January 22, 2005

Bread & Milk & Shovels...Oh My!

I took my life in my hands yesterday. I went to the grocery store. Normally, this is not a life-threatening activity, however, we've been warned (oh my) of a blizzard this weekend. This means that every ambulatory human (including their offspring) thinks they have to rush out and buy up all the bread, milk and shovels because they might not get out of the house for ohhh say, half a day. Is it just me or is this one of the stupidest rituals that modern civilization still latches onto?

Come with me for a moment as I reflect on my trek. Saturday is our usual grocery day and this gets done while I'm at work (yes, I have a good man). Since there was a threat of bad weather, I decided to save him the trip this week (yes, he has a good woman).
As I pulled into the parking lot, I was sure they were giving stuff away for free. People were everywhere and the only spots to pull into were ones where someone was pulling out. Since I have always detested shopping of any kind, I was already wearing my flustered face. This was not going to be fun.
Walking into the store, you would think people's butts were on fire; shoving and racing each other to the door as though the store would close down at any moment. Okay, it was bitter cold out too ... compounding the sense of urgency.
Inside the store, I took out my list and split it in two - giving my daughter the lesser section. We each grabbed a cart and parted ways.
As annoying as the trip was, we did manage to get everything on our lists and meet up in the back of the store. We compared notes then thought for a second or two about anything else we might need for the coming month. All the while my sights were set on getting as far away from this hellish environment as quickly as possible. The white noise in the store was deafening. Little old ladies mumbling to themselves as they loaded up their carts, men standing about talking with each other as they waited for wifey to finish up... little kids throwing tantrums in the aisles and that drone of the loud speaker almost constantly... have I mentioned how much I hate shopping?
Finally we were satisfied with our "take" and made our way to the cashiers. To my horror, there were at least thirty people in each line. The part of shopping that I hate the most is standing in line (that's a lie, I mostly hate every part of shopping). We split up again but this time only for the purpose of figuring out which line moves faster. We were next to one another. My daughter picks up a magazine and starts thumbing through it. On the cover was a photo of a rather sad looking Jennifer Aniston. If I didn't spell her name right it's because I just don't care. The caption reads "She Turns to Friends For Support" or some crap like that. My thinking was "oh poor little thang, the woman made a killing for years on her sitcom, married Brad freaking Pitt, then was seen romping around England sans her specially designed wedding band... and now because he's had enough of her, she's got to turn to friends for support ... gee, I feel so badly." This fueled my shopping-rage a little more for some reason. I doubt Jennifer Aniston stands in big lines at grocery stores.
We did make it out of the store and we did survive the ordeal. I suppose my whole point is this. It's January. It's wintertime and we live in New England. It's going to snow and, on occasion, to excess. They have these great devices in New England called snow plows, which, by the way, they are very adept at using. I've been here for nearly twenty years now and have never been stuck in my house for longer than ten hours at a clip. I've also never run out of bread and milk, and if I did, I never curled up and went through withdrawal because of it. And forgive me for sounding stupid, but once you own a shovel, doesn't it keep? I mean, they don't melt, they don't even break too easily... so what's the huge rush on shovels every single time it snows? Are people throwing the blasted things out after one use? I just don't get it!
Perhaps what we need to do is ration the shopping days (pre-storm) like they did with the gas shortage in the good old 70s. People with odd license plate numbers go on one day and those with even license plate numbers on the next. Clever grocery store owners could manage their materials by holding out half the amount of everything in the store... leaving enough bread and milk for the even-numbered people on day two.
Oh and while I'm at it... we need to start issuing driver licenses to the folks who operate those handicap-motor carts up and down the aisles. I almost got run over twice in one visit, and there was a collision in aisle nine. Don't pedestrians still have the right of way?
I think I'm finished now. I'm going off to fix a some hot chocolate and toast ... after all, I can. I went shopping yesterday AND I lived to tell about it.


Blogger brooksba said...

Hi Carol,

Great post about shopping. I hate grocery stores too. I don't understand the whole theory of freaking out over a little snow, yet people seem to think it's the end of the world. Any time I do go to a grocery store (which is extremely rare) is at 2 in the morning. The line is still usually 5 people long, but that's because there is only one register.

Hope you're fairing well in the storm. It passed through here yesterday and I'm excited as to how white it is outside.


2:57 PM  
Blogger The Lioness said...

Found you through Brooksba up there, like your writing very much. I LOVE grocery shopping, it's the line I can't be bothered with. Will read on.

8:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, don't you just hate those motor carts? We get them over here in the UK, and we tend to get them racing around our pedestrianised city centre. And trust me, it get's very crowded, making it difficult enough even when walking to negotiate the crowds without crashing into someone; but these dudes insist on hitting top gear, maniacally weaving their way through the bustle, never thinking to apply the brakes. Perhaps it's due to over-excitement, for let's face it, these people are invariably of advanced age, so may be having something hot and throbbing in such close proximity evokes amorous memories of yore! On the same theme, regarding obnoxious persons of pensionable age, I had a scare the other day whilst queueing for coffee at a local coffee shop. The assistants as usual were zombie-like in performance (they tend to be students) and I was impatiently waiting my turn, when I was suddenly suffused with the absolute conviction that I had a RIGHT to be at the front of the queue; moreover, I privately bemoaned the fact that I'd never fought in a war, or spent 30 years working down a coal mine. Hah! With those credentials I could have righteously stormed the front of the queue! But, I remained silent, and once the moment had passed, I reflected shakily on what can could only be an early reminder of my approaching dotage. Although a long way off pensionble age, it disturbed me enough to make a mental note - if it occurs again I shall seek counselling.

4:31 AM  

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