You find them all at the grocery store – every body type, every voice level, every age, group, every gender. It’s usually a grueling experience for me.
I have found (sorry ladies) that men who shop for food are the usually the most considerate. Probably because they realize that their testosterone is outnumbered by the amount of estrogen in a 15,000 square foot building by about 99 to 1. They will make sure their cart is pushed to one side in an aisle to let you pass; they will let you go through the check out first if you only have a few items; and they will ask you about which spaghetti sauce you prefer. Men, also, are considerate enough to call the wife to make sure they are buying the right thing – “Honey, do you want the 1% or 2% milk?”
Warning!! DO NOT send your husband to the market for one specific item you need 30 minutes before guests arrive for dinner. Instead of getting a package of wild rice, they will come home with a Betty Crocker microwavable rice dinner in a bowl.
Then there’s the mother who is dragging her 3 children along with her. They are usually trailing behind her as she maneuvers from aisle to aisle, holding up the parade for the other shoppers, and it’s apparent they would rather be anywhere else than at the grocery store. The teenagers are texting, and the pre-teen is whining for every chip and cookie on the shelf.
Then there are those god-awful carts where the kid is strapped in and thinks he’s a racecar driver. Who the hell thought that would be a good idea. Not only do the carts block the entire aisle, but the kid is usually screaming to get out of it. The mother is oblivious to all of this while she decides what soup to open for dinner.
I like the elderly ladies the best – probably because we are closest in age and wear the same progressive/transition lenses eyeglasses. We will stand, shoulder to shoulder, looking at the shelf in front of us for about 10 minutes. Pretty soon we will say to each other, “Do you see the graham cracker crumbs?” “No, they were here last year.” About 20 minutes later you run into them again, “I found the cracker crumbs, now I’m looking for the shoestring potatoes.” “Oh, yeah, I think I saw them on the chip aisle.” We like to help each other out.
Today I am maneuvering my way down the bread aisle looking for hot dog buns. We are responsible for the tailgate party, and I thought hot dogs would be the easiest to prepare. Woops – low and behold, I encounter a Lane Bryant sized woman, straddling the walkway with her cart parked directly in the center. In my most pleasant voice I say, “Excuse me.” She turns to me and says, “I’m sorry. You should have hit me up side the head.” I think this is funny, so, trying to make light of the situation, I say, “Like Gibbs does on NCIS.” We all of a sudden become the best of friends. We stand there for 15 minutes sharing tales about watching NCIS, Law and Order, and Criminal Minds on TV. Then we discuss types of bread that is best for toasting and if our headbands are too young for us. We could barely tear ourselves away from each other. “Maybe we’ll see each other again some time.” “Yea, maybe down the cookie aisle.”
So from now on, I will change my attitude about grocery shopping. I will view it as a networking experience.