Grocery Woes

I don’t shop at my local grocery store all that much. Mostly because I don’t cook much. Who has the time? (Plus I’m not very good at it.) But when I do visit, I always end up calling my husband for help. Like the time I couldn’t tell the turkey from the chicken. It’s always something.

Sunday, I made it through my whole shopping excursion without calling him. No, wait. I called to ask if he’d rather have berry and granola low-fat ice cream or cookies and cream fat-free. (I ended up getting both.) But aside from that, I did okay.

Until I was in the check-out line.

I had all of the food out of the cart and on the conveyor belt thingee. The cashier was taking money of the person ahead of me. I remembered I’m supposed to use my super saver Acme card and reached in my purse for my wallet.

Only it wasn’t there!

I instantly pictured it on my desk in my writing room. I had taken it up so that I could renew some writing organization dues on line.


I loaded all of the food back into the cart while juggling my cell to call, Steve. “Um. I left my wallet upstairs. Could you bring it to me?”

The woman behind me (who had a full cart herself) kindly smiled and said, “I’ve done that before.”

Still, I was mortified.

She backed her loaded cart out so I could back out. I tried to park the cart where no one would take it and re-shelve my booty then ran outside and waited for my super-good-humored husband to drive over my wallet.

Seven or so minute later, I’m back in line. This time I’m behind a woman who’s tearing out individual coupons and questioning the cashier on each and every dang sale. Sigh.

Finally, it’s my turn. I race ahead to bag my own groceries, because, although I may not know how to food shop, I darn well know how to bag!
When I was a kid (7-9), my dad owned a small town mom and pop grocery. He worked the meat department and stocked shelves on top of ordering everything in. My mom was a cashier. And Dad taught me how to bag groceries. The right way! You know. Cans together. Dairy together. Toiletries together. Heavy stuff on the bottom. Lightweight stuff on top.

Most of the cashiers at my local store are in such a wiz bang hurry, they chuck whatever is next on the belt into the bag. It drives me nuts. Sunday I had most of my groceries bagged, but then the cashier started to help. I gaped as he crammed canned goods, chips, milk and other stuff in one bag with no thought to what would crush what.

Drives. Me. Nuts.

On a good note, that evening I made a new Weight Watchers dish—Red Peppers stuffed with Cannellini Beans—and it actually turned out great! Not a ‘woe’ but a ‘wow’.

What about you? Any food market horror stories to share?


sharon w. said…
Hey, Beth.
I've done the 'left my wallet at home' thing, and for the most part people are nice about delaying them, but one of the worst things to happen to me, was when my husband was stationed down at Camp Pendleton, in Calif., and I went shopping on payday. You haven't seen busy until you've been in a large base Commissary on payday, anyway, one of the items I put on the conveyor was a twenty pound bag of long grain rice, and of course it broke. Oh, I can still feel the bag losing its' weight, and the stuff going all over. I never thought that moment would pass. Looking back, I can even giggle at my shock. Oh, my . . .
It sounds like your grocery going skills are getting better. Keep up the good work.
flchen1 said…
Yep, I've done that before myself, only it was during the day and I had the kids with me and no husband to call so I just put everything back and resolved to come back another time. Thankfully the store isn't too far away and it wasn't anything we HAD to have immediately! I felt like a brainless fool, though of course! I think the most stressful shopping experience was the time I went with the baby thinking I could just pick up a couple things before feeding time... he started bawling in line (the slowest moving one possible, naturally) and being a new mom at the time, I was so panicked I nearly started crying myself.

Glad it all worked out OK, Beth! And excellent bagging! (There are definitely days I'd much rather bag my own stuff than leave it up to the baggers' indifferent carelessness! Argh! Just because they aren't YOUR eggs or peaches or bread doesn't mean you ought to dump the canned stuff right on top of 'em!)
flchen1 said…
Oh, just to clarify, the husband was at work during the day, not completely non-existent ;) Not terribly good at the self-editing thing!
Beth Ciotta said…
Hi Sharon!

Ah, so I am not alone on the wallet thing. :)

The exploding bag of rice is something that would happen to me! I can imagine your shock. And 20 pounds of it, no less! Well, at least it makes for a great story.
Beth Ciotta said…
You too, with the wallet, Fedora? Now I don't feel so silly. Apparently it happens to a lot of us!

As to the crying baby in line, I feel for you. But of course--naturally--the line had to move at a crawl. Oh, the rotten luck! I'm sure you handled it well though. Here's to happier shopping days!
flchen1 said…
Thanks, Beth! The kids are mostly old enough to bribe with cookies now :) But I still have plenty of left-my-wallet/brain elsewhere moments! Alas! ;)
Laurie said…
Hi, Beth!

My "grocery woes" tend to have to do with finding things, especially in a different market -- I hate wandering the aisles looking for some elusive thing like cream of tartar, or hot sauce (is it in condiments? ethnic foods? sauces?). And, as flchen mentioned, having the bored (or, worse yet, screaming) child in tow never makes it easier! Thanks for the laugh today! I love your site. And your books!
Beth Ciotta said…
Hey, Fedora... I can be bribed with cookies, too!
Beth Ciotta said…
Hi, Laurie! Thank you for the smile--on several counts!

I know what you mean about wandering the aisles. Our new Acme---which is an improvement over the old store in many ways... still--puts random items in various aisles! I'm not sure why. I just know that beans and canned veggies and bread, for instance, can be found in more than one place. Very confusing.

I've decided I want an Alice. You know. Like Alice on The Brady Bunch. Someone to shop, cook, and clean, and to be a rock when I'm stressed. If only! :-)
Julie said…
I always enjoy your stories, especially your shopping adventures.
I've never really enjoyed cooking, and the older I get, the lazier I am in coming up with new menus. I'm with you...I want an Alice!
Olga said…
Beth, thanks for sharing your shopping adventures. My fave pet peeve probably would also be trying to find some items. Ex., I went through food sections of Wal-Mart several times looking for cranberry sauce, only to finally find out they carry is only on Thanksgiving and Christmas. Try explain this to dh. On the other note, I hope you had wonderful holidays!
Beth Ciotta said…
Hi, Julie!

If I find an Alice, I promise to share.

Miss you!
Beth Ciotta said…
Hi, Olga. I hear you. Trolling the store looking for items you just know SHOULD be there, or were led to believe WERE there, is frustrating.

Tell your DH I said, it's not your fault!! :)
Olga said…
Hi, Beth! And I'd rather find the store that does have the item than prepare a long explanation. Have a nice week-end!

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