I’m Going To The Grocery Store

Can you see me? Click to enlarge. Source: Wikipedia.

Can you see me? Click to enlarge. Source: Wikipedia.

I’m going
I’m going
I’m going
To the grocery store!

They got edible cactus in a jar
Mixes and accessories for my bar
Breakfast cereal that comes in a box
Bagels, cream cheese and even the lox
Fruits thoughtfully sealed inside of wax
Winged feminine products sold in packs
Only forty-two varieties of Wheat Thins
Toilet paper with gels squirted in
Everything you ever needed and more
You’ll find it all at the grocery store!

A wise woman once said, “I learned a hard lesson this day. … [N]ever and I repeat NEVER EVER take Tom shopping again!!!” This person was my wife of two years ago. Not my wife of today. Apparently the two have never met.

Our story begins and ends in a grocery store…

It usually begins with a ruse. It almost always involves some form of deception but quite often an element of me not mindfully listening.

“Wanna go get a hamburger?” my wife will innocently ask.

“Yeah! Let’s go!”

Then the car slows and pulls into the grocery store parking lot.

“Holy shit!” I yell. “What fresh hell is this?”

“Oh, we just need a few things.”

“OK,” I grumble. “At least I got my my iPad. I can try to earn some dino bucks or read some Game of Thrones on the Kindle. I’ll see ya in a couple hours.”

“No, you’re going with me. This is shopping we need to do together.”

I have my ways, though. And it begins the moment we cross the threshold past those automated doors.

I grab the first thing I see. “Hey, lookie right here! Mango peach salsa! And at a reasonable price.” Grab. Swoosh. It’s in the cart.

“I ain’t eatin’ that shit!”

“You said we needed salsa!”

“Yeah, but not that salsa. I was thinking something more local and organic. Put. It. Back.”

Twelve feet later, “Hey, look at this! A box of boneless chicken wings in buffalo sauce! And it’s only $9.00. I want that.”


But then, with a twinkle in my eye, a small measure of hope.

“Maybe bringing you in here was a mistake.”

Ya think???

safewayPhase one complete, I initiated phase two. This involves making inappropriate and embarrassing comments.

“Holy shit,” I say, gesturing down the current aisle of doom. “Look at all that yellow.”

I was referring, of course, to the Safeway yellow tags that denote currently available special promotions. And I made sure my comments were inappropriately loud so store personnel could hear. (Not that they actually give a shit.)

“I’ll bet there’s 42 yellow tags on this aisle alone.” Talk about understatement. I decided to conduct a science experiment. My mission? To find a single product that did not have a yellow tag. I sure wouldn’t want to be that poor son of a bitch.

It proved to be an insurmountable challenge.

I paused to thoughtfully stroke my chin. “Logic tells us,” I pontificated, “that if every product has a yellow tag then yellow no longer denotes special. Hell, it doesn’t even denote average. The actual meaning is a bit more mundane. Mere existence.”

“Thanks for the help, Safeway, but we already know the product exists. It’s real. It’s firm. It takes up space. It resides in at least four known planes. It has physical properties. We get it.”

It’s for sale. Therefore it exists.

Safeway scientists are always hard at work to answer the great mystery of life: How to crowbar your wallet against your will. True, they could just point a gun and mug you as you step through those automated doors, but that’s too easy. Even Safeway wants a greater challenge than that. Besides, it’s bad for repeat business. Instead they opted for a trust-based consensual system. That’s why the shopping carts are all equipped with automated LoJack systems and The Club.

Then, one day, a Safeway researcher noticed something that was downright fascinating. Simply affixing a yellow tag denoting a promotional special to a product caused an increase in sales of that very same product.

Whatever did this mean? All of the scientists got together to discuss the findings. There was substantial peer review. A super-collider was built. Then some brainiac (probably the bag boy) said, “Let’s try it with two products at the same time.”

The results were staggering. Safeway had a true winner on their hands. They almost won a Nobel Prize in grocery achievement but got narrowly beat out by the in-store television set. (Because that took a lot of genius.)

