A humorous look at the little things in life

Trials and tribulations of a frequent shopper — grocery, that is July 1, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — ashleyolsonrosen @ 11:00 am

Recommended wine for today’s entry:  Here’s another suggestion from Becky. She had this recently at Mon Ami Gabi in Vegas (she recommends the restaurant too). It’s a rose wine from Chateau De Campuget. She had it with bread before her meal and said “it was the perfect way to break bread.” Why am I recommending it tonight? Well, we’re not the Mon Ami Gabi, but we will be breaking bread tonight  – yes, it’s sandwich night again.

 And now I will segue from French wine in Las Vegas to my neighborhood grocer. See, that’s the difference between my friend Becky and me. That’s the difference between just about everyone and me. While she was dining al fresco during a dash-away to Sin City, I was probably in aisle 7, lifting the 40-pound box of generic kitty litter into my cart. Alas.

So because I go to the grocery A LOT, I have been thinking about the grocery A LOT. And here are some of my gripes/phobias: 

1)      The Self-Scan machines. If I ever meet the woman behind that grating voice that tells me to “Please place the item in the bag” when I every single time have freaking already done so, I will maul her. If you get testy, she knows, then it flashes, “Please wait for the attendant” and there’s no attendant attending. I talk back, arguing my case, throw my hand on my hip, tap my foot and stare at the management desk. No one ever seems to care.

2)      Senior citizen day. Now, before you think ill of me, please understand that I totally think that senior citizens deserve a discount and have EVERY RIGHT to shop at my grocery. But not all in one day. There I am, just dashing in for salad dressing. Should just take a second, except oh no, here I am, kerplunk in the very middle of aisle 5 and it’s … oh, crap. It’s Wednesday! I scramble to get some good footing on the perpetually waxed linoleum to get a running start to the front of the store, but I dally too long and drat! Blocked by two elderly women and their carts. And I see the short one squinting maliciously at my Achilles tendon and accelerating. No problem, I think, spinning, I’ll escape out the other end, but I hear it before I see it…a bitter old man on the scooter cart! As soon as he sees the fear on my face, he starts weaving from side to side, daring me to try to pass. This feels like an episode of American Gladiator. (No, I am not a fan, but my husband was fascinated by Helga.) By the time I get to the front of the store, even the 15-items-or-less lanes are clogged with happy elders. So now I have to go fight with the stupid chick telling me to “Please place the item in the bag…”

3)      The deli counter. Once, just once, I want it to go like this: “Hi, may I please have a half pound of Boar’s Head honey turkey, sliced however you want?” and then they say, NOTHING. Because it’s very simple. I’ve outlined exactly what I want. Instead, I say, “Hi, may I please have a half pound of Boar’s Head honey turkey, sliced however you want?” and they say, “Did you say honey turkey?” and I say, “Yes, please” and they say, “Boar’s Head or Private Selection?” and I say, “Boar’s Head, please” and they say, “Is this thick alright?” and I say, a bit terse now, leaving off the please, “Uh-huh,” and they say, “A pound?” and I say, ‘NO A HALF POUND!” and then they put .62 of a pound on the scale and say, “It’s a little bit over, is that OK?” and I say, “No, I want a half pound.” Then they painstakingly, slice by slice, take it off, but one slice makes the difference between .48 and .51, so they put it on and look at it, take it off and look at it, put it on, … until I break. “JUST PUT IT ON!!” Then they take like ten minutes to put the sticker on and zip the bag, reach over and say, “anything else?” That is why, you’ll always notice, they have a beer display right past the deli.

4)      The produce department. There is no way to open the bags without licking your fingers. Once in awhile, you get lucky and that automatic mist that comes on without warning douses your hands and allows you to open the bags. But for me, that only seems to come on when I actually have applied makeup or self-tanner and am leaning down to smell the cilantro that disguises itself as parsley. So I lick my fingers. So does everyone else. Why do you think stores recommend you wash your produce? It has nothing to do with pesticides. It has to everything do with that kid with the pierced eyebrow and the oozy cold sore, whose mother gave him cig money if he’d pick her up a clump of broccoli.

5)      A doctor’s office in a grocery store. Knowing what we know about the whole licking your fingers and selecting produce, do we think it’s a good thing to put a medical center that’s perfect for diagnosing colds and flu in the section next to the Vitamin C-rich oranges?

 Now, I understand that these stores are doing the best they can. It’s a tough business. But let’s start with offering the senior citizen discount EVERY day of the week, requiring an IQ test for the deli people (after all, they are operating a saw that could dispose of a corpse in seconds flat), and developing a produce bag that opens like a car airbag. That’s all I want. Oh, and how about a separate entrance for those visiting the doc?


4 Responses to “Trials and tribulations of a frequent shopper — grocery, that is”

  1. Rebecca Reed Says:

    Yikes, I spend my “back to reality” lunch hour at the Kroger next to Papa John’s Stadium. And, yes, it was Senior Citizens’ Day. My problem is that I spend most of time wandering up and down aisles, thinking “now what was I supposed to pick up?” How can I forget the main item I came to buy…each and every time?

    And, by the way, we must go to Vegas together. Our guys will be responsible for keeping us out of trouble!

  2. JOAnn Olson Says:

    Hey, I’m that senior citizen that’s there on Wednesday. Now move over, ’cause I have 50 coupons to redeem. Becky, you don’t want to go to Vegas with Ashley–she’ll lose your shirt, too.

  3. WriterChick Says:

    Our deli pre-slices all the meat and cheese and it lays there who-knows-long. When they fresh slice the cheese for you they layer it with papers so it doesn’t stick together. I like it layered and alway ask for fresh slice, because I also like it slice thinner than the stuff in the case. I always get the evil eye and the deli person who says, “We have it pre-sliced.”

    I know that. I’m not blind, I think. But I say, “I know, but I prefer it thinner and with the papers.”

    Then I get the sigh and the eyeroll.

    Doesn’t it all pay the same–whether they are scooping it out of the case or slicing and layering it. They have to be there for their shift anyway. It’s not like they get to go home when they empty the case. They just have to SLICE more. Right?


  4. Beth Says:

    I avoid the deli as often as possible because I hate to repeat to the same person, over and over, what I want. So, now it’s Healthy Choice meat-in-a-bag for us. There are several varieties of turkey and ham, so at least we don’t get bored.

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