If there's one thing I'll never learn my lesson about, it's going grocery shopping while hungry.
I usually stick to the micro "grocery store" located in my local Target for weekly trips. Once a month I'll drag my feet to an actual grocery chain to stock up on the remainders on my list that Target doesn't carry (Whole Grain Pringles, meat... fresh fruit if I'm feeling health-conscious.) Every now and again I'll stumble into the super-mega-gigantico store located seconds from my office and get lost for days among the abundant selection of pasta, Pop-Tarts and frozen meals. And, I usually tend to do this around dinner time when everything looks especially delicious and as absolute necessities to be added to my fridge.
I actually landed home in my kitchen with three different varieties of granola bars last night! Sorry, make that six varieties, three different brands. I don't even think Target carries six different granola types, so I have no choice but to experiment when given the fleeting chance. Right?
Well, when finding yourself not quite lost but wandering though the fluorescent lit aisles of a super-mega-gigantico chain, you're all but forced to people-watch as well as make obscene purchases. Like it or not, in order to get to the granola aisle you must first wade through a sea of super-mega-gigantico shoppers.
My first memorable encounter cut me off in the dishware aisle. (Hey, I needed a cup!) It was a teenage daughter whining at breakneck speeds to her mother about her best goodest friend that had the nerve to not confide in her about some issue I couldn't catch before they rounded the next corner. My wish was not granted as I crossed them again, "She couldn't tell me this, but she could tell the lunch lady?!?" And, again, "The lunch lady is more important confidante than ME?!?" And, again, "THE LUNCHLADY, Mom???!!!" for the next four aisles.
I began to share the same forward-glazed stare of her poor mother, quietly tolerate, but offering no insight to her daughter's woes as she pushed her cart solemnly up and down each aisle at a robotic death march pace. The only difference was that, on my end, I could escape to the dairy aisle and poor mother could not. In her shoes I might have piped in with the suggestion that maybe Best Goodest Friend was simply defining her right not to have her business broadcast across the local super-mega-gigantico store. But, I think poor mother's only take on this was a deep-seated yen to trade places with the lunchlady, if only for the moment.
The dairy aisle alerted me to an egg thief on premises. I had to open three cartons to find one with all egg slots full! I only can hope the burgled eggs found their way to a hungry child's stomach and not to the windshield of my SUV parked out front.
It was around the breakfast aisle I came across the annoying sound of human whistling. Bird whistling is fine in my book. Even children's whistling I can live with. But, the sound of a grown man forcing spittle through his lips and out into the inhaled oxygen of the general public is just a pet peeve I rank right up there with nails on a chalkboard. Don't argue with me that it's a sound of jolliness. Any jolly spirit-choosing-to-whistle's jolliness is negated by the robbery of the audience's jolly. (Got that?!)
Even more annoying than the general whistling, was the chosen tune! It was a repetitive loop of what started out to be the Jeopardy theme song and ended up segueing into the first two lines of "Deck the Halls." He'd seemingly forget the next lines, pause for twenty seconds and then launch back into The Jeopardy theme... wait for it, wait for it... oops it's Deck the Halls again!
This went on through my insane granola purchase and then four subsequent aisles of frozen food. By aisle three, the peeve-ranking got raised a notch when the small child in the seat of Whistler's cart started chanting "Hi. Hi. Hi. Hi. Hi. Hi. Hi!" into his face. Whistler just kept on whistling as if he was oblivious to the fact that he had, at some point in his life, procreated. 'Tis the season to be jolly... "Hi. Hi. Hi! Hi!" This may have been the only word the young one had learned so far in his short life. But, I'm pretty sure it could be interpreted as, "Hi Dad! Remember me? I'm that kid that loves you and I'm twenty-four inches from your face. Do you see me down here? Hi! I think I've inhaled just about the right amount of your spittle for now. Thanks for the jolly tune! Hi."
By the time I exited the frozen section, I was pretty much done. I had just the bread aisle to go as I gazed into the trappings of my cart. Holy smokes! This is just food for one?! I had visions of Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman taunting, "Big mistake! HUGE!" But, instead of holding Gucci bags up in the air, I had processed cheese, real cheese and cheese by-products (...if those exist. Do they? If they do, they were in my cart. "HUGE!") I even ended up with a frozen ham and cheese sandwich that comes with it own small vat of cheese dipping sauce. Yes, I'd even selected cheese that you heat up and dip into more cheese!
This is the point where you're supposed to come to your senses and start dropping things in the candy and magazine racks that are conveniently located near the checkout for the purpose of discarding unnecessary items. But, nope, I was still hungry, it all still looked delicious and every thing ended up on the conveyor belt. Three brands of granola bars in six varieties, cheese sandwiches you dip in cheese and all!
I didn't let the cashier boy (who made very clear in body language and facial expression that I had ruined his day by choosing his register) ruin my food booty high. I even helped him bag my purchase. Then I drove right home, nuked a frozen mushroom burger (with Swiss!) and proceeded to have a slightly severe bout of indigestion for the next 24 hours. That's where a trip to the super-mega-gigantico store will get you!
You'll find me at Target next week.