29 September 2005

i came back as a bag of groceries

Once there was a time when I loved grocery shopping. I scoured the circulars for the best deals, consulted my coupons and mapped out my grocery-getting.

That was when I actually cooked, which was in college. Somehow I've misplaced my ability to formulate meals. I enter the grocery store now and become a wreck. I get through Produce rather unscathed. I surrepetitiously yank lettuce from the neatly banded leaves (I'm a single girl, not a rabbit). I eschew plastic bags for fruits like apples and oranges, though I'll probably meet resistance at the check-out when Bagger tries to put them in their own bag, which he/she'll then put in another bag.

I pass the soda aisle. No...must...but...but I'm just going to buy it in a desperate moment anyway, might as while get it at a better price. Walking over to the dairy case, my health conscience challenges my logic, impelling me to return the Dr Pepper. I will be strong, I reason.

By the time I get to frozen foods, I start to panic. I have hardly anything in my cart. What the h-e-double hockey sticks am I going to eat? I went shopping for a reason. I scrutinze frozen meals, even though I know how sodium and preservative-laden they are and that I'm not going to get them anyway.

I figure I must return to Produce and get more. I have angst in the Produce aisle. Yes, I do. I start to reason that I should not be buying these apples anyway because they aren't organic and Ohio-grown. So I put them back. And then I pick them back up again; I will not have a chance to find organic, Ohio-grown apples.

Why don't any grocery stores around here have a day-old bakery rack? They better be giving their old bakery stuff to poor people and not to the dumpster (unless it is a dumpster my brother regularly visits--but that's another post).

I get to the check-out with my meager pickings, cursing myself but not knowing how to remedy the situation. Then I curse the cashier or Bagger, who scornfully or quizzically takes the fabric bag I sometimes bring. MotherF%*#&@! I'm saving the earth; don't lay that S#&% on me!

Sometimes, I admit, I use those self-checkout stations. The stores force us into it with a lack of real-life cashiers, creating huge lines. I do enjoy them when I use them at Giant Eagle, though, and I've bought bananas. The friendly (hella lot friendlier than the real-life cashiers) voice exclaims, "Place your BANANAS on the belt." It's just somehow amusing.

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