That little darling is due for a court appearance…

      Liked by 1 person

  3. So, those lesson that I gave you are working out then??! 😉
    Local stores have added limit switches on dairy and egg shelf doors. Opening dairy doors makes speakers above, go MOO. Egg doors go cluck-cluck-cluck. Holding either open too long, they send back the cart-retrieval boy (He ain’t doin’ anything, anyway), to see of you’ve passed out from the increased prices and are blocking the door. 😛

    Liked by 2 people

    • That sounds rather Orwellian. And mildly exciting. I shall dream tonight of doors that moo and cluck, never having experienced such. Is this the result of some sort of legislative malfeasance in your parts?


      • I don’t believe that local politicos are intelligent enough to malfease such a thing. This is just one supermarket chain, and not at all of their stores.
        I’m still trying to imagine the bottom line justification, because, we know, corporations don’t often do things without some expectation of reward. The only thing I can think of is a power reduction, because it’s an audible signal that a cooler door has been held, or jammed, open too long.
        This is a cheap neighborhood. The J. M. Schneider meat-packing company was born here. I toured it in the 1980s, when they were using the walk-in vault as a Faraday cage to protect the newly installed infant computer. The guide boasted that nothing of the cows or pigs was wasted. The pigs’ tails were straightened out, to use as toothpicks, and the squeals were saved to use as the lunchtime whistle. 😆

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I love this post because I can identify with it on so many levels. Let’s just start with the chip aisle, I’m an addict, especially when combined with French onion dip, so I can’t even go there unless I plan to buy and go on a bender of slat, grease, and crunch.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I’m always inspired, but that inspiration does not always translate well when it comes to the scribbled word, so I’m glad the fates aligned with this one. And thank your for zeroing in on my favorite line with this piece. As long as I can get one good zinger out of the mess, I’m quite content… 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  5. (I happen to prefer that my own car not have dings, dents, hanging bumpers, and paint scrapes that were not part of the factory finish.) So I park in Brazil, and then I walk.

    I prefer the opposite. I drive ’56 International Harvester pickup that’s been reduced to mostly rust and bondo. The bed is filled with old concrete and rebar and a bumper sticker proudly proclaims, “This country was built by God, Guns and Guts.”

    No one parks anywhere near me. In fact, whenever I park upfront, people come out of the store to move their vehicles.

    It works great for commuting too!! Never have a problem changing lanes!!

    Liked by 3 people

    • I think you might be on to something. I drive a measly 4-cylinder Toyota SUV. It gets great gas mileage, but now I’m thinking I need something that says “I’ve been rode hard and put up wet, so bring it on, buddy, and we’ll see who wins”. Buddy probably will, but at least I can dream about it… 😉


  6. gotta tell you, I sympathize. Especially the cheese…pepper jack and baby swiss on the same sandwich … better buy extras. I note the root beer in photo…I paid 6 dollars for 12, twelve ounce cans of birch beer because I haven’t seen birch beer since I went to an Orioles game (when the team homed in Baltimore) in 1960. It was only when I got home I realized the slogan on the box was “made with real sugar”. I took one sip and it didn’t taste a thing like the birch beer I remembered. Nasty stuff. I barely trust myself to grocery shop anymore. Even when I wear camouflage, hunker down and shop the perimeter, I end up with a confusing assortment of things guaranteed to be on the shelf long past the use by date. The only answer is to eat out every night and on the night when you order the gourmet delight, complain and they’ll give it to you for free because you’re always in there. Okay, now see what you’ve done. You have my mind racing with ideas, just when WordPress has apparently embargoed my blog. Their exact words were, “We’re investigating but we can’t say how long (editor’s note: in a tone that suggests never) it will take.” That’s okay, just gives me more time to read at Bonnywood.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Okay, first, the pepper jack and baby swiss combo sounds like something I had better try on my next sandwich.

      Second, birch beer? What, pray tell, is that all about? I’ve never heard of such. Then again, I was born in Oklahoma, so the odds are vehemently stacked against me.

      Three, I completely understand the initial plan of staying to the grocery-store perimeter, but I inevitably end up with things that we will never eat in a timely manner.

      Most importantly, four, what is this mess about your embargoed blog? Do I need to call my Uncle Vito so he can take care of things? Just say the word… 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      • Pepper jack and baby swiss, they mingle and merge and tantalize the tastebuds…so yummy that even the salty proscuitto becomes just an accompaniment.

