• Comment

Adams: Circular logic of shopping for groceries

Posted: July 16, 2017 - 12:25am

At least nomadic women, who wander the desert scouring for that evening's side dish, don't have to worry about their five-year-old running over old ladies with the pushcart.

Not that I'm complaining about living in an advanced society that consolidates side items in one convenient place. It's just that grocery shopping is like a long journey on foot with no final destination.

I arrive at the market, park and grab a lone shopping cart abandoned in the handicap space. Pushing it to the store front, I pull out my list.

Paralysis strikes me as I decide if I will start on the fresh produce side of the store or on the bread side of the store.

No matter my beginning point, I'll end with either unleavened bread or a banana-strawberry smoothie, so agonizing over the inevitable is wasted effort. I continue to do it, however, because I seek to unravel the science of grocery shopping.

Part of the scientific mystery is deciphering my husband's obsession with the Manager's Special aisle. I feel if we didn't write gallon jar of gherkins on the list, even if it is on special, we still don't need it.

Besides, I'm suspicious of the manager and his specials. I think it's the Manager's Hard-Stuff-to-Sell aisle. The manager stages the items as "special" in hopes husbands will throw them in with the pantry staples.

Children, on the rare occasion that one accompanies me, at least wait until I turn my back before they throw off-list foods into the basket.

Weaving my way through the store, I carefully place groceries in my buggy to avoid cracking eggs and crumbling chips. I put meat products gingerly to one side so as not to puncture the thin packaging wrap, and I group ice cream and frozen pizzas together to delay their thaw.

Most importantly, though, I arrange everything with precision so it will fit into one shopping cart.

At last, the checkout comes into view. Near the end of my journey and re-energized, I align my body weight behind the cart and build momentum.

I arrive in line to see the checker light flashing like a disco strobe, a beacon to the manager stocking the specials aisle. This provides me an opportunity to assess my load. I must hold back my squishables, which are piled on top of my un-squishables, so the bagger can sack them last.

Optimistic still, I unload onto the conveyor belt all the stuff I just spent an hour loading into the buggy.

For my convenience and comfort, the bagboy intercepts my parcels loads into two grocery carts what I originally fit into one.

Pushing one cart and dragging the other, I trolley them to the parking lot. Again, I unload the buggies into my car, being careful to protect the squishables riding high atop the un-squishables and cram the groceries in amongst my miscellaneous junk.

Home again, home again, jiggity jig, I unload the groceries yet a third time and carry them into the house, first taking into the kitchen the products I've worked so hard to protect from harm.

Then for a fourth time, I unpack the food items, and at last put them into fridge, freezer and pantry. One bag of squishables remains. I open the straggler sack and there inside is the bread, flattened with the distinct impression of a foot.

My spouse and children then remove everything but the Manager's Specials from the fridge, freezer and pantry, and consume it, forcing me to repeat the entire process within the week.

 

Lucy Adams is the author of If Mama Don't Laugh, It Ain't Funny and other books. She lives in Thomson. Email her at lucyadams.writer@gmail.com.

  • Comment