Conversation with My Wife (35)

Just another Saturday at the grocery store. Wait… I just realized what tomorrow is…

Our youngest niece, grocery shopping in 2002. Nothing to do with the story, purely here for clickbait and “Isn’t she a CUTIE!” comments. (Still cute now, IMHO, but of course I speak as a doting uncle.)

Grocery shopping happens when we need something at the grocery store. Which, it seems some weeks, is All The Time. So we have a running grocery list in the kitchen, added to as we think of things, or notice things, or get reminded of things.

We have favorite stores, although “favorite” basically means “stores that haven’t driven us nuts.” Also convenient, which means on our way to someplace (usually work or home), or close to home when we’re running other errands. So although we absolutely adore certain fancy store chains, they are neither nearby nor anywhere close to our commuting route. It’s life, we deal with it.

This being a Saturday, we were out for our morning coffee (from Rutter’s, a local convenience store + gas station in the mode of countless others nationwide, but they have the kinds of lids we like on our 24-oz no-sleeve-needed cups, they have sugar-free flavors, and the local store has a low enough staff turnover that the employees go, “Hey, you guys!” without needing to learn our names) so that meant a quick scan of the running grocery list. Items > 3 {grocery run}

So it’s Saturday, right? Hey, it’s the day before Easter. Oh? We’re going out with family tomorrow to a favorite restaurant, so no prepping the house and no making up something to bring along; thus, the phenomenon of a crowd of crazed shoppers at the local Giant Foods store took us by surprise, as it does every single time*, even when we think we’ve taken it into account.

As we exit the car:

ME: “Hey, you want we—”

DEB: “Yes, for lunch, then—”

ME: “For supper, and—”

DEB: “Tomorrow we don’t have to worry.”

Also: a local retirement home takes it’s residents shopping on Saturday at a particular time. Yes, you guessed it, it’s always the SAME TIME WE ARE THERE. So, between the usual crowd, the Saturday surge, the Easter add-on, and the “I don’t need my walker I’ll use the shopping cart”** citizens, it was a mere ten minutes or so and we were able to select a cart, negotiate the maze of people going in and out through the same door, negotiate the maze of people stopped just inside the door (“Oh, I’m sorry, were you waiting for me? I’m just reading the sign”), negotiate the maze of Special Sale displays set up, and make it roughly 23.4 feet from the entrance to the salad bar. Which is what we were talking about in the exchange above, in case you were wondering. [Salad bar for lunch, which means the leftovers we were going to have for lunch get used for supper, and tomorrow we have dinner with family so no worries.]

The salad bar was slower than usual, even though there were only three of us using it, because the third person insisted on keeping her U-Haul-size shopping cart with her at all times, so only one-third of one side (hint: not the side with the boring junk) was available. Then we had to work our away around people peering at specials with mystified expressions, people talking on cell phones while moving at random along shelves after leaving their shopping carts on the other side of the aisle, and guys who just seemed to be there to read the signs (nope, different guy). Finally we got to a quiet aisle (breakfast cereal—what, nobody has cereal on Easter morning?) where we could talk.

DEB: “Okay, we have people who only shop on Saturday—”

ME: “—along with people who are stocking up for Easter, and finally people who have—”

BOTH: “—NEVER SHOPPED IN A GROCERY STORE IN THEIR LIFE!”

I have a totally awesome wife. She makes grocery shopping f̶u̶n̶ not terminally excruciating (okay, fun a lot of times, too).

Get home, unpack, put stuff away… and grab a piece of paper (oh, look, there’s a whole blank side of the last one!) to start the new grocery list.

ME: “New list.”

DEB: “Of course. What?”

ME: “Croutons. I’m using the last on my salad. Anything to add?”

DEB: “Soda.”***

ME: “We just got soda.”

DEB: “We always just got soda. We always just finished soda. We always need soda. I’m just going to make it a permanent addition to the list.”


*Also surprising to us: winter storm forecasts. So if a snowstorm is supposed to arrive on Sunday or Monday, everyone will be at the grocers stocking up on bread, milk, and eggs. Because, apparently, nothing says Wintertime Comfort like French toast. Meanwhile, we’re there for beef, barley, and veggies, because: #soupiscomfortfood.

**Not that there is anything wrong with this. My late mother-in-law did this, as did my mother when she was still able to cope with grocery stores. Does slow things down, however, and so Deb & I need to pay back the karmic points for all those trapped behind us while our mothers shuffled along.

***Diet root beer or diet birch beer. Always.

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