        Birch beer…think root beer, but created with love from the root of the birch tree…non alcoholic but divine…at least that’s how I remember it. Was much disappointed by the 2019 version.

        About timely…I just purged my pantry of all outdated foodstuffs. Alas, my cupboard is bare. Shopping I must go.

        I have been salvaged from the pit of persona non grata. My work now appears in reader and my followed blogs are showing once again for me to peruse. I took the slight as a subtle revenge but have been assured it was merely a glitch that occurred every other day on months of thirty days, and every day on months of thirty one…and more often if I needed a reprimand. Ok…that is not at all what was said, just how I read it.

        Please ask Uncle Vito to standby. I’m trying hard not to dis-enthuse the operators of the press but one never knows what might inadvertantly tilt the cart.

        Liked by 1 person

    • I often wander out of the cheese section in a complete daze, unaware of what I might have done in there but fully aware that I can barely push the grocery cart, loaded down as it is with bricks of dairy… 😉


  7. Oh, I can relate, Brian. I figure grocery stores are where pagans like me do penance for all their earthly transgressions. It’s a test. We’ve frequented our local store for 20 years and thus knew exactly where everything was and could get our shopping done in the space of two Barry Manilow Muzak songs. However, they’ve just done a remodel and moved everything. It now takes forever to do our shopping. Plus, we’re bewildered by the marketing logic that has placed the mustard and dill pickles next to the light bulbs, and the (sacred) potato chips alongside the band-aids.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Isn’t it shocking when those remodels happen? You get used to a routine, and then they screw it all up with the salad toss. (Interestingly enough, one of our local chains ALSO chose to align the potato chips alongside the band-aids. I fail to see the connection. Then again, I haven’t worked in retail for 30-plus years, so there must be an important book I haven’t read. That happens quite often in my life… 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I laughed the first time and I’m laughing now. You gained a reblog on my late this week Ticklish Thursday post too. Wow. I’m guilty of the cheese thing. I probably shouldn’t eat as much of it as I do, but hey! When your vices have been stripped away,. one by one, you cling with death like intensity to those which are left. (yeah try to remove cheese from my menu. I’ll probably stab you with one of the cutesy toothpicks sporting those zippy flags on them that the deli section uses on those cubed cheese proferrings they give away for free. I finally figured out they give that cheese away free because nobody bought it when it was ‘fresh’ and the mold and old age factor has set in. Still tastes fine to me though). Ice cream has sadly sailed. Lactose or ice cream. Eh. No choice really. I didn’t eat the ice cream I had when I COULD eat it without sullying the air around me so much that birds were literally dropping out of the sky stone dead. Maybe I should fart at the insistent yellow jackets, but I don’t need those irritable creepy little buggers stinging my ass… 😐 Um. TMI probably. And I’m the worst in the checkout lane. I refuse (mostly) to use those self serve things, I never can figure out where to push what button and when, and if I mess up on an item’s price? To whom does one bitch? No. I like the human touch when checking out my groceries and assorted impulse items. The other day I ran across a coupon drone just like the one in your tale….she didn’t speak English very well (well she probably DID but she refused to let those who do in on her duplicity) and she kept insisting the checker was wrong…even to pulling out an ancient (and expired) newspaper with the old coupons on it. I wanted to ram her stupid ass with my wheelie cart. If I’d been standing all that time I might have murdered the stupid bitch by stabbing her with one of those dusty and surprisingly crusty old newspapers she had hoarded. The checker, an experienced and wise old owl (I know her well) was patient and pointed out the date (2016? And you’re trying to pass it off as current??!) and suggested substitutions for the items that weren’t on sale any more. Another reason I could not work with the public. I lack the patience.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Oh, this is a very revealing comment. (Well, I’m not surprised, and I’m certainly not offended or trying to distance myself from your wordage, but I like getting little tidbits that further etch out your personality.)

      I am completely on the same page with the outrage at the winnowing of our allowable digestive pursuits. What happened to those days when I could consume mass quantities of anything and nary a disturbance did occur. Now? Everything that I put in my mouth must be carefully considered and IT’S NOT FAIR. It’s not like I’ve led a hedonistic, self-absorbed life. (Okay, maybe a little bit.) But I’ve generally been good and certainly tried to be healthy. So why am I being punished at this point? Sucks.

