Monday, October 4, 2010

shopping for groceries

Shopping for groceries is likely one of the most miserable things you are required to do in order to live, aside from clipping your toenails,1 going to the dentist, or not challenging drivers who speed past you, then slow down to glacial speeds the minute you are stuck behind them and two of their best friends to duels with flaming scimitars.

Seeing as how, as my last date put it, I have "a mild case of Asperger's",2 I thought it appropriate to document some of the numbers related to shopping for groceries:

Time spent to drive to the grocery store: 5 minutes
Time spent to find a parking spot in the most remote corner of the parking lot, and thereby avoid all human contact: 30 seconds
Time sent pacing up and down the aisles in a futile pursuit for a basket to use while shopping: 36 minutes

Number of shopping baskets present in the store when I need a basket: 0
Number of shopping baskets present when I use a cart instead: 6,321,551

Average number of items on my shopping list: 2
Average number of items purchased: 55

Approximate number of people in line when I enter the grocery store: -1.2
Approximate number of people in line when I go to check out: 30,000

There's really nothing I can do about it; I've tried making lists, mentally preparing myself beforehand, but no matter how hard I try, I can never walk out of a grocery store having purchased the two items I went in for. Invariably, I end up outside shaking in shock at a bill somewhere north of two hundred dollars, clutching a block of brie the size of a mechanical bull, wondering how exactly it is I was only going to buy dental floss.

Of course, of all of those numbers, the one that really bothers me is the people in line. I don't know how they do it, but the entire township of Redwood City decides to head over to Safeway about thirty seconds before I get in the store. You'd think at some point Safeway would staff the store with more than one disgruntled checker, who spends the majority of each sixteen minute transaction trying desperately to individually wrap items in plastic bags, but no, that would be asking too much.

Also, since I'm prohibited by my religion from making purchases on a Sunday, I happen to frequent stores on Saturday evening, which just happens to be "Annoying People Buying Alcohol and Laughing at the Sissy Mormon Getting His Brownie Bites for the Dinner Tomorrow" time at the supermarket. Not only do I absolutely despise taking food to anything anywhere ever for any reason,3 I get to spend my dateless night waiting to buy it behind smelly loud people.

That being said, shopping would be somewhat bearable if I were capable of calculating any sort of efficient route through the grocery store. As it is, I'm forced to meander the aisles aimlessly, wondering how in the world anybody finds anything in that haystack, and occasionally collapsing in a corner, moaning and breathing into Wilson, my paper bag.

The one consoling aspect of grocery stores, is, of course, their music. I used to work in a bank inside a grocery store, and I memorized (and could sing to) all of the songs. I always wanted to orchestrate a dance routine to Earth Wind and Fire's September; you know, have all of the tellers immediately spin back in their chairs, and funk out for the four minutes of the song, only to return to their windows without nary an explanation.

Sadly, it never materialized. But the memory keeps me entertained during my wayward wandering.

1. I would like to lodge a complaint with the world about the man who clipped his fingernails while sitting next to me. In church.
2. For the record, I did not make this up, though the exact quote might have referenced how I fall somewhere on some sort of Asperger's spectrum. And for when she reads this tomorrow: you're probably right.
3. This is because I secretly fear being exposed for my complete incompetence in the realm of cooking.


Marie said...

ha! you've become your mother! "I only need three things, kids, just sit in the car" on the way home from two hours of piano lessons.

Aroura said...

Checkout Aisles are like car lanes on the highway... I always pick the one that's shortest and looks like it's going the fastest, then, in the case of the checkout aisle, I end up behind the person price comparing ALL 50 items they are purchasing, or the one who forgets his wallet and has to run out to the car to get it (apparently they can't put their order on hold and ring up mine in the meantime), or a new checker comes who moves so slowly I could swear they're moving in reverse.