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Adams: Circular logic

Posted: August 9, 2017 - 1:54am

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 shopping cart abandoned in the handicap space. Pushing it to the store , I pull out my list. 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.
Part of the scientific mystery is deciphering my husband's obsession with the Manager's Special aisle. I feel that 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 that husbands will throw them in with the pantry staples.
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. A long line of customers waits at the single open register. 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 isle. 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 that 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. The bagboy intercepts my parcels and 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.

Home again, 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 away. 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 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, Ga. Email Lucy at lucyadams.writer@gmail.com.

 

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