October 11, 2005
They have wings, but do they fly?
I abhor grocery shopping. I avoid it more than I do the long, scraping tool of which dental hygienists are such fans. As in all other environs, I want to yell to the gods when a bratty child grabs several boxes of Rice a Roni and defiantly hurls them to the ground. The great vinegar debacle cleanup is always in aisle nine; nine times out of 10 I just happen to be there too. Six weeks ago a pit stop for cleaning products turned into an episode of COPS: DC as two women hurled insults and canned goods at each other across checkouts 7 and 8. These are my Calgon moments.

All I wanted today were four bags of groceries. Four bags is a self-imposed time and weight limit that will prevent me from a) crossing a drama threshold that might prevent me from e’er Safeway shopping again, and b) acquiring purple battle scars on my fingers and wrists as I balance bags from my car to the apartment.

I had my agenda, and I moved swiftly through the aisles to complete it. Pasta. Tomato sauce. Salad dressing. A child performed cart balancing acts near the pickles to impress her cell-phone occupied father. I kept my eye on the prize. Gerbera Daisies. Frozen dinners. The Lean Cuisine area looked like the aftermath at Filene’s on Bridal Sale day. One entire case was bone dry and its interior lights were turned off. I grabbed what remnants I could, found milk with an expiration date later than tomorrow! and made my way to the checkout. I had spent only 20 minutes in the pit.

I located the shortest line and grinned openly at my savvy. I HAVE THE POWER! The guy in front of me clearly lived as I did, and kept it to a three-bag rule max due to what appeared to be some sort of insane tendency to commute by bike. We were not so lucky with the couple in front of him. Price check. Not on batteries, not on Twinkies, not on Windex. No, no. On Poise maxi pads. This is the moment most women dread; I for one would have offered to pay up to 200% of the full price or would have thrown my ample body onto the register rather than have the cashier hold those babies up proudly for all to see.

It wasn’t to be so. We soon learned that the woman was willing to wait for the discount and, joy that the store didn’t have runners to check prices. The cashier must venture into the wild, over babies and bananas, and do it herself. She walked to the back of the store (where feminine hygiene items are hidden, much like adult DVDs at the video store) and returned only after I had consumed the covers of every magazine in her line (is Paris REALLY going after Mary Kate’s ex?) Five minutes and a likely measly 30-cent discount on the pads later, we were back in business.

Price check. I’m sorry, I didn’t rewind my real-life Tivo again, did I? This time the item in question was a whole-roasted chicken, and something was apparently wrong with its hefty price, too. The cashier left again, this time heading to the OTHER back room where they keep the live chickens and cows and hot dogs before their imminent demise. And we waited. Oh yes, we waited. Just as I was about to turn to the mini-horoscope books, the cashier returned with two shiny chickens. The group compared their buttery exteriors and prices, one was finally chosen and rung up, and after only twenty extra minutes the couple could finally SCURRY HOME AND COVER THREE POUNDS OF CHEAP, GLISTENING CHICKEN WITH DISCOUNTED MAXI PADS. Amen!

As fast as I could, I threw my four plastic bags and 15 pounds of cat litter into my car (only to find an unopened box of cat litter from my last foray into Hell) and maneuvered one-way streets and poorly placed stoplights to my home, where I discovered that a neighboring assnut had parked his Saab across two sacred street spots.

I should have known and I will never ignore Its will again. As Nature intended, I will eat my black bean burritos at the dive down the street, order General Tso’s via my cell, and amass Subway club cards by the dozen. And I will open a geriatric-intended Peapod account even before hitting the age of 32.


56 Comments:

Blogger t2ed said...

Never grocery shop for more than you can carry. No basket, no carts, only armfuls of food.

And use the U-scan aisles because old people are afraid of technology so there is never a line.

Blogger Heather B. said...

I hate safeway. I once went to the one on 14th and Kentucky in SE and it was the worst experience of my life and I am now scarred for life. They had nothing. Now I just go to Trader Joe's or Whole Foods. At this point I don't care about price and location, I care about my sanity.

Blogger Megarita said...

Noooooo shame in Peapod. No shame. If there's a reason for disposable income, it has to be avoidance of the 'Way.

Blogger Wicked H said...

