Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Shopping Cart or Buggy?

“Going down the Amazon?” a complete stranger commenting on one of my more spectacular hauls of groceries from our local mega-mart. It wasn’t a real question. 

Nothing invites intrusive, judgmental comments like a shopping cart full of groceries. It’s public. It’s visible. It’s like a neon sign on malfunctioning wheels for letting the neighbors know that someone at your house has a bladder control problem or various kinds of itches.

Perfect strangers think nothing of peering into a private, personal shopping cart and remarking on a load of fire ant killer and lemonade and saying, “Someone’s got a lot of work to do.”

“Or, I’m planning to kill my husband,” I responded. The conversation waned at that point.

Buying machetes present their own special challenge.

Over the years, I’ve developed strategies for trying to keep my personal grocery buying habits private and, let’s not forget, personal.

When buying large quantities of anything that you’d rather not have comments on, oh say like—lice shampoo—first, place a snazzy little storage ottoman (aisle eleven, next to the candle aisle, $19.99) in your shopping cart and remove the lid. Then, dart down the shampoo aisle, scraping bottles of lice shampoo into the open ottoman. Replace ottoman lid. Continue shopping.

The down side is that you have to buy a lot of storage ottomans for twenty bucks a pop. The up side is that you’ll have a ton of handy, functional storage ottomans all over the house, and you’ll be able to treat the lice epidemic without public outcry or verbal flogging.

Recently, I wrestled my way out of our local mega-mart behind a heap of groceries hidden inside storage ottomans. The heap was large enough to supply an expedition going down the Amazon. I am a smallish person. I tend to procrastinate shopping. Therefore, when I say “heap of groceries” I mean a leaning tower of milk, bread, eggs, ant killer, and machetes. Apparently, I resemble a fire ant carrying a shopping cart.

Folks find the sight amusing. They often comment.

A gallon of milk rolled out from under the cart across the floor.

“Hey, lady, you got that shopping cart under control?” A young man said. He was standing near the icemaker admiring his big arm muscles.

I blew a strand of hair out of my sweaty, straining face and said, “We’d better hope so, or we are all dead men.” I kept pushing, wishing I knew how to make my own printer ink, paper, crab salad, and machetes at home.

“Besides,” I muttered under my breath, “it’s not a shopping cart in the South; it’s a buggy. It’s a buggy.”

Comment on that.

Linda (Shop Much?) Zern

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