Friday, March 11, 2011

Bad Day at the Grocery Store

Not that going grocery shopping is ever a really pleasant experience for me – I generally hate it – but last week I had a particularly rough time. I’m not one of those people who actually enjoy strolling the aisles, looking for new items, sampling the cut up fruit in the produce section, seeing what’s cooking in the deli. I usually am sandwiching my grocery run between work or school or some other unmovable deadline and have about an hour to do two weeks worth of shopping. I have so much to get because most of the time I wait between shopping trips until my cupboards are bare and I’m sending my kids to school with marshmallows as a snack and trying to pretend there’s some type of nutritional value in it.

I hate being rushed and every time I am in the store, I am rushed. Rushed or badgered. The badgering usually happens when I make the mistake of bringing my children with me and I have to endure trying to hurry through the store while fending off pleas for Pop Tarts and Doritos which they try to surreptitiously sneak into the cart while they think I’m not looking. But I’m always looking – that thing about mothers having eyes in back of their heads – never believed it when I was a kid, but now that I’m a mother, I know it’s true!

Then there is the price issue. I hate that everything is so expensive. I know that I’m frugal, not only out of need, but by genetics. I come from a long line of cheap on one side of my family – cheap to the point of ridiculousness in some cases, as I remember my father wearing his shoes until he had holes in them…really, on a doctor’s salary??? And I know I have to curb that instinct in myself. But I do find the price of food at the grocery store so irritating, particularly these days – a buck each for an apple, $5 for butter, $25 dollars for a value pack of steaks – where’s the value in that??? Also, I’m so appalled by the prices of everything that I walk through the store talking (often to myself) about the price of the items (which incidentally seem to be put in smaller size packages just as the prices are going up).

Then at check out, I leave the store with over two hundred dollars of groceries in about a bag and a half - bags which I had to supply myself. I hate it. So basically, a trip to the grocery store for me is about being rushed, frustrated and talking to myself to the point of looking like a lunatic. You can see why the overall experience doesn’t thrill me. But now, I have something else to worry about at the grocery store – my daughter.

I ran into the store last week to buy a few items and dragged Nicole with me. At the check out line, I started chatting with the grocery clerk, an affable guy who is probably as old as some of the shoes I have in my closet (remember my father and the holes???). We talked about movies and the weather, he gave me my receipt and I pushed my cart filled with the bags I brought and about enough food to feed us for a day, to the elevator. As the door closed, Nicole said, “Oh, I wish I were ten years older.” I didn’t have a clue what she was talking about. I couldn’t even imagine. And then it hit me…the grocery clerk. After picking my jaw up off the floor I asked her to repeat what she said to clarify. I have this paranoid fear that I’m losing my hearing or going slightly crazy (a fear which didn’t develop until I had children), so I often asked my kids to repeat what they’ve said so I know the crazy is coming from their mouths and not me. Nicole rolled her eyes and repeated the horrifying words she’d said only a moment earlier, “I wish I were ten years older…” Brain cells were misfiring as I tried to figure out if I should show her how horrified I was by her statement, be angry or act calm. I felt I had to have the right response, I just had no idea what that was. Instead I said the oh-so-mature and well thought out response, “Yuck.”

I realized the phrase, “Oh, I wish I were ten years older,” is one of many phrases that I really don’t want to hear from my kids as they grow older. It started me thinking about others that are on my list of phrases you never want to hear your child say:

I woke up with this weird tattoo.

A lot of girls do it at this age.

It was only 3 or 4 grams.

They said it would be off my record in six months.

He does not wear more makeup than I do.

Spring break in Vegas!

I’m sure there are others, many others I will shudder to hear. For now, suffice it to say, I won’t be going back to that grocery store for a while. I could try online grocery shopping with at home delivery. But I’m afraid of what she’d say about the delivery guys.

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