There is nothing routine in this world that I hate more than grocery shopping.
I’m not afraid of the dentist and I can even get by scrubbing the bathroom before I realize that it is a chore. However, pushing a metal shopping cart through a bunch of aisles with moving obstacles, does not appeal to me. Many would find this odd since I adore food. Kid in a candy store? Far from it.
It starts in the parking lot.
No matter what day of the week it is, it’s always packed. And since I work six to seven days a week, I don’t always have the luxury of going at nine in the morning on a Sunday. Now, many stores have diagonal parking spots. They have made it easier for the American public to pull their mini vans in between those pretty little lines, yet people still fail the test, thus dropping the class average.
I fear for Cobie’s flawless, waxed body every time I go.
Let’s do the math: Cars. Crooked parking. Shopping carts. Kids. Birds. Lazy cart attendants. The list could go on forever. I don’t care how burly Cobie thinks he is… The odd are not in his favor.
After selecting a parking spot in Africa, you make your way across the Atlantic Ocean to the front doors of America, or HEB in this case. A wide right turn to get in front of the mom with seven kids, all walking hand in hand, forming a chain that stretches across the entire aisle. Then there is the awkward tango with the college girl balancing three bags, a pack of toilet paper and a coffee while talking on the phone. Oh, and who could forget running for your life when Mr. Man doesn’t use his mirrors to back out.
At last the final stretch.
You can almost feel the air conditioner saving you from the Texas heat when, out of the corner of your eye, you see the cart attendant conducting a parade of shopping carts toward the door. You quicken your pace, trying not to be obvious, but not wanting him to get to the doors before you. Before you know it, Grammy has failed to “yield to pedestrians” and you’re now in a dead run trying to make it to safety.
Once inside you turn for a cart.
Unfortunately, the cart man taking gold in the Great Parking Lot Race, wouldn’t have been a bad idea. You limbo underneath the cart door and retrieve a basket from the back, making it out just in time before the conga line of new carts traps you inside.
Now you’re ready. List in hand.
Screech. Screech. Screech.
Great. You’ve got the cart with the squeaky wheel… and it veers right. For the rest of your time in this death trap of a store, you not only have to battle the cart, but every person will now be staring at your squeaky cart like it’s your fault. Can we say “shop of shame”?
You wiggle your way in between three carts to get to the apples. Then get nailed by someone’s purse reaching for the grapes. And thank goodness there is a man talking to the bananas, otherwise you would have had a normal shopping experience. You grab some carrots and make a mad dash for the celery, making it back to your cart before someone steals your purse.
As you head to the bread aisle you get one last glimpse the talking man who is now getting acquainted with the grapefruits. Oddly, the bread aisle is calm. You snatch up some wheat bread and some whole grain tortillas. As you turn to leave the aisle, it’s as if the bartender has announced last call.
Now it’s time for dairy, where no one acts as if they have used a door before. Let alone one on a refrigerator. Poor dad is trying to find organic soy milk for his wife, while his little bundle of curls is in the cart tossing peas into the cream cheese rack. You select your cream cheese making sure daddy sees you flick a pea off the top of it.
Then it’s time to get milk. Not only are all of the windows fogged, courtesy of little Mr. Overalls, but the 1% is at the very back of the bottom rack. Next thing you know, you’re on all fours with a S.W.A.T. team of carts around you… trapped. Getting to your feet, you just need cereal and you’re in the clear. At that moment you get hit in the face with a pea from Curly Q.
You make your way to the cereal aisle snatching some eggs along the way like you’re robbing a chicken coop. There’s the sign “Aisle Five: Cereal.” Angels are just pulling out their harps to play a sweet melody, but as you round the corner, a newborn baby starts screaming bloody murder. Honestly, babies shouldn’t make this sound. So, you skip out on your Special K and head to the cash register.
And there are only three open.
It’s an eternity before you get the receipt in your hand. Coupon scanning. Penny counting. Price check. Finally, you’re in the parking lot loading your loot into your car. You’re about halfway done when Suburban Soccer Mom just about parks on top of you trying to get your spot next. You see, while you were engaged in battle inside, Africa seems to have become the Promise Land, packed with cars, and this lady wants your spot. She even honks at you when you try to return the cart to the rack like a good citizen. Finally you’re in the car and headed to the safety and comfort of your home.
Oh, and you still have to unload it all…