Hey do not knock Peapod. It's fantastic. Especially if you don't like the grocery store drama. We middle aged/anti-drama inspired love the system.

Blogger AJH said...

The grocery store anarchy is almost as bad as the driving. I blame the impossibly narrow ailses. There are places where grocery shopping is fun. Large, well-stocked stores with helpful staff. If only there was one in the DC area.

Blogger Genevieve said...

I actually like grocery shopping in general, but hate safeway and hate struggling with bags after parking 3 blocks away from home. Let me know how the peapod thing works out... I was considering it as well.

Anonymous Jorge said...

Grocery shopping is my specialty.

I can be in and out of the store with two large baskets (about 6 or 7 bags worth) in less than 20 minutes.

It is a rare gift that I have.

if you ever visit, I will teach you the ways of asskicking shopping.

J

Blogger Dave said...

This is why I only ever eat at KFC. I admit, I'm shaving 10 years off my life, but I am saving all that grocery store time.

Blogger Danielle said...

I totally relate. Have you heard of Fresh Direct? I got it yesterday... They deliver groceries to your door! A.maz.ing. The Skinny Cows were a little melty, but I was still doing a happy dance about getting to skip my trip to Shop Rite.

Anonymous sandra said...

I don't mind grocery shopping...what I mind is that everyone can see what I'm buying. I always look at the combination of items and wonder, "does s/he think I'm weird?" The answer is probably that the cashiers could give a shit - but I still think about it every time I shop.

Blogger Melliferous Pants said...

Sometimes I think grocery store checkers do price checks just to embarrass us.

"HELLO Safeway shoppers! I have a twenty-something girl at check stand 13 purchasing Warming KY lubricant. Can I have a price check on KY LUBE for the red faced girl standing in her own personal hell?!"

Blogger deanne said...

Be thankful you have a car! I have to either a) lug all my groceries on to the Tube or bus, or b) catch a cab! And then I have to lug them all up four flights of stairs, because, hey, we don't like elevators, or cars here in London.

(Admittedly, it's great exercise. So I should stop bitching.)

Blogger Sizzle said...

what makes shopping at safeway bareable for me is the bad music they pipe through the speakers because, really, where else am i going to get to dance to benny and the jets in the middle of the baking aisle? just safeway.

i have horrible line karma though. i always pick the worst line- even if it appears to be the shortest. it is all a lie. every damn time.

Blogger Shawn said...

Deanne - Plus you get to say things like taking the Tube, brilliant, and twee...

Kris - Just be glad you're not here in Wisconsin (which I believe means Land of Oblivious White Germanic People Who Always Get In The Way in the local Indian tongue)...

All that crap about polite Midwesterners is a lie. Fear not though, I have learned their ways and can now bash heels with the best of them.

My last excellent wait in line moment was at Wal-Mart (hell enough right there) where I too learned a lot about celebrity love lives. As I waited, I heard this:

Man - Oh, will you look at that...
Woman - What?
Man - Laura and Hillary are having a feud.
Woman - Why?
Man - I don't know. That's such a shame...


You would be forgiven for thinking they were kidding...alas, you would be wrong.

Blogger Slade said...

I too dread going grocery shopping...especially on the weekends...I just LOVE it when there are so many people in an aisle that you can't get down it and all you want is one thing! Also the screaming kids, the fact that they don't sell wine in grocery stores here, the lady in front of me who decides to begin writing her check AFTER all of her items have been wrung up then she decideds to BALANCE her checkbook before giving the cashier her check! CRAZYNESS

Blogger Washington Cube said...

I loved this entry. Funny and right on target. My Peapod friends can't believe I haven't gone the way of the Pod yet. One said, "Have you ever asked yourself the worth of your time and how much time you waste going to a grocery store?" Yeah..he's a geek, threefold, but on those really horrible days in stores...I am seeing his point.

Blogger Hope said...

I'd rather do just about anything but grocery shop. When I go I write several drafts of my list breaking everything up into sections and mapping out the fastest way through the store. People who think they should just stop and chat in the middle of the aisle with two carts full or food are my arch-enemies.

Blogger katie's brain said...

