Wednesday, February 22, 2017

How I learned to stop worrying and love grocery shopping

Grocery shopping has long been a male ritual in my family. I think my mom has been grocery shopping three or four times, and only because my dad was recovering from surgery each time. Otherwise, my father does it. He has turned the drudgery of grocery shopping into a sweet science. One cart- that's all he needs, no matter how many groceries he is buying. Many a time I've been regaled with tales of his grocery shopping exploits, usually involving the phrase "If I can fit groceries for a family of six into one cart...."

I've always said that if a man wants to eat, he needs to learn to cook. Well, if a man wants to cook, he has to get the groceries. So I took a trip to Wal-Mart today to pick up some things. These are my reflections on the journey.

-Note to all women and men- when shopping for a pair of pants, take special note as to whether your butt crack is visible whilst bending or crouching. There are certain things we don't need to see. "Pervert!", you cry. "If you can't keep your eyes to yourself, you're the one with the problem!" All very true. If a man has to go through head contortions to take a peek, then he has a problem. If your ass chasm is hanging out for even the smallest child to see, the problem is yours.

-Pajamas out in public? Really?

-They call them bras. They keep your breasts from hanging to your belt buckle. Think about that for next time.

-The rules of the aisle way should be just like the rules of the road. Drive on the right, pass on the left. Do not stop your cart in the middle of the aisle and just stand there. I need to purchase soup too, and in order to do so, I need to see what is available. On a related note, if I am obviously perusing the selections of Chunky and Progresso, do not pull right in front of me and stop. Simply say "excuse me", and I will move out of your way. My life will not end if I can't grab that delicious can of Hearty Tomato in the next 60 seconds. Neither will yours.

-Don't just barrel your way from the end of the aisle into the clearing on your way to the next. Stop, look and listen. That's all I'm saying.

-Pink labels are everywhere. For good cause. Do we even have to ask if people are against breast cancer? Is anyone answering "no" to this survey? But here's some food for thought. Are these companies donating "a portion of" their proceeds from pink-decorated cans out of the goodness of their hearts, or because they are selling more of their products anyway by slapping that pink ribbon on the can so they can be seen to be caring? Why not just make the donation without the pink ribbon? And where are the prostate cancer awareness ribbons? Throw a light blue ribbon on that next can of Pabst Blue Ribbon, heck, "blue ribbon" is in the title!

-There is one aisle I DO NOT DO. It is an aisle that dare not speak its name. I am not going to tell you what it is, but if I was mountain climbing on snow and ice, I might need my crampons. Let he who has ears to hear, let him hear.

-Every grocery shopping excursion ends with the mad checkout hunt. You know you have more than twenty items, but you count anyway to see if you can squeeze through. I have news for you- you aren't the only one who is counting. If you try to slip 35 items past, I can guarantee you more than one person behind you knows how many you have.

-The cashier is a man or a woman simply marking time until they get to go home. They aren't your friend; they aren't your therapist. They don't want to know that pinto beans give you wicked diarrhea; they could care less that you really need those Trojans tonight. And I don't care either. I just want to go home. Remember: you are NOT the only one shopping today.

-In aisle number 6, amidst the Red Lobster gift cards and the Lifesavers, they are selling a product called Soft Lips. The slogan for Soft Lips reads: "Soft Lips... because lips should be soft." Oh boy.

If laughter is the best medicine, then the checkout aisle provides the next cure for cancer in the form of the supermarket tabloid. Let's take a peek at the Pulitzer Prize-winning material on display, shall we?
-"What He Thinks During Sex!" Umm, I think I can answer that for you. We don't. There is only a certain amount of blood in the male body, and not enough to energize the brain and the, umm, other thing at the same time.
-"Foreplay Men Crave! Touch His Secret Erotic Spot (Surprise: It Doesn't Rhyme With Shmenis)" Maybe not. Smart money is on shank, shunk or even schtick.
-"The Crazy, Dirty, Worried and Yes, Sweet Stuff That Goes Through His Mind When You Two Get Naked!"
Crazy- "I wonder if we can do it on the roof this time."
Dirty- "I wonder if we can do it in the mud this time."
Worried- "I wonder why she doesn't want to do it in front of the camera this time."
Sweet- (visions of creative uses of strawberries and whipped cream)
-"The Gosselin Kids To Jon and Kate: Stop Wrecking Our Lives!" The Gosselin viewers to Jon and Kate: Stop wrecking OUR lives!
-"Khloe Kardashian Slams Critics: Stop Calling Me Fat!" Umm... who the hell is this woman?
-And speaking of all things Kardashian, how did these women get famous? What did they do? Did they win an award? Do they run a children's hospital? Or do they just have big boobs? Monty, I go with door number 3.... 

And once my food is paid for, I am on my way out the door. But wait: there's more. Because sandwiched between each set of exit doors is a wall which contains other vendors. A bank. An H&R Block office. Customer Service. And a place where people are getting pedicures. Oh my. Why? When I am hungry and on my way to my car so I can break into the Junior Mints, why, oh why do you want to put your fat, ugly feet on display like that? And I can only peer into the abyss and wonder what those poor workers are thinking. They are probably cursing the events of life that brought them to this point, and praying for the sweet release that only death can bring.

Off to my car I go, visions of the chicken paprikash I will be making for dinner tonight dancing in my head. But wait... there's more. Because inevitably there is at least one stalker waiting for me to pull out of my carefully-obtained parking spot, and if I don't move in three seconds or less, on goes the horn. I have news for you. The parking spot is MINE until I am done with it. Lay on that horn too often and I may just have to go back into the store to get that Snickers bar I forgot about whilst being enthralled with the Cosmopolitan headlines.
And away I go. My Mountain Dew and Beer 'N Brats potato chips await.