Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Shopping with SAWs

There’s just something peaceful about grocery shopping.

I love perusing the aisles, looking at all the wonderful foodstuffs available. For one thing, it automatically makes me grateful for the abundance we enjoy here in the United States.

It also makes me marvel in wonder that I am now, in fact, a grown-up and can shop for my own food.

One of my favorite books as a teenager was a slim paperback, Sein Language, by comedian Jerry Seinfeld. It’s a collection of some of his more memorable comedy material. In it, he says that the greatest thing about being a grown up is the ability to eat whatever kind of food whenever and wherever you want. “Hey, it’s 3:00 a.m., and I want to eat a cookie. And I want to eat it in bed, and HEY, I can – because I’m a grown up.”

It’s true. I love being able to choose whatever I want to put in my cart. Lately, I’ve been jonesing for fruit snacks. Now, normally, I don’t eat fruit snacks, but I’ve just had this craving for them recently. So, last night, I threw a box of Welch’s Fruit Splash fruit snacks in my cart. No one made fun of me for eating fruit snacks “at my age,” and all I had for dinner last night was three fruit snack packets.

I REFUSE to shop with the barbaric hordes at “the” Super (aka Subhuman) Walmart. Instead, I enjoy shopping at a neighborhood grocery store where the fresh produce is amazingly good. (By the way, I’m pretty sure all the produce at Walmart is dead on delivery. Seriously, I’ve been in their produce department – I wouldn’t feed that stuff to starving criminals!)

Last night I stocked up on all the good stuff – bananas, green grapes, raspberries, blackberries, cherries, and my favorite apples – Pink Lady Apples (these are my favorite because they taste so good and have such a great name – makes me think of my beloved Mary Kay and the bad girl group from Grease – how could I ask for more from a fruit?).

I also shopped for the rabbits. Our rabbits are incredibly spoiled, but I never feel guilty about it since they bring us so much delight and unlimited cuteness. The rabbits get a fresh all-veggie diet, including carrot chips, parsley, cilantro, kale, endive lettuce, red leaf lettuce, and spinach. For an additional treat, I will occasionally throw in some fresh basil – which they go CRAZY for. Some fruits are safe for rabbits and a small piece makes a great occasional treat, such as bananas, peaches, and apples. Peyton and Hannah’s favorite treat is bananas. They practically climb up my leg when I’m carrying a (still completely wrapped) banana!

As I shopped, I came to face-to-face with one of my least favorite “types” of grocery people – Slow Aisle Walkers (SAW). Now, I understand there are some people who can’t help walking slowly up and down the aisles. Say, like elderly people and people with disabilities. Okay, I get that – I’m not totally unsympathetic.

BUT, yesterday I had to deal with SAWs and with Aisle Blockers (AB). You know who these people are. They stand on one side of the grocery aisle and angle their cart so it blocks the entire aisle. So, you end up standing there, with your cart in front of you, unable to go any further, forced to wait congenially while they decide whether they want creamy or chunky peanut butter.

Sometimes ABs like to talk out loud about their decisions. Sometimes they even ask your opinion – LIKE I CARE WHAT KIND OF PEANUT BUTTER YOUR EIGHT YEAR OLD LIKES – MOVE YOUR CART ALREADY!!! “Oh, that’s nice. I’m sure your daughter will love that creamy peanut butter. Excuse me.” And you move on, gritting your teeth.

Sometimes you will run into those people who are both SAWs and ABs. This happened to me last night. A young family – young mom, young dad, and barely-able-to-walk young daughter. It was like they hadn’t been out of the house in years. They walked so slowly. I blame the toddler - that kid needs to learn how to MOVE IT!

Unfortunately, the family was about one aisle ahead of me, so I kept getting stuck as they walked slowly and blocked aisles with their cart. I took several routes to avoid them and just kept ending up in their path. It was amazingly frustrating! Eventually, the young mother noticed that her daughter kept drifting out into the main aisle like a drunken sailor and managed to pull her back toward them. It’s a good thing – that kid was about get mowed down – not by me, of course :-)

Finally, I left the young family in housewares where they debated the idea of buying sippie cups. Thank goodness, I didn’t have to go down that aisle, too!

Checkout was pretty easy and breezy, and I got in my car ready to head for home. On the way, I got stuck behind some guy who was distracted and wouldn’t GO on a GREEN light. It took me all of five seconds to realize it was the young family, again! I gave a not-so-gentle nudge of the horn, and the minivan finally edged out into traffic.

I drove home shaking my head and muttering – “Some people.” You know, come to think of it, maybe grocery shopping isn’t always all that peaceful!

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