Gypsy's Travels

Saturday, October 4, 2008

A Trip to the Grocery Store

I love to wander through grocery stores when I travel, but I don't like to grocery shopping for necessities. I have to run out of something very important in order to precipitate the inevitable trip to the local grocery. I have tried several different things, thinking perhaps it was the time of day, day of the week, or particular mood,but nothing made the obligation any easier. Such was the dilemma yesterday. I was out of bread and tea so a trip to the local HEB was an absolute necessity. I had put it off all week, knowing it would be worse the longer I waited, but finding excuses to avoid the inevitable.

It has not always been this way. I frequently shopped with all four children in tow. I taught them to hang on to the cart and we managed very well, thank you. After the children left home, DH would sometimes request to accompany me. He learned about the increasing prices of food on each trip and we delighted in trying new items that appealed to both of us. When my mother visits, she loves to go along and compare what we have to what she is accustomed to at home. Just give her a grocery cart and she is able to easily maneuver through territory that would ordinarily be too difficult for her. Perhaps it is the memories that make the shopping so difficult these days. Perhaps it is the changes in the store and the service that throw me into a subliminal cringe.

At any rate, I finally graced the grocery store doors late Saturday afternoon, forgetting that everyone and his / her brother would be doing the weekly shopping. I braved the crowds, giving way to hurrying shoppers who were weaving in and out of aisles and around other carts, just as they drive on the freeway. I was in no hurry. I chose my items, stocking up on more than I intended ( you never know what you really need until you see it) and made my way to a check stand. I gave up on the self-service check-outs a while ago because it always takes me twice as long as going to one of the real people.

After having spent the time selecting all my goods, loading them into the cart, and unloading them onto the conveyor belt, I watched and waited as the man in front of me paid for his beer, wine, and soda. $100 worth of drinks. Must be having a swinging party. The checker was friendly enough as she tossed my purchases to the end of the counter. There was a line behind me and no sacker, so I bagged everything myself while trying to keep an eye out to ascertain the prices were correct. I wonder why can I remember the prices of everything I buy and I can't remember the name of a person when I am introduced. All my items rolled on the conveyor belt and / or were tossed to the end in quick succession, to arrive in one roiling pile at the end of the counter. I was bagging as fast as I could, having had plenty of experience in Australia where bagging was the customer's responsibility, but it was the final straw when I tried to pick up a bag of grapes. The plastic bag had been caught in the end of the conveyor belt, squashed up against bottles of juice, and most of the grapes that had not been squashed, had rolled out of the bag and lay among the various other items. I tugged at the bag with growing ire and pictured bruised and squashed grapes being discarded by overzealously picky family members. I gathered my courage.

"I don't want these grapes," I said as I tugged on the bag which was hung on the still moving mechanism.

I grabbed at individual grapes, trying to rescue them from certain maceration and fuming that I had been charged for them already and the weight would be diminished by losses by the time I got them home. No problem. The checker deftly took the bag, spent a few minutes looking on her machine, then deleted the price. As I loaded the last of the groceries into my cart for the trip out to the car, she looked at me sweetly and asked, "Would you like some help with that?"


  1. The last time I tried to bag at a local store, the manager tapped me on the shoulder and said,"Get out of there." Apparently it was some sort of "union" thing. We now use those reusable bags, (as I was tired of rebaging the old plastic bags which all had tipped over in the back of the car), so that I could get them into the house. Now I have to remind ME that she should get her reusable bags out of the back of the car before entering the store.

  2. We try not to do the Union thing here in Texas. I don't like plastic bags either, for the same reason as yours - all the groceries fall out. I generally ask for paper bags. I always forget my reusables, but someday I will get it in order.

  3. I love to go to the grocery store with you - because I don't visit often, you buy whatever I want!

  4. I hate it when I have to bag my own groceries and then they ask if I want help out? Who is going to help me, the imaginary bagger?

    I don't blame you for not wanting the grapes after they were mauled by the machine.

    Happy Monday.

  5. Kids for the weekend, now when have I heard that?


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