Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Just an Ordinary Trip to Walmart

Like dental work, grocery shopping must be endured and finished.

I drive up happy to be alive, thrilled with the existence of a Walmart superstore that carries every bit of sustenance my family requires.

As I walk in, I assemble my instruments. Purse in upper portion of cart. Check. Grocery list on top of purse. Check. Glasses secured. Check. Pen in hand. Check.

Glancing to my right, I see the produce section. Having already visited Sunflower Market, I happily push my cart past the asparagus and apples, side by side in a sale bin.

Coffee. The large is $6.00. The small $3.19. We are on a tight budget this week. I choose the smaller version and add the price to what I’ve already spent. I loathe math.

Even as I carry the one and put the decimal point in its proper position, I feel my body decaying from the brain down.

Tea, bread, peanut butter. I stop in front of the peanut butter section and scan the jars. Jif and Skippy are everywhere. No Peter Pan. This can’t be. A woman with gray hair and kind eyes pushes her cart by me and flashes a smile. Should I talk to her about my problem? A therapist would be handy right now. How can we live without Peter Pan? I’m only two aisles in and I’m already experiencing an existential condiment dilemma. She keeps walking. She probably smelled my perfume - a mixture of entropy and neediness.

Do we need toilet paper? I forgot to check.

Why is paprika only sold in a large container? Is it that popular?

The man giving out samples of salsa and chips looks as if he is on the verge of regurgitation. No, thank you.

By the time I’m ready to pay, I need a blood transfusion. But I must finish. My family counts on food.

Choosing a cashier is one of the most important decisions of the day. If I choose well, I’ll go home soon. Choosing badly means playing Russian roulette with prices and bagging. Sure, I’m not sitting in a Vietnam hut like Robert DeNiro in The Deer Hunter, but I could go home in an hour with broken eggs and $2.45 less than I should.

I choose badly. The cashier never makes eye contact. Instead, she keeps a running dialogue with a fellow cashier two rows over. She’s tall and I stretch to interrupt her eye line, but it doesn’t work.

I begin to sigh. It’s a passive aggressive skill I’ve worked years to perfect. No reaction.

She throws celery on top of yogurt cups in the bottom of a bag. My outrage overcomes my exhaustion.

“Watch what you’re doing!”

She looks at me for the first time.

“You just threw celery onto yogurt cups.”

She’s silent. She’s attended passive aggressive class.

I come home and my husband and son help carry in the bags. Just as I’m about to plop down, my beloved says, “You forgot stamps.”

I call 911.


Hillary Manton Lodge said...

Love love love. Isn't it amazing how grocery shopping can turn into kryptonite?

Kay Day said...

wow. You eloquently expressed exactly why I won't shop at Walmart! :)

Momstheword said...

Hilarious! I try not to go to Wal-Mart very often. It tries my patience too.

Momstheword said...

I try not to go to Wal-Mart too much. It frustrates me too.

Red Bridges Home said...

Very funny! -- I love this. Walmart and math will do it to you every time. The passive aggressive school comment is by far my favorite.

Diane Marie Shaw said...

I hate getting home from shopping to find that I forgot something, especially if it is something I need to make what I planned for dinner. I throw up my hands and fix hamburgers.

smithsk said...

I just went to Walmart today, like millions of others. I can relate. as we are on a budget, too.

You can't count on them for always having the same brand there. Looked for Scotch Brite toilet bowl cleaner refill pads, because we got the wand. Ended up buying Scrubbing Bubbles and it's totally different wand thingy.


Robbie Iobst said...

Hillary, Coming from you "love" is so appreciated. Kryptonite? Absolutely!

Kay, I wish I didn't have to go there. But the low, low prices!!

Maxine, I go every weekend. I can tell you feel my pain. :0)

Deanna, Did you go to passive aggressive class, too? I got an At. :0)

Diane, What if you forgot the hamburger meat? :0)

Susan, I hate when they don't have MY brand. But no Peter Pan? Isn't that against the law? :0)

Diana said...

Just be thankful you don't have to go grocery shopping here where you may or may not get greeted, have to pack your own groceries with your own bags, and other customers bumping into you with their cart is a hobby. Had to laugh about the Peter Pan...my fav but only Skippy is here, besides the Dutch PB. I've learned to love Skippy!

Robbie Iobst said...

Diana, You're right. I am grateful for the good ole USA but I tell you I would love to visit you in the Netherlands someday. :0) We are eating Skippy right now. I don't know if I'll ever get used to it. :0)

Cheryl Barker said...

Funny post, Robbie! I think someone needs to offer a course called Sacking 101. Good grief :)And by the way, I love Peter Pan, too :)

Robbie Iobst said...

Cheryl, I like Sacking 101. It could be a wordplay. Teaching how to bag or firing because of sloppy bagging! :0) Do you have Peter Pan in Oklahoma? I can't find it!