Mass Murder in Aisle 3

23 Feb

Why do people shut off their brains when they’re in grocery stores?

I try to be considerate and get the half-cart.  I could get a full-sized one, but who needs all that space and luxury? I’m into efficiency and what’s good for the grocery store environment.  So I’m a good citizen and I get the half-cart.

I appear to be the only one.

I don’t spend a lot of time piddling around at the store.  I know what I need and if I take a moment to reflect, it’s because I’m either comparing price per unit (that little treasure of a calculation listed on the upper right tab of the price that no one else reads) or because there’s been some newfangled product line introduced and I’m trying to stare it down and see if it will buckle under the pressure of my wary consumer eye.

It usually does.

Everyone else seems to arrive at the store as if visiting the museum.  Slow trodding, frequent stopping, and long gazes into the shelves.  The most common obstacle for me is old ladies.  Yes, I’m going to make that awful sweeping statement, because I’m sorry but for me  it’s true.  They have absolutely no regard for people around them, and are always positioned exactly in front of the thing I need. Not a problem – I’m a go-getter.  I simply excuse myself.  But since I do so at a polite volume for the rest of the aisle, the offender is usually unable to hear me.    And I just feel so bad getting upset because they’re so wrinkly and adorable.   Getting to the grocery store was probably the only thing on their to-do list that day and I’m just some yuppie that can’t slow down and enjoy the beauty of the cereal aisle.

Actually, you know what? It’s not just the old ladies.  Let me be fair.

There was a ridiculous couple who took up the entire freezer section today.  The entire thing, I kid you not.  The man had the first (full-size) cart and one kid inside.    He was positioned just slightly left of the aisle’s y-axis.  His wife/girlfriend/baby momma was just to the right.  With another full-size cart and another kid.   Both were strolling along at a solid half mile per hour.  I excused myself but got no response.   The female was much more concerned with making sure the male knew she wanted an ample supply of chitlins for Easter.

There’s nothing like celebrating the resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ with a feast of pig intestines.

I was trying to size up my options for frozen dinners as last minute work lunches but was unable to do so because even after she noticed me, she couldn’t pull her kid away from the section.   He appeared to be stuck to the freezer door.  As she pushed the cart down the aisle and his grip tightened on the freezer door, I stopped to stare at his incredibly stretchable midsection.   He was a genuine Stretch Armstrong.   She continued forward, physical limitations set in, and with his inevitable release came a storm of screaming.

By now, my blood had worked up to a slight simmer.

When I finally arrived to the dairy section,  I was thwarted in my attempts by a middle-aged woman who was overwhelmed by the multitude of yogurt options available to her.   She picked each one up delicately, handling its packaging as if a beautiful gift and pondering the ingredients like a Shakespearean sonnet.  And since I’d already attempted to excuse myself with both the old lady and the couple, I had basically thrown my tactics list out the window.  I tried a new game and parked my cart to observe her, as if watching an animal at the zoo.   Activia….Yoplait…Gogurt…Stonyfield…LORD HELP ME SHE’S READING THE ACTIVIA AGAIN.

Unable to maintain control over my anger, I B-lined toward the checkout line.  I don’t need yogurt.  There are little microscopic creatures inside and it’s always freaked me out anyway.

By the time I made it to the car, I had encountered nearly fifteen unique tests of my patience and use of decent language.

I can’t do this daytime shopping thing anymore.  I told myself it was normal and decided to give it a go again but I just can’t have this sort of stressor in my life.  I should have known not to willingly enter such a heavily populated closed quarter.  That’s the stuff mass murders are made out of.

So it’s back to the night shift for me.  There was a time when I longed for a friendly face behind the register instead of the zombie-like night crew.   I had visions of overflowing produce and aisles clear of stock boxes.   The idea of daytime shopping was like a world of sunshine and lollipops that had to be revisited.

But that was before 5:45 yesterday, when for a moment I entertained acts of violence toward total strangers.

You see?  This is why I stay inside.



11 Responses to “Mass Murder in Aisle 3”

  1. paulbeforeswine February 23, 2011 at 9:31 am #

    I love grocery horror stories! Especially the parts where other people are completely oblivious and inconsiderate to the world outside their little bubble of a shopping cart…


    • Jackie February 23, 2011 at 7:31 pm #

      Ugh I know. It makes me so grumpy; I’m seriously considering doing groceries by mail.


  2. pegoleg February 23, 2011 at 10:16 am #

    Everyone knows about road-rage, but we don’t talk about the seemy underbelly of the grocery business; aisle-rage. If it ever got out how many produce-feeling seniors had been assaulted by busy career women wielding bunches of cilantro, it would be bad for business.


    • pegoleg February 23, 2011 at 10:18 am #

      That should be “seamy” – sorry. Got so carried away with my expose.


  3. Ginger The Cat February 23, 2011 at 10:53 pm #

    Ahahahaha! “…as if visiting the museum…” PERFECT description!

    It’s hard to find the half-carts at my usual store so I often get stuck with the big cart. I park it at the end of an aisle and dash up & down the aisles grabbing things & juggling them as if I’m racing a clock in a game show.

    The grocery store I frequent also has those obnoxious carts that have a NASCAR built in to it. I s’pose this is to entertain the little one but they are huge & really unwieldy….and don’t get me started on the pushing ability of the person steering it around the store.

    Why do people park their carts SMACK IN THE MIDDLE of an aisle and wander off gazing at air particles?

    Why do couples generally stand there and ask each other, “Is it okay if I get this <<>>?” Fer gawd’s sake, you’re at least 35 years old — what are you asking permission for?!

    Unfortunately, I do most of my shopping on a Saturday afternoon. Ugh.

    Ok, now that the vein is throbbing in my forehead, I think I need to go lie down.


  4. egills February 24, 2011 at 7:36 am #

    Ha ha Trolley rage.. I suffer from it frequently – however at least I can contain myself ( just about ) I normally have to send ‘him’ to the car to wait for me to finish because no matter how painfully slow / irritating other people are being, no matter how many times my ankles get clobbered by unruly trolleys… Nothing compares to having to cope with him getting a full on strop attack!
    Best time to shop, mid week about 9pm.. most brats are in bed by then 🙂


    • Jackie February 24, 2011 at 9:06 pm #

      It took me a moment to realize that Trolley = Cart. But I’m all caught up to speed with the uk thing now haha – I think I’ll try the mid week 9pm thing… but I’m so old now that I would just come home and it would be time to go to bed. I’m not sure how I feel knowing that the last thing I did on a day was grocery shop. It seems odd to me.


  5. Sarah T. February 24, 2011 at 9:38 am #

    The next time you visit I might have to introduce you to the wonders of online grocery shopping. The Giant near us allows you to shop online, they gather your groceries, and you pick them up. All for less than $5.

    Which is well worth it considering that impulse buy of Oreos usually costs around $3.

    You can hand them your coupons and credit card or cash and they load it for you – grocery shopping without even getting out of the car. I love it. Plus it limits the amount of people you have to interact with, which is always a plus for me.


    • Jackie February 24, 2011 at 9:10 pm #

      I did it once and adored everything about it. Except that we only have a local, organic store that does it and I can only really get my produce there if I still want to eat like a normal human being.


      • Sarah T. February 25, 2011 at 9:26 am #

        Ah, that sucks. I’m lucky ours is just a normal Giant that still carries things like Oreos.


  6. pinkunderbelly February 26, 2011 at 9:53 am #

    I hear ya, sister! I’m considering grocery shopping at midnight, in hopes that all the chitlins-eating morons will be home in bed. Preach on!


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