Enjoying entertainment at the local grocery store

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There are things that bug me. I don’t dislike them, I don’t think they necessarily need to change, but they bug me. For example, Hallmark movies with commercials bug me.

All of this bugging started years ago. For some of them, I can find their source more than 60 years ago. Take, for example, my dislike of grocery shopping: I really don’t like to go grocery shopping. It’s just something that you have to do such as scrubbing the bathtub or washing the kitchen floor. I don’t enjoy it but it has to be done.

Perhaps, my dislike of grocery shopping started when I was in first grade and I had to follow my mother around the store pushing the cart. We only went grocery shopping once a week and she would fill two carts for a total of $40. It really bugged me because it cut into my day!

It was then that grocery store incidents began to bug me, and they still do. People blocking the aisle while they visit with others and freezer doors blocked because the person parked their cart while they roam from door to door deciding which flavor of ice cream to purchase. Unreturned shopping carts left in the parking lot are on the top of my list.

The deli case always tests my patience. It’s not the food or the workers, it’s the customers who want advice on what to serve their guests at their next party. Do they think that they are on a show hosted by Rachel Ray? Then they have to taste test everything! From now on, I’m not going to make dinner ever again. We’ll just hit the Von’s deli case. For special occasions, we’ll take a weekend trip to Costco to feast on their endless array of samples.

The “15 items or less” confuses me. Is it 15 separate items or can you go through with 10 boxes of drumstick ice cream cones, a head of lettuce and 10 boxes of tissues and it only counts as three items or do the eight drumsticks in the 10 boxes count as 80 items? And then when you have 25 items, but the checker at the “15 or less” waves you over to her checkstand, can you legally go or is this a “sting”? I really think they should have a sign for you to hold up that says to the five people with only three items each that are now behind you as you place your last item on the conveyer belt that says “Don’t blame me! She told me to do this.”

As a fairly new senior citizen, I am discovering that stores are not senior citizen friendly. The placement of the cereals that contain bulk is too high, the bag of dried prunes is too large and the wrinkle release face cream is on the bottom shelf and I can’t read the price. Imagine how embarrassing it is to discover that what you thought was $3.36 is actually $5.56.

This past Christmas, we had an unforgettable experience at a local store. Usually, when we pick a line, we will always pick the one where the person ahead of us ends up with a problem. The checker will need to ask for help which makes our experience twice as long. We found ourselves in that line.

There was an older lady ahead of us with 24 small cans of vegetables carefully packed in a box. All of the cans were the same size and the same price. The checker, who was an older (and as a member of the senior citizen society, I use the term “older” with great respect) and slightly short gentleman, placed the box to the right of the scanner. The older checker slowly, but meticulously, moved each can from right to left over the scanner and then the same can from left to right over the scanner on the can’s trip back to the box on the right of the scanner causing each can to be scanned twice. It reminded us of a Harvey Korman, Tim Conway skit on the Carol Burnett Show and we began to chuckle.

One by one, each of the 24 cans were scanned, scanned a second time and returned. When it came time to pay, the customer questioned the cost of the cans. After careful and meticulous examination and a conversation between the checker and customer, it was determined that each can had been scanned twice. I could have helped them solve that five minutes earlier but I was enjoying the entertainment.

The checker found a solution. He canceled the transaction and began to scan the cans exactly as before but as he returned them to the box, he stood on his tiptoes, held the can as high as possible above the scanner and returned the can to the box which was still on the right.

By this time, Pastor Pete and I began to look for cameras because we were sure that we were on a segment of Candid Camera.

I have found that even with all the things that bug me at the grocery store, it is also a place of endless entertainment which fills my every “Friday Date Night.” Others talk about going to a concert, seeing a show in Hollywood, or eating at a classy restaurant for their date nights, but hamburger at Carl’s, a trip to the grocery store and a late night hot fudge sundae at McDonald’s fills our evenings very nicely!

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Pat Van Dyke