I know that one of the things we have in common is our penchant for people watching. What is more entertaining than looking at people and imagining what their story is? The only thing more entertaining is looking at people and knowing exactly what their story is. People judging is the one activity I indulge in on a regular basis. It’s terrible, I know, but unavoidable, especially at the grocery store. If I see you pushing a cart filled with Wonder Bread, orange soda and Cocoa Puffs, I expect to see you and your toothless brood at a monster truck rally. If I see you buying duck breast, an artisanal jar of pickled beets and kombucha, I know you probably work as a”Brand Warrior” and that you could and probably do talk forever about food trucks.
Here are a few more types
- The best dad ever – You’ve seen him, this is the world’s most patient dad, slowly pushing a cart along, enchanting even the grouchiest of shoppers, by patiently explaining to his kids why he’s buying them oatmeal instead of Fruit Loops.
- The harried husband – Frantically looking for that special shampoo his wife desperately needs. He asks everyone. It’s Jason’s Organic Sea Buckthorn Oil limited edition shampoo and the supermarket is out of stock. You try to help by suggesting another organic shampoo. His wife will not be pleased.
- The “my child is driving me nuts and I want everybody to know” person – The child is screaming. The parent announces to everyone within earshot, You are getting a timeout as soon as we get home! This will be the third one today! The parent says to anyone who will listen. Anyone at all? Hello?
- The new couple – So in love, it’s sickmaking. They amble through the aisles pushing their shopping cart together. Their cart is full of snacks for snuggling in front of the tv.You toss extra-strength diarrhea medicine in their cart when they’re too busy canoodling to notice.
- The old couple – What the new couple will inevitably become. They can barely mask their contempt for each other. He puts a stick of extra spicy pepperoni in the cart; she berates him. He exchanges it for something low fat and puts a giant bottle of prune juice in the cart saying, “God knows you need it”
So Ratty, my question for you is this: Who are you in the grocery store? What is your grocery store archetype?
Who am I?
I’m the guy who squeezes produce like I have a clue what firmness indicates. The man-child who taps on the lobster tank. I jump when the produce sprinkler comes on. I avoid the free sample lady in case I don’t want it and have to say I don’t or, worse, I do want it and have to feign interest in the sales pitch. I never use the scales. I never check the ingredients or the fat content. I never skip the cookie aisle. I don’t have the points card. I don’t want the points card. I don’t self check out because what if I make a mistake and break it and other people in the lineup get upset. I’ll steal a grape. I’ll shiver in the frozen food aisle. I’ll shop hungry and buy too much. I’ll forget to pick something up. Literally every time, even if I have a list with me. Paper please. If they did that anymore I mean. I forget to bring a bag from home. I know that’s bad. I feel sympathy for the people that work at the in-store wine store. I don’t drink wine but it just doesn’t seem like it would be good wine. I feel sympathy for the man rolling sushi, this can’t be what he thought he’d be doing when he walked across that stage and got his sushi degree. I am scared of the bananas because someone who worked at a grocery store told me he opened a box of bananas once and it was full of tarantulas. Bananarantulas? No thank you. I wonder where the nice cashier went. They couldn’t have fired the nice cashier. Oh, she’s back. She’s back and she’s wearing a headwrap so she’s got cancer or something. I try to smile in a way that’s warmer than usual, in a way that indicates I feel for her and know she can get through this. Oh. No. No I don’t have a points card.