Monday, November 7, 2016

Living Dangerously

Grocery shopping is dangerous.

I’m no newby at it, either. I’ve been navigating produce aisles for forty years and, while I consider myself an expert, don’t be fooled. I make this look easy. Retail therapy is not for the faint of heart.

I deserve a purple heart or a medal of honor for all that I’ve endured while bringing home the bacon.

Every time I see a man pushing a shopping cart while his wife tags along behind him, I think to myself, “Sweet thing, just wait for him in the car with bandages and a cold beer. He’ll be along soon enough and never try to take over for you again.”

Experience is a mean-hearted tutor.

Just this week, I was attacked by a three-pound bag of flour. Actually, it was gluten free baking mix. That means it already had an attitude based on an inferiority complex and was looking for an easy target like me. To be completely fair, it had suffered a serious injury—a side laceration. Apparently a  careless stocker got carried away with his utility knife and murdered the top six bags of Pamela’s Baking Mix right there in the middle of the natural foods aisle. Tragic. Not because the store was attempting to sell the damaged item, but because its fatal wound bled all over me when I pulled it down from the top shelf.


Grocery stores should offer liability insurance for their patrons—something that covers laundry bills. I only had that black shirt and clean pair of jeans on for an hour before I was annihilated by rice flour.

Usually my injuries are the result of poorly designed shopping carts. Never wear open-toed sandals while driving one of those. It’s just another example of buggies designed by men in expensive Florsheims who have never actually measured the stride of a woman pushing a cart or exposed their own sensitive toes to the dangers of tiny, treacherous wheels. I’ve lost more toenails than I want to mention here in this public forum, and—while it keeps nail techs busy with my repeat business—I’m tired of people pointing and laughing at my lopsided pedicures.

I repeat—I demand compensation for pain and disfigurement.

And one more thing. If I go home sporting any more bloodstains on the days I wear a white shirt while shopping, I’ll also need a disclaimer printed on the bottom of my store receipt so the polite police officer will know I was simply selecting a fresh roast and there’s no need to make me stand spread-eagle against my car while he searches the trunk for dead bodies.


Grocery stores think they’ve got us fooled providing Lysol wipes for us at the front door so we won’t pick up streptococcus from the handles of our carts. But I’m not afraid of baby bacteria. I raised two children and babysit at least three grandbabies on a regular basis. It’s grownups I’m afraid of.

So I come prepared. I pop 20K milligrams of Airborne every time I park in the only available space in the store’s north forty. Then I cross myself, kiss a rosary, and step through the automatic doors into forty-million square feet of oxygen that’s already been breathed and exhaled by mobs of disease carrying customers who haven’t yet decided whether or not to get this year’s flu shot.

I’m not even Catholic.

“It’s a war zone in there,” I told my husband yesterday, while I rubbed a wet washrag on the white powder all over my leather shoes.

“Did you get stopped by the cops again? That white powder looks suspicious.”

“It’s Pamela’s,” I answered in frustration.

“Who’s Pamela and why are you buying white powder from her?”

“Listen, honey,” I said, “I’ve had a hard day at the office. In the forty-five minutes I spent in Fry’s, I logged my entire ten thousand steps for the day criss-crossing the store and still forgot to pick up eggs. I can no longer wear white or black shirts when I go shopping, and while I desperately wanted to buy a peppermint mocha at the inside Starbucks, the line was so long it wrapped around the sushi bar and stopped in front of the candy aisle. I decided to skip all the drama and buy a bag of Peppermint Patties instead. Now half the bag is gone.

“Not only that, but the snowbirds are back, and before I could even leave the store, the high school let out, that new housing development across the street invited five hundred new residents to use one of six operating checkout lanes in the grocery store, and I broke another toenail pushing my cart out to the truck.”

“But you’re not wearing sandals,” he said in confusion.

“I kicked the tires of a car next to me. Well, it was the last straw! It was parked so close I couldn’t even open my door to get in.”

“How’d you get home?” he asked.

“The driver offered me a ride when he saw me kick his car. I guess it’s not a good idea to do that to a police cruiser. I have a court date for next Thursday.”

“You want me to do the shopping from now on?” he asked carefully.

“Not a chance,” I said over my shoulder. “I know you mean well, but you and I both know the truth—you’re way underqualified.”

He's not. He doesn’t have the nails for a job like this.

With many thanks to the following link for the use of the awesome photograph above.

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