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Rated: E · Monologue · Comedy · #1377381
My observations that certain people do not know the "rules" of grocery shopping.
I’ve noticed lately that grocery shopping just turns into a cluster--- well, big traffic jam, for lack of a more appropriate, socially acceptable word.  I’ve wondered what the problem could be… are there just that many more people on the Earth?  Does everyone in the free world do their shopping at the exact same time?  These could not be the cause.    Now, I do my meat shopping at a local meat market, but for my other shopping I turn straight the Retail Devil himself (Wal-Mart). My friends give me grief, saying that I buy Satan-brand milk, Satan-brand pasta, Satan-brand paper plates – okay, I know, I know… but truly it is worth the savings over the incredibly high-priced grocery store in my small town.

At any rate, today I had some free time (which has been a rare commodity for me lately) to really analyze the situation at the grocery store and find out what the root of the problem truly is.  It hit me in the middle of the cereal aisle.  Men.  Men shopping alone! (Sorry guys, but please read on).

The male of our species, who may be the Kings of their Castles, do not have “shopping” programmed into their DNA!  They do not understand shopping cart etiquette.  There are so many things about shopping that they do not understand.  Ladies, we have been remiss in teaching these intricacies to our men.  I propose to begin to right this dreadful wrong that has been done to them with this blog entry.  Grab your crayons and your pencils, Kings:  we’re learning to grocery shop:

Rule 1:  The handle of the shopping cart is not used simply to push the cart.  Take this situation.  Two female shoppers are in the canned vegetable aisle.  They are flanking either side of the aisle, facing the meat aisle.  Another shopper comes around the corner in the opposite direction, headed to an end display of chips behind these two shoppers.  What happens?  Both women pick up the end of their carts by the handle and deftly swing the entire cart to the outside of the aisle, continuing to shop, while the chip-seeking shopper sails smoothly by them.  No delay of game called.  Now, if one, or Heaven forbid, both of the shoppers on the outside of the aisle are male, the scenario plays out somewhat differently.  The man pushes his cart back and forth, back and forth, and eventually gets it out of the way of the oncoming cart.  You are not parallel parking, Buddy.  Don’t look at the cart as a full size van that you need to get unstuck from a ditch.  Treat it like a VW Bug.  Pick it up by the bumper and shove it over.  Don’t be shy!  Other shoppers will thank you.

Rule 2:  Treat the aisles of the grocery store just like roads.  The many aisles that go one way are city streets.  The “big” aisle that runs the length of the store (usually the meats, etc.) is the highway.  When leaving a city street, you must obey the right of way, just as on the road.  Just as at a stop sign, you may pull onto the highway and “pull over” to look at items on an end-cap display; however, you may never stop in the middle of the highway for any reason.  At times more leniency is given to a woman with more than three children and a cart load of perishables, but while this is a good thing to keep in mind, you do not, nor will you ever, fit that category: don’t even try.  The right of way rules do not apply to shoppers who have somehow found their way to the wrong side of the road (the aisle).  These shoppers must wait to merge back to the proper side until traffic permits.  Feel free to do this at any time, rather than leave your cart unattended.  Just be aware that you will need to merge back into traffic carefully.

Rule 3:  You must be constantly aware, when you are standing staring at several kinds of canned vegetables, if there is someone coming up behind you.  While you are also devoid of the “eyes in the back of your head” gene, you must somehow compensate for this shortcoming.  If you need to bring a rear view mirror with you to the store to accomplish this, please do so.  We all know you have four spares in the garage “just in case.”  This is one of those cases.  The woman coming up behind you knows exactly what she wants to purchase, and does not have time for you to continue to look.  They’re canned peas, Man!  Grab one and GO!  At times, this may cause some discourse in your Castle as your Queen may not approve of your brand selection when you are rushed.  However, after time, you will learn which brands you should procure for your kingdom.  Explaining to her that you were simply being courteous to other shoppers may help your plight in this manner.

Rule 4:  Another rule about the right of way.  When children are present, they ALWAYS have the right of way, whether in a cart or not.  Be aware that they are drawn to the same things you are (things with cool packaging and little nutritional value).  They may sprint out of nowhere or reach seemingly across the entire aisle toward these items, but, if you run into or over one, you are 100% at fault.  If you mess with a bear cub, Mommy bear will not be pleased.  The same is true in the grocery store.  These are people “hunting” to feed their family.  It is more civilized now, but make no mistake.  It’s the same thing.

Rule 5:  If you are truly contemplating a difficult purchase (something more than a can of peas) and are approached by a woman who obviously wants some of the product you are standing in front of 1) say excuse me 2) ask her if you can get something for her, or move your cart back out of her way (this is one of the only times it is acceptable to move backward on the city street) 3) Now, PAY ATTENTION!  If this woman asks you for a certain product, watch what she gets.  If not the far superior product, it will definitely be the best value.  This will help you learn, as well as draw amazement from your Queen that you selected the correct product (she knew you would struggle with this one.  It was a test.  You passed.  Feel free to grab a few extra snacks for the game.  It will be okay).

Rule 6: If you honestly thought you were going to buy the cereal in the bag rather than the box, you should have left the kids at home, at Gramma’s, a sitter’s… somewhere.  You will probably not win this one. You do not have the experience with it that your Queen does.  I think we all know how I feel about losing an argument with a four-year-old, so I won’t go into that.  I will suffice it to say that you should never take up over half the aisle while losing an argument with yours.  City streets are not made for such a battle.  If you feel battles like this must take place (even though ithey shouldn’t), take them to the only safe place to wage war.  The land of Bakery.  In the Land of Bakery, there is always ample room to wage war.  There are also weapons available there for use in your battle.  In the Land of Bakery (in our example, it will serve as a park as there is room to sit and talk and relax for a moment), you may promise your Prince/Princess that, if you get to choose the cereal, he/she may choose one item from the land of bakery to have as his/her own.  Feel free to use this argument repeatedly throughout your hunt, and stop back at the Land of Bakery right before you hit the checkouts.  This serves many purposes.  Your Prince/Princess will go along with most of your purchases from this point forward.  The Prince/Princess will also not beg for candy at the “impulse buy” shelves of the checkout lane.  Also, if there is the proper bond between the King and the Prince/Princess, the Queen will never be the wiser, and all will be well in the Kingdom.

These rules are not, in any way, meant to be a definitive list.  They are, however, a good starting point.  If you pay close attention, you will learn other intricacies of the hunt and, just as any other hunting experience, hone your skills as you go.
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