No matter how good a mood I am in when I walk in, I leave the grocery store grumpy. It is not the prices and quality of the produce that irritates this quasi-vegetarian polyvore. The insecticide-saturated potatoes and wilted, nutrition-free lettuce are passive and helpless, poor things. The piles of overripe bananas generate compassion in me. It’s the people who get on my nerves.
Here are some examples.
I am in the soft drink section, and I am contemplating the best price on sparkling water. The stranger next to me, who appears to be contemplating which type of cola to purchase, begins to whisper, “Did you see those people put all that energy drink stuff in their basket? I bet their kids even drink it. Those energy drinks should be outlawed for anyone under 18 years old. They are terrible, awful, don cha think? Those people should lose their parental rights, don cha think?”
I feel the first bit of grump set in and reply by saying either nothing at all or I say, “pick your poison” if they are grotesquely out of shape. This is my version of live and let live. I move on quickly.
I get through several aisles without much trouble. I steer slowly into the deli section cause I know it will be unpleasant for one reason or another. Today, I ask the deli man for some of the low fat, Alpine Swiss, sliced thin. While he is working away on my cheese, he lectures me about “all that bru-haha about too much fat.” Next, I hear about how he grew up eating bacon and eggs everyday, along with toast and lots of butter. They had real cream, too. Then the topper, ” And look at me, I don’t look so bad, do I honey? (not soooo bad I notice). The grump-o-meter rises as I contemplate my bad luck having cholesterol hoarding genes.
The bulk aisle is fine today–no one is snitching chocolate covered almonds or sneezing into the rice bin. I zoom past the candy aisle, which tempts me beyond my feeble level of self-control (Cadbury Fruit and Nut, especially). Turning the corner and heading towards the coffee selections, I run into the town gossip.
“Ya know, Pastor, I don’t know what to think about Ben and Frank moving in together. Do you think….ya know what I mean..”
And then, “Ya know, Pastor, I saw Lulu’s car in the liquor store parking lot. Do you think…ya know what I mean.”
And then Ya know, Pastor, Sara’s eighth grade niece is getting big around the waist. Do you think…ya know what I mean”
….and on and on and on. I am stuck because I am a Pastor and I don’t want her telling everyone that I am rude and uncaring about gay people, those who drink too much, and pregnant teenagers. Finally, my cell phone rings, and I excuse myself to take this urgent work call, which is really just the Xerox recording hounding me again about turning in the quarterly meter reading. But, I am free.
Then I hit the checkout lines.
The person in front of me starts commenting on all the magazine headlines.
“Can ya believe it, Lindsay Lohan in jail again (yes I can believe it).”
“Can ya believe that Farrah Fawcett had anal cancer (yes I believe it).”
Can ya believe it, Obama is a Muslim (no I can’t believe it).”
Can ya believe it, more UFO sightings in NM (no I can’t believe it).”
Considering where I live (small town in Wyoming), if its not someone giving me a summary of the gossip rags, someone is lecturing about gun control. Gun control always makes me grumpy.
Finally it is my turn to checkout. The checkout person drives me further down the grumpy roadway (no offense to you perfectly professional checkers). One in particular analyzes everything as she runs it through the scanner:
- “This toilet paper, doesn’t it scratch?”
- “I didn’t know you ate these things. Someone else told me they are like eatin sawdust”
- “Don’t you think you should get dog food made in America, not China?”
- “So how do you cook tofu, anyway?”
- “Hmmmmm, Oreos.
- “Hmmmm…. hemorrhoid cream. Yep, I know a thing or two about those. Just last week….”
Gripping the cart handles and clenching my teeth, I get through all this without saying much. No need to encourage her. I think I glare at a little, but she never notices. Then, the grand finale: the overly cheery, “You saved $17 today”, thank you Mrs. Willis for shopping at Slobber Mart.” I clench my teeth and count to 10, forwards and backwards as she loads the bags into my cart.
First of all, I am not a Mrs. anything. My evil stepmother and grandmother were “Mrs. Willis”. Please, don’t ever confuse me with them. I am a Ms. Willis or Reverend Willis if you must use a title. Furthermore, you know and I know that I didn’t save a dime. The prices were outrageously high and my super saver card simply brings prices down to “normal”. And all those BOGO items? You know and I know that your bosses more than doubled the price of one, so going BOGO means we pay more than we would without your stinkin “sale”.
As you can surely tell, by this time I am over the top grumpy. I know better than to say a thing, though. I slump out of the store exhausted. As I cross the parking lot a large pickup with a Hemi engine roars by and drenches me with water from a large puddle of melted snow.
Sigh. Sometimes I think I would rather starve. But I will be back next week, when I run out of Oreos.