For nearly two months now, ever since the Missus came up lame, I have taken on many new tasks, not the least of which is grocery shopping. Until recently, my typical grocery list was quite simple, a 12 pack of beer, a frozen pizza, maybe some chips and salsa. Done. In an emergency, I sometimes made a run for a bottle of Spicy Hot V-8 juice for a Bloody Mary but that was about it. That has now changed.
Now I’m picking up the whole nine yards of food stuffs; lettuce, tomatoes, potatoes, onions, soups to nuts. I could go on but you get the idea. Shopping in the real world is a completely new skill set for me, one that I have yet to master. Rookie errors such as the following were common. Consider:
• A gallon of milk with an expiration date two days away.
• Bananas with dark spots.
• Tomatoes with soft spots.
• A 5 lb. sack of potatoes rather than the more economical ten pounder.
• Wrong kind of lettuce. (Got a big deduct on that one.)
And who knew there were so many varieties of soup? You got your reduced fat, your salt free, your big cans and little cans, not to mention dozens of brands.
Tuna, my list said. Sure wifey, what kind? Tuna in water? Tuna in oil? Tuna in a soft pack or tuna in a tin? Six ounces or twelve?
Butter and cheese? I’m not even going there. It was maddening.
And how do you ladies find this stuff? I walked eleven miles looking for something called dill; the single form of which I thought was a pickle. Nope, it’s a spice. But all you savvy shoppers knew that.
Which brings us to the checkout lines. Suddenly it became crystal clear why the Missus often returns from the grocery with a less than cheerful attitude. The lady in front of me with the tattoos was evidently buying for half the families in her trailer park. As the cashier rang up a dozen or so items, the lady would stop him, dig out an envelope from her purse, sort through the loose money, and settle up. The process was then repeated, more items, another envelope, more money, another transaction taken care of. Why there are not more homicides in grocery stores shall forever be a mystery to me.
At last, it was my turn. The checker was a pimple-faced kid that looked freshly promoted from his last position of retrieving carts from the parking lot.
“Broccoli?” he asked, holding up a strange looking green thing.
“I hope so pal. Ask that woman with the tattoos. That gal knows how to shop.”