Hump Day: It’s a jungle out there in the fresh produce aisle

Hump DayHump Day
By Brian Cormier
Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013
Moncton Times & Transcript
Editorial section

Have you ever gone shopping for groceries only to find yourself next to the same person over and over no matter how often you try to get away from them? It’s like we’re living parallel lives right at that very moment. We both show up at the same grocery store and look at the same stuff. Usually when this happens, I lose my patience pretty fast.

Of course, it isn’t anyone’s fault. People are allowed to shop for groceries any time they want. It’s a free country. But how many times have I been one of only a handful of people in the store and two or three of us are looking at the exact same products at the exact same time.

And I’m not talking about something common like peanut butter, milk or pork chops. We’re talking about the aisle with the weird stuff – the international food I can’t even pronounce. I’ve decided to make a new recipe and need something like pickled duck brains and, lo and behold, the only two other people in the store are looking at something right above or below the pickled duck brains and I can’t get access to them.

In my head, I just scream, “Oh come on! Seriously? We all showed up here at the same time?” Then I get out my evil eye and stare them down. Oh, it’s a scary evil eye, too. People have started to shake. They’ve started to cry. They’ve turned pale. They’ve gotten sick to their stomach right then and there. OK, so maybe that was one kid with the flu who happened to be there with his mother. But I’m pretty sure my evil eye gave him the flu. My power is scary.

I’m not exactly known for my subtlety when someone’s driving me crazy in the grocery store, so letting go of an audible sigh is not unheard of on my part. While I try to keep it discreet, sometimes I’m about as discreet as a train whistle.

“Oh am I bothering you, buddy? Can’t a guy shop for cherry-flavoured anchovy paste without being glared at?” OK, sometimes I may sigh a bit too loudly. I admit it. When confronted with something like this, I just look around and blame the nearest senior citizen. “She did it. You know, she really should be put in a home,” and then I point at the poor woman as I deflect blame for my impatient social indiscretion. “Boy! Seniors, eh? So impatient!” For added effect, I twirl my index finger around my temple.

That’s if I’m lucky and have time to deflect my audible sigh of impatience onto an innocent bystander. Otherwise, I just end up in the emergency room with my head hanging low. “Here again, Mr. Cormier?” the nurse would ask. “Yes,” I’d reply sheepishly. And then she’d take to the intercom, “Calling Dr. Smith! Calling Dr. Smith! Mr. Cormier is here again to have something surgically removed from him. It’s a tube of cherry-flavoured anchovy paste.”

It doesn’t pay to make some big muscled guy angry in the grocery store, especially one who can hold you down as he does something terrible to you with a tube of cherry-flavoured anchovy paste. With that said, remind me never to be impatient when standing next to someone in the watermelon aisle, OK? That could be dangerous.

The cash registers are another matter. I like to use the self-serve cashes whenever possible. I’ve used them enough to have the process down pat. There are many out there, however, who insist on using them even though they haven’t got a clue. Not one. Zero!

I swear this happened to me the other day. I’m not exaggerating – as I’m prone to do. I was walking toward the self-serve cash in a local grocery store when a woman literally ran to beat me to it. She only had one item, so I thought, “Well, good for you, dear. You must be in a rush. I’m going to be an adult and not give you the evil eye. After all, your kids must be at home playing with matches or something urgent like that!”

So, she reaches the scanner, stops, and says to the attendant, “How do you use these things?” Oh come on! Seriously? That’s when I got out my worst evil eye and laser beams shot out of my head. She vaporized right then and there! Problem solved!

Three times in the past couple of months, I’ve purchased a hot deli item at the grocery store only to have the cashier pack it in with something that melts. For example, I’ll buy hot fried chicken and the cashier packs it in with the butter. Oh come on! Seriously? It’s always the young inexperienced ones, too. I’ve mentioned this to a few experienced cashiers (translation: older) and they just roll their eyes and wonder what the younger generation is coming to.

Then, there are the shoppers who get in line at the grocery store, arrive at the checkout, load all their groceries on the conveyer belt and then announce that they forgot something. Hey, it happens. Been there, done that. But then they take their good old time moseying around the store looking everywhere for the almondflavoured anchovy paste (the cherry-flavoured stuff was declared a health hazard and removed from the shelves), and don’t come back for five minutes while the lineup grows behind them and I’m sighing so loudly with impatience that I start to hyperventilate.

I really need to start taking tranquilizers before going to the grocery store. Not only will it calm me down, but it will also help me relax for that next trip to the ER to have something surgically removed from inside me when I tick off the wrong guy in the watermelon aisle.

Maybe for my own personal safety, I should just plant a garden this summer and eat what I grow.

Sorry, comments are closed for this post.