I feel your pain. Just a tip--if you ever spy me in a grocery store, avoid the checkout line in which I'm standing. Even if it's the shortest one. I guarantee that the clerk will run out of till tape and not know how to put the new roll in if I'm in line. Or the clerk will be training and will have to check the price on every single item I purchase. Or will run out of change. Or will want to talk to the clerk next to her about her most recent hair disaster. I'm cursed.

Blogger Jürgen Nation said...

What if she followed you everywhere you went and was in front of you in line every single place you were?

Man, that would suck.

*mwaaahahaha!*

Blogger Neil said...

Last week in the supermarket, I was behind this guy who had six ice cream cartons and six coupons for $1.00 off a carton of ice cream. The check out girl said you can only use one per person. So, the guy took out six credit cards and said he has the right to buy all six on different accounts -- and they let him do that while the rest of us stood there and waited.

Blogger mrsmogul said...

I have yet to order groceries online. It might feel weird, like I am an old person or something...

One day I am getting a personal shopper

Blogger mysterygirl! said...

I am a one-basket shopper, too. I finally bought a little cart like the grandmas have so I can roll my stuff home instead of carrying it the long-ass walk from Safeway. I'm lame, but comfortable...

Grocery shopping is one of my nightmares, too, because that stuff always happens. Never fails that I'm in the moron line... hey! maybe I'm a ... nevermind.

Blogger lizzyjane said...

ASSNUT! I freaking LOVE IT!

I HATE grocery shopping. It isn't the actual shopping that I hate though. It's the running into people I know and it turning into a two hour event. I also hate having to hear all the women on the verge of beating their children. I also hate the lugging.. serious lugging of groceries to my 3rd floor apartment. Which reminds me. I haven't been truly grocery shopping since mid-August. My cabinets are as bare as the day I moved into this place. Did you know you can live off of Slimfast shakes alone? lol

Blogger NARDAC said...

What is this? International complain about supermarket week? I just finished posting about an senile french wino yelling at my checkout girl that she was Spanish... even though her french was perfect and his underwear was outside of his pants. Yikes.

Luckily, somebody offered me the online supermarket shopping site... but I hate waiting for the images to upload. Wait wait wait... who said modern life was convenient? I'm ready to gnaw on live chickens pulled from the field.

Blogger NARDAC said...

Oh Crackerjackers! You knocked the Buscemi on your own site? Pure evil... pure evil... I hope you dream of his wet fluffy lips hovering near your mile high bangs, all night long.

Blogger MKD said...

Best grocery store visit ever:

I bought a new leash for my dog as the cat had chewed through the last one.
The Jumbo bag of Always with wings as it was period time and I had roommates.
A box of condoms and a pair of fake handcuffs to decorate my newly engaged friend’s car.

That’s right:
Dog leash
Maxi pads
Condoms
Handcuffs

The cashier was my boyfriend from the first grade. It was nice seeing him again. But with each “boop” of the scanner he said less and less.

Blogger Beth said...

Never go to a grocery store before 11 p.m. The old people and young children are safely tucked in their beds and you can get in and out of the store in minutes.

Blogger Brookelina said...

Grocery shopping - earth's very own living hell.

Blogger LBseahag said...

That was worse than a trip to WalMart in Branson Missouri...

I hate those self-serve grocery lines...I went to one once in OC and I was that person people hated, cuz I couldn't fit the 24-pack of charmin in a bag...

Blogger HMP said...

I agree with Beth. Shopping in the morning hours, especially, is like free birth control.

I loved WebVan when and where it existed. It was worth the mark-ups and rotten fruit.

I can usually get in and out of Trader Joe's in 10 minutes with three bags of groceries with a little help from a friend.

Blogger yournamehere said...

The grocery closest to my house is a Von's, which is owned by Safeway, so why the fuck can't they just call it Safeway? Anyway, it's near an upscale over-55 community, so I get to stand in line with old rich people. What a treat. I know why they're rich; they'll argue for an hour over a penny. I offered a lady a dollar once just to accept the price and leave, but she just gave me a dirty look.

Blogger Cheryl said...

My God, where do you shop? I am never going there.

Blogger Washington Cube said...

I have to laugh. I need to go to the store...almost went tonight...and couldn't stomach the idea of it. Maybe tomorrow.

Washington Cube Was Here. #331

Blogger Kim said...

