Monday, December 3, 2012

A Review of Grocery Shopping

I'm going to go ahead and end any suspense there may be on this post, and tell you that I absolutely hate grocery shopping, so any grocery store enthusiasts there may be wandering on to this blog, you may want to turn around now.

How people look at you when you say you like grocery shopping.
I'm willing to admit that this is probably a personal fault of mine, but I simply can't help it.  I have some kind of mental block that prevents me from acting like a normal human being once I get inside a grocery store.  The circumstances of the visit don't matter, nor do the people who I go with.  Once I cross that threshold, I suddenly devolve into A. An 11 year old child or B. a severely undermedicated basket case.  I'm assuming there was some kind of repressed trauma in my past buried deep in the recesses of my psyche that my family won't tell me about.  So what was it, family?  WHAT HAPPENED AT THE FOOD LION?

5 year old me may or may not be buried under there.
I've found that I have a hard time explaining just how much I hate grocery shopping to people, but that won't stop me from trying.  I think my best bet will be to walk you through a standard grocery store experience, step by excruciating step.  Am I overreacting? Yuuuuup.  And I'll be overreacting in CAPITAL LETTERS a lot too.  To make this most realistic, I'm going to walk you through it as though my roommate, who I will refer to as Lars Barnarnars, is with me for the trip, since I don't often brave the grocery store alone.


ARRIVAL: I'm already upset by the parking lot situation.  Everybody walks a little bit slower in a grocery store parking lot, every car parked a little bit worse.  Nobody looks when they pull out of their spaces, and that old lady is walking RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE OF THE ROAD INSTEAD OF OFF TO THE SIDE LIKE REGULAR HUMAN UGH.  OK I'm sorry I'm sorry, I'm getting upset already.  Inevitably we park much farther away than we should, and trudge sullenly into the grocery store of choice (please god not Food Lion).

FRUITS/VEGETABLES: After wrestling free a shopping cart from the long row of carts, getting some unidentifiable gunk all over yourself from the handle and getting another cart, you realize that your new cart is WORSE THAN THE FIRST CART RRAARRGH.  It's probably got the gunk from the first cart, as well as a bad wheel, and probably a moldy McDonalds cup or somebody's lost child in it.  If I were by myself, I would hastily grab several apples, a bundle of bananas, and some lettuce and move on.  Thankfully Lars Barnarnars is there to calmly and carefully select an appropriate array of fruits and vegetables for the next couple of weeks while swatting my hand as I reach for the croutons and craisins.  She'll thank me for the practice when she has some kids.

MEATS: As the roomate takes care of the ground beef and chicken situation, I swagger confidently (Sons of Anarchy style) to the hot dogs/sandwich meats section; here is something I can handle.  The selection:
  1. One 8 pack of hot dogs, Ball Park.  All beef franks, or honestly whatever the hell hot dogs you want.  It's all the same.
  2. 1 pack sliced turkey
  3. 1 pack sliced roast beef
  4. 1 pack sliced ham (optional)
Feeling pleased with myself over my poor food choices, I rejoin Lars Barnarnars who bought us real food that we won't be ashamed to eat later.  No unnecessary capital letters for this leg of the journey.

What I expect to find in every toothbrush box.

WHATEVER IS NEXT. CEREAL?  BEANS OR SOMETHING?: Confronted by an impossible selection of delicious cereals (not even Lars can save me here), I go in to total shutdown mode.  I make what is probably the worst possible selection health wise (BEST OPTION DELICIOUS WISE) and throw it dejectedly into someone else's grocery cart.  Peanut butter has also been bought, which makes me vaguely happy.

SALAD DRESSING: The only time where my roommate steers me wrong.  I think we generally spend an hour here as she carefully chooses the most healthy and probably very delicious choice.  I'm unwilling to accept her sage advice, grabbing some random vinaigrette ranch dressing and moving on.

Free at last, Dobby picked up a second job as Doughnut Goblin
CHEESE: The only acceptable choice here is "everything."  The roommate will not allow us to buy one of each, but an acceptable compromise of "lots of cheese" is reached.  I try to sneak doughnuts into the cart but they miraculously disappear when my back is turned.  Touche, doughnut goblin, touche.

BREAD/CHIPS: Sensing the end, I devolve from 11 year old to 6 year old with ADHD.  The shins and ankles of Lars Barnarnars become a victim of blunt force trauma with a shopping cart.  Everyone is very impressed by the authenticity of the trumpet and race car noises I'm making with my mouth, and also how far I can ride the cart without touching my feet to the ground.  BBQ chips please.

CHECKOUT: My face becomes more and more frowny as the total climbs ever higher.  Bagging is a whole new frustration, usually best left to the professionals.  If the roommate is present, I usually meander over to the Redbox and don't get anything while Lars handles the business.  Check is in the mail, Ms. Barnarnars!

THE END: Unparalleled joy.  The ordeal is over, and I have food for my own refrigerator that I have to PREPARE in order to EAT IT like SOME KIND OF IRON CHEF AMERICA.  Oh no, the pain of the grocery store never ends. Never.

So, in case it wasn't clear enough, here are the scores of the grocery store experience:

Grocery store- TERRIBLE out of TERRIBLE.  Because it's TERRIBLE.      

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