My wife commissioned me to fetch some groceries this morning. This is rare because I am not one normally to be trusted with picking up the groceries. I have a tendency to pick up what my wife terms “extraneous” items like garlic-and-onion potato chips and blue catsup. But she was feeling under the weather and we were in desperate need of some “basic” food items.
So she handed me a list of the food items we were in desperate need of: milk and eggs. You wouldn’t think that I would require a list for just two items, but my steel-trap memory isn’t what it used to be. My current memory has more the substance of a single-ply Kleenex and random thoughts routinely breach this less than formidable wall of memory retention.
Even so, the list was clearly flawed in its glaring omission of the one food item upon which I rely for 50% of my nutritional intake; potato chips. With my three-item list in my breast pocket, I ventured out to our local grocery store.
Our local grocery store is one of the new breeds of “big box” shopping experiences. Incoming jets use it as a beacon on their flight paths. Anyway, the store comes equipped with several acres of parking spaces, some of which are conveniently located within a half-mile from the store. Every other parking space is equipped with one of those shopping-cart huts so it took some time to locate a vacant spot.
To my surprise, the shopping-cart hut housed only one shopping-cart. This was because the cart was the size of an SUV. I clambered aboard to the spot where children sit in normal size carts. There was an operating manual and a map of the store. I fired up the motor and trundled over to the entrance. The automatic sensor sensed my presence (although, in this rig, a blind man could have sensed my presence) and the hangar doors swung open.
My first reaction as I entered the store was that I must be in the wrong store. For the first thing I saw stacked up before me were enormous piles of wicker furniture “on special” just this week. As I looked around from my cart perch, I saw aisles full of furniture, electronics, clothing and pets.
Concerned, I checked my store map. There in the distant corner from the main entrance was the grocery section. On my drive over, I passed by a photo studio, a dry cleaner, a travel agency, three restaurants (who would have figured in a grocery store), a wine cellar, a flower shop, Toys ‘R’ Us, a garden centre, and a cart dealership.
The dairy section was in the absolute remotest corner of the store. They certainly had the best prices going, although I had to take 6 gallons of milk and twelve-dozen eggs to take advantage of the discounts. I stopped at the potato chip aisle on my way back to the bank of checkouts to pick up 40 pounds of garlic-and-onion chips. Before I reached the checkout, I passed by another pile of special items, and with the Wisdom of Solomon, I grabbed one.
I parked my cart and moseyed on over to the trailer rental center so that I could transport my purchases home. The friendly people at the grocery store automobile garage were kind enough to install a trailer hitch on my car for a special discount after I signed a contract to purchase 19 more hitches in my lifetime.
I have to say that going grocery shopping these days is a great way to fill up a day. I arrived home just in time for supper. The look on my wife’s face is hard to describe as I started hauling in my purchases.
“Where am I going to put all this milk and all these eggs?” she cried out in what I hope was joy.
“Don’t worry dear,” I said. “Wait till you see the deal I got on our new refrigerator!”
Nick Burn is a freelance writer, husband, father of three, engineer, teacher, and webmaster for the Canadian Catholic Information Network. In his spare time (hah!), he enjoys camping, skiing and reading.