I Can’t Go Shopping Anymore

Grocery shopping has become problematic lately. I hate shopping anyway. Clothes shopping, grocery shopping, shopping for anything. I know what I’m after, I get in, and I get the hell out. It’s a Y-chromosome thing. But I realized the other night that late night grocery shopping at Wal-Mart is a whole different kind of adventure. Recently my day job became a night job (change of hours) and then a day job again, but I still don’t get off till nearly 8:00pm. The other night after I got off work, I had a few errands to run and then decided to stop by Wally World to pick up some groceries. As much as I hate to support that particular bastion of American excess and ugliness, it’s the only place in town where I can get a pound of hamburger meat (and not that cheap, 30% fat crap) for under $4.00.

One of the things I needed to get was spaghetti sauce. Can someone please tell me at what point did shopping for spaghetti sauce become like shopping for cough syrup? There’s like 627 types of sauce out there.

I stood there staring at the shelves like a gaping mouthed moron trying to decide which way I was going to go. Do I want mushroom? Garlic? Mushroom and garlic? Onions? No onions? Italian herbs? Regular herbs? No herbs? There was even one jar proclaiming in a big, wavy banner on the front that it was “Marinara”. Isn’t it all marinara? I ended up going with what sounded the best to me: garlic. You can never go wrong with garlic. I’d never make it as a vampire. I’d put garlic on my Frosted Mini-Wheats if I had half a nerve.

Going through the checkout line was another exercise in awkward. You usually have plenty of down time when you’re going through the checkout line at a Wal-Mart because despite the fact that they have 27 lines in the place, they never have more than 3 open at any given time. This results in plenty of time to pretend like you’re not looking in the cart in front of you. But you know you are. The guy in front of me was shopping for nothing more than 7 packs of boxers. That’s it. Just 7 packs of undies, 3 to a pack. What was that situation all about? Was it just time for a general re-stock/replacement? Had his laundry gotten stolen somewhere? You know what, I’m calling it. Anything other than those 2 explanations is going to be weird. Anything. Those are the only ones I’m accepting. Although I’m dying to know. And you know you are too.

So that was the story with “guy in front of me in line”. But I know you’re dying to know what was going on with “girl behind in me line”. Sometimes when I go to the grocery store, I’m not just shopping for pork chops. I’ll admit that I’m “checking out the scenery”. But I can’t flirt with a girl when she’s got a buggy (I’m in the South and that’s what we call them down here) full of groceries. I have a constant fear that I will glance into her buggy and see what she’s got. And I just know that in my attempt to look at her and smile, while glancing quickly at her buggy, it will be on the one day that’s she’s out shopping for “special lady products”. And now suddenly we’ve gone from having a cute story to tell at our wedding reception one day about how we met at the grocery store to me just being the weird pervy guy who made her feel uncomfortable because in between awkward grins, I was staring at her uh…you know…stuff. So, I gave the buggy a once-over when I was sure she wasn’t looking, and then flashed her a polite smile and a look dead in the eye that said, “I’m just being polite because we looked at each other for a fraction of a second, but I’ll hold it just a little longer just in case…See anything you like here?…No? Ok, well the guy with all the boxers is done now, so I guess I’m up. Oh, and after I pay and I’m about to walk away and you’re bending over your buggy to put everything on the counter, I’m probably going to be checking our your ass. Just thought I’d give you a heads up. Later.” God, my awkward smiles don’t know when to shut up.

One last thing. As I was heading out the door, I overheard the following conversation: A lady was stooped over a trash can and digging in it. An elderly man was just walking in and she looked up and asked him if he could help her because she, and I quote, “dropped her $12 bill in there.” Part of me wanted to stick around for a couple of seconds to see how this played out, but I just kept on walking to the car. I’d dealt with enough already.

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18 Responses to “I Can’t Go Shopping Anymore”

  1. “…I gave the buggy a once-over when I was sure she wasn’t looking, and then flashed her…”

    You filthy bastard.

  2. Just make your own sauce. Jarred sauce! Honestly.

    And if you see a jumbo box of cooter plugs in the buggy, rejoice. Means she’s got a working system and is probably not secretly a dude. Go get you some.

  3. Why the heck do they call it Wally World? I never understood that name.

  4. Yes, make your own sauce. Much better. Then you can afford non-Wal-Mart meat too.

  5. Spagetti sauce to cough syrup comparison had me making a scene at Starbucks. Too perfect.

  6. This post is hilarious and goes to show why I prefer not to make eye contact with anyone when I’m shopping, not even the checker.

  7. “Special lady products”? Seriously? No woman is going to think you’re a perv because you noticed that she’s, GASP, a woman. Freely stare at her breasts? Yes. Notice tampons? No.

    • I guess that means it would be really rude if I did that when I eventually make my way to DC. Don’t be offended. It’s just how I say hello.

  8. You know how I say I’m offended when men stare at my breasts? Well… here’s my secret: it actually makes me feel powerful.

  9. Hoverbored Says:

    I just assumed they called it “Wally World” after the amusement park in National Lampoon’s Vacation.

    When it comes to Spaghetti sauces, there are actually a number of varieties. It wasn’t until recently that I found out that the standard “meat sauce” that we typically eat with spaghetti is called a Bolognese, as opposed to a Marinara. (Now there’s an icebreaker to get the ladies going!)

    You can make a Bolgnese sauce at home; all you need are cream of mushroom soup, ground beef (we often use defrosted hamburger patties), tomato paste, Italian seasoning, and garlic (fresh, ground, powdered, any form is fine). You can also add mushrooms, olives, or whatever other vegetables you want (some recipes even use carrots).

    “I’m not just shopping for pork chops” sounds like a strained euphemism you’d hear in a “Whose Line” game. “I’m looking to score a good deal, if you know what I mean.” “I’d like to but my hands on some hot cross buns, if you know what I mean.” “I like my bagels with raisins, if you know what I mean!” (???)

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