There is a place on this earth that I am required to go at least once a week. A place that holds so much dread, the mere thought of it makes me want to eat a Xanax. I’d rather pull out my toe nails one by one with a pair of pliers than traverse this place.
But alas, my weekly visit is a necessity. My family would literally not survive if I did not go to this place.
The place I’m talking about is the big grocery store. You know the one: soup to nuts, grapes to pregnancy tests, bread to lipstick. They have it all; contained in a four acre building-o-fun.
The minute I pull into the gigantic parking lot, my blood pressure spikes. I am, of course, behind someone driving at a snail’s pace, looking for the closest parking spot available. God forbid they park in the spot that’s wide open, and walk another 100 feet to get into the store.
My hand lingers over my horn but I refrain. Don’t people know I’ve got shit to do?
As I enter the store, the greeter shouts out, “Good morning!”
Is it? I wonder. Is it really a good morning??? I mean, I’m HERE, and not getting my nails done or something. How good could it really be?
I go to pull out a cart but end up waiting (very patiently, I might add) behind the mom who is going about settling her three kids into the Suburban XL cart; you know the one; with the full picnic bench on the end, which is what it becomes as she pulls out 7 bags of snacks and hands them to her children (Lord, I do not miss those days). But not too quickly, after first wiping the entire thing down with a clorox wipe she digs from the depths of her purse (can’t blame her).
What feels like a full five minutes later, she finally has her kids settled and buckled and picnicking away as she turns the cart to head into the produce section. Too much momentum, and she bangs the cart into me. Thank you. I’m thrilled to be here too. I’m pritty sure she gave herself a hernia just trying to get headed into the right direction. Again, not missing those days.
My turn to get a cart.
It’s stuck. I move over and yank on the one next to it. It’s stuck too. I start to wiggle and shake it thinking it will pop loose and before I know it, I am rattling the carts like a chimp rattling his cage, hair flapping over my red face.
“F*CK!” I declare. Because using the F word is like WD-40; it makes everything work better. I give it one last I-just-came-from-the-gym tug, and it comes loose.
It has a used kleenex in the bottom of it.
I stifle a gag and move on. Ain’t nobody got time fo dat.
Through the aisles I go, my list meticulously written out in the order of which I will find things. I avoid all aisles with men because they don’t know what they are looking for or how to move a cart out of the center of the aisle (seriously, men; move you cart aside; it’s common sense).
I am ripping through the store at a professional pace, feelin’ pritty dang proud of how efficient I am. I got this licked.
I can’t find the marshmallows. It’s the last thing on the list and I promised my kids I’d make rice crispy treats. Where in God’s name are the marshmallows?? They are always in the baking aisle, but today, of all days, they are not here. Because since the last time I was here, the powers-that-be at this store got together and said, “how can we screw with our shoppers this week? Oh! I know! Let’s move the freaking marshmallows out of the baking aisle, and into the bottom shelf of the last aisle called ‘snacks’ (because that’s what marshmallows are, they are snacks now) and put them right below the boxed jello (because boxed jello is a snack too). Yeah. That’ll really make our shoppers insane (cue evil laugh).“
I put my last item (marsh-f-ing-mallows) into my cart and wave to the invisible camera above, sure I’m being punk’d. Found ’em, A- holes.
I head to the check out.
Two lanes open.
Two. Freaking. Lanes.
There are 25 lanes in this store but pig-be-a-princess if I’ve ever seen more than a few open at a time. Unless, of course you would like to use self-checkout, taking three minutes per item to find the proper bar code that makes it go beep, have your eggs break at the end of the conveyor belt, and have a red light and sirens go off while you wait to have them check your ID for the 17 bottles of wine you are trying purchase. No thanks. I’ll wait right here in this line and read the Enquirer, because Brad and Angelina are having an alien baby and I want to find out what sex it is.
I can’t concentrate on my magazine. The kid in the cart ahead of me is throwing a fit. He’s tired and hungry and probably hates this place as much as I do. His mom is red faced and literally telling him to shut up or he won’t get to ride the mechanical horse. The checker is babbling away.
Beep! Blaaah blaaaah blaaah. Beep! Blaaaah blaaaaah blaaah. Beep!
“Oh wait.” Says the mom. “That’s supposed to be on sale.”
For. Freak. Sake.
Because you know what that means:
Shut down the lane, call a manager, pull out the ads, look through it for the product, discuss it, override-oh wait that takes a different person, page the override manager, wait. Wait some more. Enter the code, new price….beep.
I literally cannot even make a nice face anymore. I am all eyes rolling, eyebrows scrunched (as much as they can through my botox), and mouth downturned. Hey everyone. Look at me. I’m mad.
The chatty checker (who has thankfully decided not to chat with me, can’t imagine why…) finally gets me through the line. “Any coupons, bottle slips or StorePerks?” she says smiling.
“No. None of that shit. The only store perk I can think of is getting me the hell out of here as fast as possible. That would be a perk,” is what I WANT to say, but of course, I just mumble, “no.”
She prints out my receipt and waits. And waits. And waits. While the machine spits out enough coupons to pad my cell. I have apparently hit the coupon jackpot. Yip. Eee. I shove my winnings angrily in my purse and turn towards the door.
Can’t get out of here fast enough.
I walk past the screaming kid who has been rewarded by riding the horse and now looks very happy. And I think: where’s the horse for the adults? Because I could really use a happy penny ride right now too. Or forget the horse, how bout just a wine dispenser. Grab a 40oz cup and fill ‘er up with red or white. Or mix them both and make it a Rose, because you deserve it.
I walk out the sliding doors, wheel my cart out and breathe in the fresh, cool air.
Deep breaths. Deep breaths.
I made it out of there without assaulting anyone.
And although I wish this story ended here, it just simply doesn’t. I still have a few hours of work ahead, as I head home to unpack all the groceries, which also involves cleaning out the fridge and the pantry (I know, first world problems), and probably finding that my raw chicken has leaked onto my apples or that my loaf of bread has been squished under the cans of soup.
But worstly (yeah, that’s a word), I know I have to do this all over again next week.
Now which bag are those bottles of wine in….