In the endless list of things in life that drive you crazy, grocery shopping should near the top.
There’s quite a few reasons, such as ...
The aggravation of ads, flyers and coupons. Grocery store ads and flyers show pictures of the products on sale, but they often show two or three of the item in the picture instead of just the one that you’d be buying for the advertised price. You don’t get three of them for the price shown — just one — so why show more than one? Because, psychologically, as you look at the picture, you’ll feel as if you’re getting lots of product for your money even though in reality you’re just getting one.
There should be a university course called, “Coupon Ripping 101.” Coupons only tear straight in one direction, right? In the other direction, it rips up, down, sideways or right through the middle. The university course would probably recommend scissors. Clever.
So you carefully rip and/or clip all the grocery coupons you can find. And then on the day you go shopping, you leave them at home in the drawer where you were carefully collecting them. A variation of this is leaving them in the car after you park at the store. They don’t even cross your mind until you get to the checkout. If they’re in the car, you could go get them. But you don’t, do you? You start to think that perhaps coupons are not your thing.
Next time, you actually remember to bring your coupons with you into the store. Wonders will never cease. Unfortunately, the coupon items are all sold out because everybody else remembered, too.
Sorry, no rainchecks
The item that was advertised in the paper last night at an unbelievably low price isn’t there when you take the coupon to the store today. The store staff says: “It should be in later tonight, or tomorrow for sure, or maybe next week.”
But that’s not much help to you right now. Sometimes they say that as if it will be no trouble for you to come all the way back on another occasion. Sure. But sometimes they’re very apologetic and even realize the inconvenience to the customer. That’s some consolation, but not much.
Pick that cart, carefully
Shopping carts are infernal. They either:
• Can’t be pulled out of the cart rack.
• Can’t be pushed back into the rack.
• Have wheels that go in four different directions.
• Have other people’s flyer remnants and garbage lying in the bottom.
• Require a loonie deposit and you don’t have one.
Your kids drink a lot of milk so you always end up buying about five or six of those big, bulky plastic jugs. They fill the whole cart and they make it heavy. It’s like pushing a Sherman tank with Sherman inside. Invariably, one of these jugs will spring a slow leak and leave a milk trail through the aisles for half an hour before you notice. And then, you won’t be able to figure out which jug is leaking.
The joy of grocery shopping togetherness. Shoppers who seem to think they’re the only ones in the store can drive you crazy. They park their cart in the middle of the aisle and then wander away, brousing through the shelves, leaving a traffic jam of grid-locked shoppers behind.
These are probably the same people who:
• Straddle two lanes with their car.
• Take up two spots in parking lots.
• Can’t bike-ride close to the edge of the roadway and always take up the entire curb lane.
People who go through the express line with an excessive number of items don’t seem to get it, either. There’s a posted limit. Hello! Most of us wouldn’t actually count how many items are in the cart, since it’s not really a big deal. Except in the case of those who slip into the express line with a truck load of stuff. That’s aggravating.
You’re almost done or done-in. At last, you come out of the crowded store. It seemed like everyone on the planet was in there. You're feeling a little “store-stunned.” Your frazzled mind goes blank and you can’t remember where your car is parked. You feel very conspicuous just standing there gazing vaguely left and right, right and left.
Expensive frozen food is now starting to melt through the cart onto the asphalt, but your car is nowhere in sight. You say to yourself: “I can focus. I can figure this out. Maybe it's over there. No. Did I come by bus. No. Maybe I’ll just push this stupid cart home and eat the food as I go.”
At last, you find your car and race toward it with your frozen food and your leaking milk jug dribbling a trail that would impress Hansel and Gretel. In your eagerness to get to the car, you push the cart too hard and it runs into the corner of your vehicle. “Ding!” You don’t care. You just want to get out of there. People are looking at you, or so you think. As you lift the leaking bags into the trunk, they rip open, spilling assorted contents everywhere. You don’t care. You’re beyond caring.
Then you notice the empty shopping bins and recyclable-grocery-bags in the trunk, which are near the coupons you also forgot.
What a great grocery shopping trip, eh?
But in reality, you’ve just spent two hours in the grocery-shopping “Twilight Zone!”