Why I shouldn’t do the grocery shopping

Shawn Magrath

I hate grocery shopping. On a long list of things I would rather not do, I would rank grocery shopping someplace above root canal and just below asbestos removal.

Really, what is there to like about grocery shopping? Aside from the skyrocketing price of groceries in the last year (which has made it more expensive to buy a loaf of bread and a box of Cheerios than to buy a human kidney on the black market), there are other little annoyances to deal with.

My complaining usually begins as soon as my car’s front tires cross the entrance of the parking lot. Just the drawn out search for a parking spot is enough to make the sweetest elderly woman cuss like a trucker. When I think I’ve found an empty spot, it turns out to be filled by a small car that’s pulled up too far and wasn’t seen behind the tank-sized SUV that’s parked back too far; or the space is taken by an empty shopping cart generously left behind by someone who didn’t walk the extra 20 feet to the nearest cart return.

If I were to label myself with a superhuman ability, it’s the inexplicable skill to pick out the worst shopping cart possible – the one with broken welds, a front wheel that only turns to the left, or a sticky handle; or it’s tangled by the child safety strap of the cart behind it, thereby making it impossible to take one cart without taking the next two with it and sucking me into a man vs. shopping cart battle, which naturally draws stares of curiosity mixed with pity from everyone around me.

Then there’s actual people to deal with – other shoppers who also don’t want to be grocery shopping. I really believe that I’m a people person, soft-spoken but sociable. In crowded places on the other hand… well, it’s one thing to deal with a few people at a time, but dealing with hundreds at a time is a different animal entirely.

I’m the type of shopper who likes to get what I need and get out as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, that can’t happen when entire groups of people walk side-by-side at half the speed of peanut butter down the middle of the aisle. If some of them were to move any slower, I might tip over.

Of course, if it’s not slow moving traffic standing in my way, it’s the shopping cart of someone who’s pondering the seemingly life-changing decision of which salad dressing to try. It’s a bit of a stretch, but my thought is that if someone takes more than 60 seconds to pick out an item, they should pull their cart to the side of the aisle, set up road cones and emergency flares, and have someone divert traffic around them.

Just as I have an uncanny sense of picking out the worst cart, I can also pick the checkout line that stands still the longest (another God given talent that I wouldn’t have picked for myself). Even so, I stay in that line because I know that if I move, it’s going to take off like a rocket while my new line goes nowhere. So, I entertain myself by reading gossip headlines I don’t care about and rearrange produce into the shape of a face on the bottom of my sticky-handled cart (two oranges for eyes, a banana smiley face, and fresh lettuce hair), all while waiting for 19-item guy to pay for his things in the 15 items or less checkout lane.

Still, despite all my whining, I have to suck it up. Saturday is grocery shopping day – I guess it’s not reasonable to live off Campbell’s soup and Ritz crackers forever.