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©March 2001

Carol Jane Remsburg


Grocery Shopping Blues



Every week I dread it and every week I go.  I don't know why I shop as it were the onset of a famine or a depression, I just do.  The funny part is that I hate shopping.  Allow me to list my woes.


First of all, I shop on Friday evenings after work and after I pick up my daughter from her after-school program.  The ride to and from before we even get to the store is nearly 30 minutes.  I don't know about you but I'm tired at the end of the work week and would put it off until Saturday but then I clean on Saturdays so that's out too.  By the time we arrive at the store, my daughter has already mapped out which fast food emporium we will pick up her dinner from after the shopping is over.


Once inside the grocery store, my daughter invariably cadges all my quarters.  If I have no quarters, she wants a dollar to take to the cashier to be broken—in which case she spends all the quarters.  Then, before I've put anything into the cart, she disappears off into "seek mode" to find her heart's desire for this week.  That's when I disappear too.


By then I'm moving at lightning speed to rush through the store in hopes I can beat her to the register before she finds something hugely expensive and we have to have another one of our mother-daughter scenes in the store.  No aisle is left without the skid marks of my cart as the cart itself becomes loaded.  I'd rather over-buy than under-buy.  It doesn't bother me to have 8 5-pound bags of sugar at home than to run out.  It'll get used—eventually.  Therefore, I have enough dry goods in my home to start my own store.


There is the mad display of the cereal aisle to decipher.  It's more of a gauntlet than anything else.  Then there's the deli and what's on sale this week that I can choose from that the family will actually eat for their lunches.  I found out that Liverwurst is a no-no.  Hmm, but at 79 cents a pound it was good for a try.  Oh, and that "Spice Loaf" is out too.


The normal stuff from the dairy lane is easy, always milk, butter, cheese, eggs, and cartons of half & half for the coffee.  Sometimes there will be sour cream and yogurt stuck in the cart.  This action simply requires no thinking so I can keep moving.  If it were only so easy in the pet aisle—with an aging cat's palate to accommodate, I have to pick and choose carefully which means more lost time.


The last loop through is always the meat lane in the back of the store.  If I'm lucky then I've figured out already what I'm cooking for the weekend dinners because I never really worry about the weeknights (that's sort of a catch-as-catch-can----heat it and eat it).  Much depends on the season and the weather.  You don't want to make a huge batch of vege/beef soup or steaming chili if it's over 50o outside.  The same can be said for making a chilled pasta salad when it's raw, cold, or snowing out. 


I always worry that they'll be out of just what I'm looking for—no matter what it is.  It doesn't happen often, but it has which tends to blow my fuses and push me to rethink my plans.  Remember, by Friday evening my circuits are already shaky.  There isn't anything worse than searching for a nice, big bottom-round roast for the crock-pot and the only thing remotely available is an expensive London-broil cut.  I don't care how expensive it is—I hate the taste of London broil.  Me, I'll take a good chuck shoulder pot roast any day—but there have been those times when I have to alter and serve up something other than bovine.  I'm big on porcine—but hubby isn't unless it's boneless chops—served up the way his momma made them.  I make him suffer with poultry more than he'd like.  And seafood?  Well, unless it's fish sticks and rarely, only then.  Sigh . . ., what's happened to taste in America these days? 


Then, breathless, I rush to the checkout and it's time for the moment of truth.  Ka-Ching!  It's always an ouch but that's something I can stand.  What I can't stomach is why I can't get a good bagger!  Why is it that they are all young boys?  Didn't they ever shop with their mothers?  Don't they know that bread crushes and eggs break?  Don't they know how to keep the cold foods together and not in the same bag as the liquid floor cleaner?  Don't they know that a flimsy plastic bag will NOT hold 85 cans—of anything?  And, why is it when you elbow them out of the way to do it right, they always give you that blank stare? 


Then we exit the store, load up the car, pick up the sainted child's dinner and make tracks for home.  Once home, it's time to unload it all and try to find a home for it all.  Whew!  It's just another week of shopping for groceries and I'm glad it's over until next Friday.  Did I say I hate shopping?


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