Yesterday, I had the very unfortunate task of going to the grocery store. This wasn't a matter of "wanting" to go but really needing to. Grocery shopping would be just about on the bottom of my list on a cold, rainy, windy Sunday in Maryland. But, the kids were complaining there was "nothing" to eat (which, in our house, means "we're tired of these snacks and want you to buy new ones."), and Jeff was headed out this morning for a "spiritual retreat" (which is a nice way of saying "I need peace and quiet for a few days so I can actually accomplish something.") and needed food to take along. So, I headed out. Neither rain, nor sleet, nor snow, nor wind, nor dead of night shall deter me from delivering groceries to my "starving" family.
First let me say, the grocery stores in our town STINK. We have four different stores in our little town, and they are all overpriced and understocked. I was spoiled by Meijer in Grand Rapids and have never quite recovered. I must admit that, besides the people, Meijer is the thing I miss most about Grand Rapids.
After navigating the familiar aisles in record time and waiting in a long line (because there seems to be some law against opening more than two cash registers at any store in our town), I unloaded my overflowing cart of groceries and smiled sweetly at the sourfaced teenaged cashier who looked like she would rather be having oral surgery than checking out my groceries. "Paper or plastic?" she hissed. Deciding that I could play her game and be difficult too, I said "I'd like my bread in paper and everything else can go in plastic." She sighed heavily and proceeded to shake open the paper bag with great fanfare, all the while exclaiming "I hate paper bags." I just smiled sweetly again and said "Well, I hate squashed bread."
It was all downhill from there. I watched helplessly as my cheese crackers were crushed under the canned green beans, and my bananas fought valiantly to protect themselves from the strawberry-scented shampoo that they were bagged with. I stifled a gasp as my carton of orange juice landed with a thud next to Jeff's Pepperidge Farm sausalito cookies (a "spiritual retreat treat").
Just then, a gangly teenager with thick glasses came up and said to the grumpy cashier "Did she want paper or plastic?" Woo hoo! I thought. I'm saved! Surely he would bag better than "Suzy Sunshine". But "Suzy Sunshine" had other ideas. "She only wanted her bread in paper, everything else can go in plastic." she answered snidely, looking down her nose at me. So much for that.
I continued to wince and bite my tongue as my napkins were crushed under a two-liter of Coke and my aforementioned bananas took bruising after bruising while heavy grocery items landed on top of them, hurled with all the might "Suzy" could muster from behind the counter. Finally, the pummeling ended. And "Suzy" actually had the nerve to smirk at me and say "Thank you Mrs. VeStrand. You saved $59.60." Yeah, but what I saved in money, I lost in crushed bread and cookies!
I don't know what those cashiers have against me but that online grocery shopping thing is looking better and better.