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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Why I Hate Grocery Shopping

I love lists.  I could make you a list about why I love lists, but it'd be too long and it'd likely need footnotes, and who reads a blog for the footnotes, I ask you?

Just one post ago, I referenced the fact that I can't even allow myself to think twice about going grocery shopping.  I can't let that pretty little dream enter my head because if it did, I would never go and my children would have to eat the plastic pie that populates my daughter's 1950's dinette.  And since Emilia is a picky eater and Mateo has only two teeth, we all know that would just leave them hungry and, therefore, cranky.  So it's a basic non-starter, is what I'm trying to say.

It's not that I hate the grocery store itself.  In fact, I have nothing against grocery stores.  I appreciate their abundance and feel lucky that I could literally run to at least two of them if I had to.  I recognize that when other people literally run to fetch their food, killing said food and dragging it home are usually the next components of the equation, assuming they're lucky enough to find dinner on the delta.  I also like to eat, and grocery stores sell food, so as a matter of pure deductive logic, I should be grocery stores' biggest fan.

Alas, no dice.  For grocery stores also host the one chore that, if not done, will only lead to cannibalism (it's a slippery slope, people - Fox News could make it in just two steps).  And I do NOT want to be the mom who sends her preschooler off for the day with a kiss and her brother's foot in her floral Pottery Barn lunch bag.

Here's what I hate about grocery shopping:

1.  The children.  Namely, my children and the fact they are inevitably present as this chore is being performed.  No chore that takes longer than 12 seconds should involve the constant presence of a child.  The Duke of Domesticity (only a man could be responsible for this pea-brained social construct) invented grocery shopping to (a) require at least 1.35 hours from start to finish; and (b) make it almost impossible to find that much uninterrupted time without at least one child in tow.  That is cruel and unusual punishment.  I went to law school -- I know what that means and I know I'm using it correctly and not hyperbolically when I use it in this context.

2.  The shopping carts.  The inexperienced look at a shopping cart and think "wow, what a great vessel to cart around the delicious food I'm going to bring home and peacefully enjoy."  The mothers ruefully eye those buggers and think "bring it."  That's the attitude you've got to have when it's your turn to enter the wrestling ring.  Because try as you might, you won't find one with all four wheels that are properly aligned and actually -- you know -- roll in a circular motion like the circle they are.  That means to get where you're going, you need to lean into it, using your full body weight and your foot as a pivot.  But then you have those darned kids (see #1) hanging in the balance, and you've got to account for the fact you don't want them tumbling over the edge and smacking their cute little faces on the cold, oatmeal-colored lineoleum floor.  So it's a constant, sweaty battle between cart and mom.

3.  The list.  I know, I know.  I started this post with the unremarkable announcement that I love lists.  Heck, I'm writing a list right now.  But the grocery shopping list is just a place for a piece of paper to mock you.  I don't care if  you Excel-matrix the shit out of the needs of your empty cupboards.  I don't care if you find an app for that.  I don't care George Clooney is reading the list to you in his chocolate-glazed voice.  That list will get the best of you every time.  You'll be in the ketchup aisle when your list tells you that you forgot to get almond milk three aisles back.  You'll get home and realize you forgot to get dish soap even though it was RIGHT THERE ON YOUR LIST!  There's no way to beat the list.  Give up and realize that you're going to be pacing that store like a Kardashian at a library -- looking vaguely lost but too proud/ashamed to admit that you have absolutely no idea what you're looking for or how to find it, or what even prompted you to set foot on the premises in the first place.

4.  The product placement.  The evil idiots that decide what goes where in a grocery store are people that should never be allowed to mix with the rest of humanity.  Wanna find tomato paste?  Not gonna put it near pasta or even remotely near its genealogical root, a tomato.  Gonna put it somewhere awful like the "ethnic" aisle next to taco shells 'cause tomato paste is Italian-y and Mexicans eat tacos.  BUUUUTTTTTTTT....if you want to find every product ever produced that contains sugar, BPA, a princess or super hero, or a price that should never be seen in a grocery store unless it's on a keg of Dom Perignon AND that your kid will most assuredly throw a temper tantrum over if said product does not immediately make it inside Satan's Sleigh.....well those, ladies and gents, are right at eye level.  Whose eye level?  EVERYONE's!!!  See them here?  And there?   And everywhere????  They're following you!!!!!

5.  The checkout.  This, by far, is the WORST part of grocery shopping.  You've survived every other step of the gauntlet and your reward are these five feet of Crazy Town.  I literally find a quiet aisle to gather my thoughts and give myself and my children a pep talk about what we're about to embark on.  Even after some Rudy-worthy rounds of "we can do it, guys!," I still get nervous and cold-sweaty when I body-blow my cart into this too-narrow funnel of hell.  There are only two options here (a) a long line that allows your children to identify every "treat" stacked in front of their nose and formulate new ways to whine for each and every one; or (b) a short line that allows your cashier to "chat" and ask you about every item of food you're buying, thereby ensuring your child still has time to recon the treats.  You only leave the check-out aisle with quiet children if you've killed them, they've killed you, or their mouths are chock-full of neon lollipop goo.

With that, I'm off to pick up Emilia and head to Shaw's to find something to make for dinner.  Cheers!

1 comment:

  1. To quote Ellen Degeners, grocery shopping really is "THE WORST"!! Loved this post. So true, and so funny