Friday, October 21, 2011

Adventures in Groceries

Z asked me if I could run down to the Grocery store for her the other day.

I figured, why not, since I had a 7 or 8 hour hole in my schedule, I could squeeze it in.

“Are you sure?” she asked.

“What could be so difficult?” I said, a little annoyed. “You think I’ve never been to the grocery store before?”

“Not since 1979,” she countered.

“Just send me the list…I’m sure I can handle it!”

So she e-mailed me the list and off I went...eventually.

I mean how hard could it be and it wasn’t like this was a major shopping trip. Just a mid-week tune up.

Aside from the crate of tangerines I picked up instead of the requested 3, and the zucchini that looks remarkably like a cucumber.  And who can tell if a seedless grape has seeds in it or not?

I mean really…who?

Aside from those little miscues, everything went off without a hitch.

Okay, so I thought the cool little car wagons were self-propelled and easy enough to get in and out of…which they’re not.

And if you don’t count the mix up at the automated deli machine…which I still contend could happen to anybody…who had trouble with fractions in 4th grade.

I’m sure 5 pounds. of bologna will keep.

As well as the 14 gallons of chickpea soup…even if it is a little dusty.

And I’m sure they have some kind of special machine that will pick up all those broken eggs and make something productive from them.  I mean I know the ones that fell into that woman’s purse are probably history…or will be once she finds them.  But I’m sure they can use most of them in the potato salad or something.

I know they need to make a lot more because of an incident that I still say was a great big tadoo about nothing.

They have this cool new gadget at the grocery store now that you carry around with you so you can scan all your items as you put them into your cart. You have to be careful though because if you’re not you can scan a whole aisle of kibble and borscht...and kitty litter.    And if you don’t have a dog or a cat or know anyone from the Ukraine, these items are pretty much empty purchases.

I also cloned several people’s cell phones so I’m getting to know a lot of new folks. 

So that’s definitely a plus….

Of course I couldn’t have found half the things I found without asking for a little help. To be honest, some of the ladies in the store seemed to be having "one of those days"…like when I was standing in the canned goods section…in the middle of the aisle, next to the guy stocking the soup, trying to find the chicken gumbo…lite.

Finally after 5 or 10 minutes one nice lady, who was muttering to herself, probably because the stock guy was blocking the aisle, started throwing cans into my carriage including 5 or 6 cans of gumbo.  Well, they mostly hit me first, but she was in the general direction.

I was so moved by her kindness that I wanted to pay it forward so I helped another nice, but somewhat older, lady who was having trouble putting her corn nibblets and string beans back on the shelf.  She could barely reach the top, standing on her little tippy toes, poor thing, so I took the 5 cans she still had in her carriage and put them back up there for her.

It was the least I could do. 

She stared thanking me effusively in a language I was unfamiliar with but I could tell by her hand gestures that she was saying I was number one in her book. She was also scratching her chin a lot…I think she might have had a skin condition.

The lines at the checkout aisles were pretty long, but I noticed they had these self-service aisles, which were shorter. In fact the express lane, which said less than 15 items only, was completely free. I counted my items and found that as luck would have it I had 35, not counting the borscht and kibble.

Close enough, I thought, who would begrudge me a few extra items.

Besides, that’s really more of a guideline than a rule…right?

And nobody did, except people must have thought I had indigestion, maybe because of all the borscht, and kept tossing little rolls of tums in my direction.

Because of the little scanner, I didn’t even need to run my items down the conveyor belt, but I have to admit I had some trouble trying to figure out how to pay with it.

I kept holding it in various places around the machine, until eventually I looked like the statue of liberty. Soon the little light above my aisle began to blink on and off. I figured that must have done the trick so I rolled on out the store.

There were a lot of bells and whistle going off as I walked into the parking lot. I figured someone must have won a prize or something…maybe a lifetime supply of borscht.

Actually the whole experience was kind of fun…and so easy.

Maybe next time I’ll figure out how to drive the little car wagons.

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