      Brief shining light: Ice cream does not yet set me off. But I’m sure my days are numbered.

      More enduring dark light: Most people are just stupid and annoying. Sure, you have every right to to live your life in the manner you see fit, but the very second that you intrude on mine with your ineptitude, all bets are off. I will say something, and you will not be happy.


  9. Wow, from two likes to (presently) 63? Well done, you!
    I have focus issues while grocery shopping as well. It’s not so bad when you have to return to an aisle a second time, but the fourth time around people start whispering and family members begin researching care facilities.
    Not that I would know, of course.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Oh, I DO know about family members researching care facilities. I’ve known since I was 3, when I approached the dinner table and slapped down my treatise, scribbled on the pages of a Big Chief tablet, detailing the many ways in which I was disappointed with the various members of my family.

      They’ve been trying to incarcerate me ever since….


    • It’s sad, really, all those dusty old posts where we worked our asses off to cobble together something witty and enduring. Yet there they lie, forgotten, neglected and broken. Oh wait, maybe I’m talking about my childhood. My bad… 😉

      Liked by 1 person

    • This is one of the major points that annoy me about “modern” society. In my day (and I’m sure, yours) children did not even CONSIDER acting up in public. The urchins simply didn’t go there. (They might turn to drugs and alcohol later, but I digress.) I don’t believe in “it takes a village to raise a child”. I believe in raise that child with some degree of decency before you take them out in public…

      Liked by 1 person

      • Just to make sure they acted civilized, the rule was if they asked for anything, they got nothing. If they behaved, they got a treat at checkout. My kids and grandkids are sweet freaks. All I had to do to make them mind was tell them no dessert, no goodies if they misbehaved. That threat made their worlds stop spinning.

        Liked by 1 person

  10. Great post and definitely worth the 82 likes I just saw. 🙂

    When I’m at home (aka not working in the north) I go to a local butcher/deli and every time, I fall in love afresh. I can drop $200.00 without blinking. I adore that place (and the bakery next to it). Like you, my waist grows just from entering through the door.

    Just fyi, the soy used to make soy milk is processed and probably worse for you than chips. It’s linked to breast cancer and infertility in women and can screw with your thyroid. It’s also the main ingredient in those “plant-based” burgers that are suddenly being advertised everywhere, so if you want a burger, just eat a meat one. 😉

    Liked by 2 people

    • First, I’m completely with you on the amazing way in which we can spend outrageous amounts of money on foodstuffs that we don’t really need. It’s certainly fun and all, and I enjoy exotic (for a boy from Oklahoma) choices, but really, why are we looking for validation in the wrong gastronomical places? After all, the pioneer settlers in America had absolutely no money and they made everything they needed themselves.

      Wait, living like the pioneers requires manual labor and such.

      I think I’ll just go to the deli instead.

      Second, yep, all of these “substitute” food choices, claiming to be “better for you”, are often not. I appreciate the effort, but it seems to me that man has managed to survive the millennia without chemically-enhanced derivations and whatnot. What’s the real value here?

      Liked by 1 person

  11. These are all awesome, but number 8 made me laugh out loud. It’s so true, and I never even thought of that before. Personally, I always park away from the store because I hate backing up, so I look for the nearest spot where I can just pull through and then drive out. So lazy, I know!

    Liked by 2 people

    • I certainly understand that parking methodology. I am the WORST person when it comes to backing up a vehicle. It’s just a gene that I don’t have. I’m aces when it comes to forward vehicular movement. It’s the reverse direction which proves that perhaps I shouldn’t be let out of the house without supervision…


  12. Ah, the Shopping Cart Scenario. How well I relate! (Often those little plastic grocery baskets behave the same way.) And don’t you love it when the cart you choose as the loudest squeak in the store, and only seems to get louder.

    However, I love the idea of including alcohol on your list as incentive. Some days a person really needs it…

    Liked by 1 person

    • There’s just something about my metabolism that forces me to select the angriest and most belligerent shopping cart on the planet. And I don’t fare well with the baskets, either. I mean, it’s just a basic basket, how can I go wrong? But I manage to get the one jacked-up basket in the mix, with the handle snapping at an inopportune moment and everyone getting a gander at my personal choices rolling across the floor…

      Liked by 1 person

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