Saturday, January 08, 2011

Adventures in the Grocery Store

Today I attacked our refrigerator and kitchen cupboards. We had little to no food left in our house, and the food we DID have was mostly expired or rotting.

Needless to say, we've been in and out of our house since the holidays, so reorganization was in order. After pitching the old and making room for the new, I had prepared a mental grocery list in my head of what we needed. I had already promised my mom that I would do the grocery shopping today, so this was a good first step.

Call me crazy, but I hate writing out grocery lists. It's strange because I have a terrible memory and I am such a visual person, but when I go to the grocery store, there is only one way I like to do it: aisle by aisle. I start at the outer perimeter of the store, checking in first to fresh produce, meats, dairy, and frozen food. I then weave in and out of the inner aisles to complete the job. I realize my mistake in shopping exactly opposite of what would be correct according to optimal food freshness, but I haven't broken the habit yet.

I would much rather look at everything in the store and be reminded of what I need than look at a list every 3 seconds and be stressed out the entire time about getting it all checked off.

Anyway, today I took an especially long time. There is never a place that I am more aware of my poor decision making skills than at the grocery store. Which kind of fruit, clementines or oranges? Should I select the ripe bananas or go for the ones that are still semi-green? Do we want 3 yogurts or 4... what if I make more smoothies than I think I will? Should I get the Kleenex in the horizontal box or the tall box, and once I make that decision, I have to pick which designs I want on the boxes.

Besides trying to make anywhere from 200-300 decisions regarding food type, color, size, portion, and nutritional value, I also have a mild case of ADD. I get distracted very easily. So while I am going up and down every aisle any way, it doesn't take much for something to catch my eye. Well... maybe I need to look at THAT. What is THIS? Is this new packaging??

So today, I was making pretty good progress, I will say. I had successfully loaded a lot of items into the cart, and I was reserving the front seat for a few of my own personal items. One happened to be a new candle for my office. For those of you who don't know-- I have a candle fetish. I LOVE candles. In fact, it probably took me about 5 minutes to figure out which scent to choose. Do I go for something seasonably appropriate, or a post-Christmas sale special, or something that reminds me of the beach since it's so cold out these days?

You can see my dilemma.

Nonetheless, I did eventually make a decision and so this candle was sitting in the seat of my cart. I was rolling down the candy/cereal aisle (very slowly, as there will quite a few shoppers around me) and I was in the process of deciding which candy we should put out at our IA office. As I was doing so, the candle that I had so carefully selected rolled out of my cart and slipped out of the little hole designed for a child's leg to fit through if one had been sitting in the seat.

In a moment of slow motion, it crashed to the tile ground and glass shattered everywhere. I heard a couple of passer-bys gasp. I quickly lowered myself and started scooping the candle out of the glass.

One lady moved slowly by and said, "Be careful with the all that glass, don't cut yourself."

For some reason, it really shook me up. I felt like a 5-year-old who just broke her mom's favorite glass lamp.

Within seconds, a teenage boy who works at the grocery store was by my side. He had come to my rescue with a cardboard box and a broom. I have no idea how he was there so quickly, but he was.

He started scooping up the glass into a pile and shoveling the larger pieces into the box.

I watched as he continued to scoop up my mess.

"OK, well just let me know and I can pay for it..."

"Don't worry about it," he told me, "It happens ALL the time."

"Alright," I smiled, and he was done within seconds. I gathered myself and tried to return to my decision-making world of candy and cereal boxes.

As I left the aisle, I saw the boy again. "Seriously," he told me, as if I didn't quite yet believe him. "It happens more than you think. But usually, it's something like spaghetti sauce."

I smiled. "Well, I'm glad I gave you something with easier clean up."

After about 5-6 more aisles, I came to the end of my journey. But I couldn't help but notice a sale on hangers. My mom always seems to be needing more and more of these, so I decided to do her a favor and pick up a few packages. The sale was for 4 bundles, so I collected them and bent down to place them at the bottom of my cart. As I did so, one slipped from my hand and fell to the ground. Somehow, the packaging ripped and 8 white plastic hangers tumbled onto the ground.


I frantically scooped up the hangers in the most nonchalant manner I could find and hurried to the nearest checkout line. I needed to get out of there.

There was a nice couple checking out in front of me and I marveled at how lucky I was; they were almost done and I would be next. I grabbed the little separator stick and started unloading my rather large cart of groceries onto the conveyor belt.

"Um, ma'am," the checkout girl called. I looked up.

She pointed to the sign above her register.

"This is a 15 Items or Less lane."


Bewildered, I started collecting the items and putting them back into my cart.

The couple in front of me looked back.

"You almost made it," the man said, smiling.

"Yes," I said sarcastically, "If only I had chosen a few less groceries."

I was likely 100 groceries over the limit.

I left that lane and found one suitable to check out in. Luckily, I left the store without anymore mishaps.

I took my car through the car wash, then came home and unloaded everything. I made fresh salsa and my mom made potato soup for dinner. I love having fresh food on hand... it makes my heart smile.

And now... I have a large selection of bedtime snacks, for which I am grateful, because I am so hungry. The only problem will be making the decision: popcorn, cereal, or fresh fruit?

Who knows what I will decide? Maybe all 3!

Love you all-- T


Gerry said...

Oh Taryn! Your grocery store story was so entertaining. Doug always wonders why it takes me so long when I go to the store. I am going to have him read your post. That should explain everything! I felt so bad for you as I read about you scooping up the glass and the candle, then the hangers, and I really was laughing at the "15 items" lane....and you were so innocent! Your Mom was so lucky that you went through all the cupboards, and checked the dates on things....then got groceries, unloaded them and put them away, and then even helped with supper!!!! soooo time consuming! Give yourself a "pat on the back"! You deserve it! :)

Abi said...

You crack me up! The other day, I was at Sams and had gotten two containers of Panera soup. When I got to the check out line, I was putting them on the belt and I dropped one of the tubs on the ground. Mine wasn't glass, but it was chicken and noodle soup! I felt so bad, but the lady at the counter acted so calm and told me that it happened all the time. I kept telling her that I was so sorry...butterfingers, etc. At one point, she looked at me and was like,
"Seriously, it is no big deal! This happens daily and a lot of times, it's a big bottle of wine. This is nothing!"
You're so right, you feel like you've broken your mother's finest piece of china...
Good to know others do it too!