: the longest journey :

That would be the one you take with a shopping cart. In the grocery store.

You know the place. It’s the giant, sprawling edifice, the one that stocks everything from Armor All to greeting cards, but is out of whatever you went there to buy. No, let me rephrase that, they’re probably not out of it, they just haven’t re-stocked the shelves. They’re very busy, you know, arranging flowers and serving lattes and hosting wine tastings. Your little crisis will just have to wait, bub. Now, go sit in the bar.

We’ve all gotten accustomed to these carnivals in a warehouse, where you need a gps system just to find the peanut butter. We lace up our hiking boots, grab our compass, and enter the mouth of the beast. Have you noticed the size of the shopping carts these days? They’re the size of a coal cart. I guess it’s to accommodate the giant, economy size packages of toilet paper and road salt. If you can lift them that high.

A simple trip to the grocery store now requires a minimum investment of 45 minutes. The quick dash is a thing of the past. And the crafty, dastardly way the stores are laid out just chaps my cheeks. If you run out of milk, something I try never, ever to do, you’re led on a merry romp through the entire store — covering a distance of about two miles roundtrip. The one thing you need, heck, the thing everyone needs, is the absolute farthest from the entrance. That isn’t by mistake.

Grocers aren’t fans of the quick dash, they think it should be outlawed; it isn’t profitable. Leading you through the store, past Chips Ahoy and Fritos and Ben & Jerry and Entenmann’s, that’s profitable. It’s the same reason the check out lanes are chock-full of impulse buys — candy bars and National Enquirers, lint brushes and chap stick. I used to fall for these schemes, buying things I didn’t need, then I caught on. Now I can afford cable, almost.

Of course, if you want a gallon bottle of Jack Daniels or a lottery ticket or the DVD of Jackass: The Movie, you don’t have to strain yourself. They’re three feet from the entrance, all festively displayed. I guess they keep the liquor conveniently located in case you’re a bit unsteady on your feet or get lost on the way to check out. The lottery tickets, well, they want to catch you before you shop — while you still have folding money.

Remember when they were called supermarkets? I want them to go back to that, to being super. Not mega, just super. Don’t you?

Copyright © Publikworks 2011.

6 responses to “: the longest journey :”

  1. I try to think of it as exercise. But then again, after going to the gym and working on my feet all day, I don’t really need any more exercise. If only someone could wheel me around in that XL cart…


    1. What a great image you’ve put in my head, home tome — a grown person being pushed around in a giant shopping cart. What a hoot!

      You know, if the prices weren’t so high, I think I’d start shopping at gas station convenience stores.

      It was good to hear from you!


  2. I’ve been thinking about your post. I agree – the return of supermarkets would be nice. Provided they keep the Super Targets. I sure love my Super Target,
    Thankfully, my Ben & Jerry’s are kept on the outside walls of the grocery store. I need not get caught in the maze of confusion for my main target.


    1. Oh, boy, I love Targets any way I can get them — super and not so super. They’re the best! And they have a decent selection in the grocery section in our regular Target.

      It’s nice you have a general direction to head in for your Ben and Jerry’s. That must make it a little easier, right?

      I’m so glad you stopped by, LD, it’s always a pleasure.


  3. What a great post! Loved it! I wish I could cite all the lines I loved but it was practically all of them. Probably because I am so right there with you. My complainy thing is trying to jump inside a grocery manager’s head to figure out where something might hide. Is pasta near the tomato sauce in this store? Oh, nope, these guys like it near the rice and boxed mac & cheese. Where are the chocolate chips? Oh, silly me, they’re not in the baking section…they’re in the bulk candy section. WTH.


    1. Thanks, Angie Z., you say such nice things! I go through the same process trying to find things — there should be rules now that the stores are so vast. It was good to hear from you.


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