Yes, Paris is trying to steal Mary Kate's man. The Star told me so and I always believe The Star.

How sad is it that I knew what celeb mag you were talking about?

Blogger Jackie said...

Yeah, I've used Peapod. I was born in the seventies.

See? Now you can do it too.

:)

Put the Chinese place on your speed dial. Who cares? :)

Blogger Patsy Darling said...

The only good thing about getting out of work at 11pm is that there is no one is the grocery store at midnight. That's the best time to shop. No old people or kids.

Blogger The Zombieslayer said...

Ah, I love grocery shopping, but I always do it at odd hours when the stores about to close. Found that I may have a distant relative who's a checkout dude. Always see some cutie college students shopping too and they're often an interesting quick chat.

Anonymous Jerry said...

I just want to know. Do the grocery stores in DC still have the steel posts twenty feet from the door that prevent you from taking the cart out to the parking lot? So then you had to drive your car up to the "loading zone" creating yet another cluster fuck and praying that some jerk didn't steal your groceries while you went to get the car.

Blogger Sub Girl said...

ohh i how i hate waiting in line in grocery stores. especially at giant and safeway. safeway in bethesda is actually better than giant.

Blogger Anisa said...

i remember the DC safeways very well. the one in the watergate...ah, i remember timothy the cashier who loved my fake prada bag. and then, there was the un-safeway closer to the Hill. i eventually started grocery shopping in virginia because people seemed more sane there!

Blogger Mel said...

My first job was in a grocery store. If you thought shopping there was bad...

I hear peapod is the greatest thing since sliced bread. I can't wait to try it for myself!

Blogger Champurrado said...

Two words: Fresh Direct

Blogger mal said...

I am soooooooooooo glad I do not have to deal with "feminine hygeine" products. There are advantages to being over 50 besides hot flashes during subzero weather....

Blogger missbhavens said...

I'm with Patsy & champurrado...never go grocery shopping at peak hours, and ALWAYS fill your pantry via the internet when you can. People who get wonky about prices WHILE ON THE CHECKOUT LINE make me absolutely homicidal. Stick to the burritos so you don't kill someone.

Blogger BamaGirl said...

so relatable!
I was just at the grocery today, and of course, my mom calls on my cel phone. I stupidly answered, just to tell her that I was navigating hell, aka, the grocery at rush hour, and she blabs on and on. I feel your pain!

Blogger Bridget Jones said...

I'm like Zomb, love grocery shopping. The drama you've encountered is really funny tho...grownups acting like kids?

Hmmmmmm

Can you scoot to another store? One with less 'action'?

Blogger SugarHigh said...

i am a sick twisted fool who actually looks for the longer line so that i have time to read my gossip mags without paying.
that's actually not completely true...i need just enough time to read the expensive ones. i buy the cheap ones to read at home.
i understand your pain though, thanks for making me giggle like a school girl. :0)

Blogger Melinda said...

Thank you for showing me I'm not alone in my sheer and utter HATRED of grocery shopping! WooHoo!!! :D

Blogger M. said...

Sorry, I love grocery shopping. Strolling the isles with my iPod providing a soundtrack, reading labels, finding new and interesting things to cook with; it's a good time.

However....the assnut with the Saab? Needs one of these:
http://www.glarkware.com/securestore/c181844p16370773.2.html

Either that, or to have his $3,500 paint job keyed.

Blogger Finn said...

I used to proofread those mini-horoscope books! Thank God the cashier came back in time.

Blogger Shoppingonline said...

Wow, I really like this one. I have a website that talks mostly about paris perfume. You should check it out sometime.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anything you want lacoste perfumeCOME AND SEE lacoste perfume

Blogger plasticdoc said...

Hi:, Just came across your blog. Intersting post and good looking site. I'm definitely going to visit again! I recently set up a new website just about San Diego dentists There are a lot of interesting dental articles. We will also feature Tijuana dentists If you have the time, please stop by and let us know how we can improve the site. Bob

Blogger SEO said...

Your readers my enjoy other resources such as side effects antidepressant prozac and knowing some of the best sites to buy side effects antidepressant prozac .

Appreciated your thoughts. Thanks and visit us at Shopping Tips

Post a Comment

<< Home

footer