Supermarket Slumming

Supermarkets make people slow and dumb.

You have to have noticed this. People stumble through the grocery store in some sort of weird daze, lost in a fog in front of the Cheerios boxes, or next to the paper towels.  Bounty! The Quicker Picker Upper!

God knows Bounty is the only quick thing in a supermarket.

Which clashes with my style of shopping. My goal is to  blast through the store, tossing things into my cart and then roar on through the checkout. No muss, no fuss.

I mean, who wants to spend their whole life in the harsh fluorescent lights of a bland supermarket?

Plenty of people, apparently.  You try to get through the entrance, but it’s blocked by people staring in wide-eyed amazement at the room they just entered. Their jaws are slack and the look slowly around, as if they’ve never seen such a wondrous assortment of canned tuna and Rice-a-Roni. Uh, people, this isn’t the Lourve.

The aisles are blocked, too. People align their carts so there is no way you can get through. They stand near their carts, staring blankly at the same spot on the shelf, as if whatever they want will magically appear.

“Uh, lady, you have to physically move and look for the can of Spaghetti-O’s you want.   It won’t come to you like a happy little puppy dog. And by the way, excuse me so I can get by.”

Invariably, said lady turns to me, looks me up and down as if I’m an apparition that needs no attention, then goes back to staring at the shelf, without moving her cart a smidge.

So I try another aisle, having abandoned my plan to jump over her like Superman leaping over a building in a single bound.

Somehow, after 3,783.5 hours of trying to work my way past the zombie shoppers blocking my way, I make it to the checkout.

But I’m not home free. The person ahead of me has expired coupons, and the cashier is not taking them. The customer is insistent, saying he clipped them from today’s paper.

“But it says here on the coupon, ‘expires 4/19/01’,” the cashier says. (That’s April 19, 1901, not 2001)

So the argument goes back and forth through the night.

Finally the cashier gives in through exhaustion, and the customer swipes his debit card. Then he embarks on his project to use the little debit machine  to completely refinance the entire bulk and breadth of African debt. This seemingly takes days. Probably the Nigerian president is disputing the terms of the financial deal.

It finally ends and I can leave. Well, not quite.  A woman keeps almost backing her Hummer into my truck. She’s made three passes so far. 


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