Safeway’s reasoning was impeccable. If one is good, and two is better, then all is the only way to go. Store managers across the land began to spread the word to their minions. “Put yellow on every product you see! Every. Single. One. Our very lives depend upon it!”

And that’s the story of the great yellow dye shortage of the 21st century. All of the yellow known to exist was exponentially consumed by Safeway to produce promotional tags.

I know, that’s a lot more information than any of us ever wanted. I guess sometimes shopping can be an educational experience. I hope to go again soon, in the name of science, just to see what else can be learned. As always I will report my findings in this space.

Happy shopping and may you always get the cart with the wobbly wheel. (As if there is any other kind.)

8 responses

  1. Sneaky wife. How darn she kidnap you and drag you to the grocery store. My wife tries to take me to the mall in the hopes that I’ll pay. Are you nuts? The shopping mall? That is worse than the grocery store. At least in the grocery store you can eat stuff and have cart races through the aisles. Sure, you might break a few things but they shouldn’t stack breakables near the corners of my race track. The mall is way too crowded and takes hours just to walk ten feet from this lame store to that lame store.


    1. Don’t sell grocery stores short. They still got game. But yeah, malls are a special case. The moment they became a destination as opposed to a shit chore to scratch off a list our fates were sealed. Fun fact: Those places aren’t cheap so you’ll pay 4x to 5x inflated prices to make up for it. Yeah.

      I come from a town so small that the local youth would go to the Safeway grocery store on Friday nights. They’d walk up and down the aisles, holding hands, like there were in a mall. Not buying anything, of course. Me? I’d rather test my head against oncoming trains than resort to an activity like that. I still don’t know what they were thinking.


  2. Mrs. Abyss and my Mister would get along great.
    He’s never met a grocery store he didn’t like.

    I like to be in and out in 30 minutes. In 30 minutes, the Mister is still deciding which cart to use. Lately, his big thing is to buy everything on sale. Which is great for our budget. But it makes the trip to the store even longer because he now has to compare prices…Just. In. Case.

    I no longer go with him to the store in our local town because in addition to taking for-fucking-ever, he knows almost everyone in town and since they all like to shop as much as he does, a twenty-minute trip to pick up bread and milk turns into everything you’ve ever wanted to know about who’s sick, dying, or dead.

    If you’ve ever stood by the freezer section for 45 minutes talking with someone about their GI problems, you know what fun that is.


    1. Shopping should be a military objective. There must be a mission objective and, perhaps, secondary targets of opportunity. If the chips are at the end of the aisle you are authorized to obtain but only if it can be accomplished without going off target. Ingress, egress and acquisition must all be carefully planned. A successful trip to the grocery store should take less than 60 seconds if properly executed.

      I do have a problem in that if I have already picked up some (but not all) of the items on my list and I see a wide open checkout, I am unable to resist the urge to get in that line and get the hell out. It’s downright pavlovian. Even if, in most cases, I haven’t obtained the primary mission objection. That makes the overall mission a failure even if I did make good time.

      “Honey, did you get the milk so I can cook dinner?”

      “Ah, nope. But I did get the Pop Rocks. Let’s eat!”


  3. Snoring Dog Studio | Reply

    I loathe grocery shopping. One day recently, I went to get some cold medicine. I was horrified at the hundreds of choices, all of which contained the same ingredients. That’s the way it is there with almost all other products in the store. I’d pay someone to grocery shop for me.


    1. I refer to this phenomenon as the 42 varieties of Wheat Thins. Sure, you could get fruit and cottage cheese separately and combine them yourself, but why? You’re an American. You don’t have time for that. And besides, you’re too lazy. What you need is exactly what you want so you can shove it down your face hole as fast as humanly possible. That’s why we’ve taken every possible cottage cheese additive known to humans and pre-mixed it so they can be sold together. Introducing new Cottage Cheese Reese’s Pieces Blend because we know you don’t have the time or energy to mix and stir.


      1. Snoring Dog Studio

        Well said, dear. And, yes, we are awfully spoiled, aren’t we? Grocery shopping taxes my brain and is exhausting.


  4. “I couldn’t afford not to buy it!” should replace “In God We Trust” on all our money.


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