Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Whatcha Got In There?

There are people who tell you not to be self-conscious about what you buy at the grocery store, because other shoppers are too busy minding their own business to look in your basket. Those people lie. Because let me tell you, I am SO looking in your basket. Or more accurately, I’m examining what you’ve put on the belt in the checkout line, and I’m probably judging you for it.

A few weeks ago I saw a grumpy-looking fiftyish man buying four big beers and a cartful of Lonely Choice Entrees. (Lonely Choice Entrees are those individually-sized prepared foods meant to go directly from the freezer to your lap in front of the TV, after a short blast in the microwave: lean cuisines, hot pockets, pizzas for one, etc. You might find a Lonely Choice Entree on your grocer's shelf instead of the freezer, in which case the blast in the microwave is completely optional.)

I felt sorry for Lonely Choice Entree Guy, and when I got home Bump tried to cheer me up with random speculation. Maybe the man preferred to be alone and didn’t like other people very much. Maybe he is happy to have his ungrateful kids and nagging wife finally out of his house. Maybe the man was not dining by himself, but bought these because he wasn’t a very good cook.

None of these explanations was very heartening, but I remain committed to basket snooping, and the express lanes are usually the best. (Oh, and in addition to judging you, I’m also counting how many items you have.)

One time a guy in front of me bought three things: a pregnancy test, some nonalcoholic champagne, and a tiny balloon that said “I Love You.” I wanted to follow him home to see how things turned out.

On Monday, I stopped by the store on my way home for some butter. In line next to me was a young woman wearing a nice suit and stylish sunglasses with two items: a bottle of chardonnay and a pint of ice cream. Best Lonely Choice Entree ever.

I almost went up to her and asked if I could be her friend.

14 comments:

Em said...

I admit to being guilty of evaluating shoppers for the nutritional content of their carts, while you seem more concerned with the state of their home lives. Hmm. Not so big on the green veggies, huh?

I never want to be anyone's friend.

Sarah, Goon Squad Sarah said...

Maybe that guy's wife was just on a business trip for a few days. He was happy because he could watch they palyoffs in peace.

Melissa said...

I have eighty bazillion organic apples and one frozen burrito.

I think this says: I refuse to plan. That, and my kids eat a freaking lot of apples.

E :) said...

That last girl could well have been me. Although I wouldn't have bout the chardonnay. Give me a riesling or sav blanc any day...

E :) said...

Am I insane? I apparently no longer speak English. BOUGHT. I'm such a dumbass...

merseydotes said...

I love basket snooping! I love it when I see people buying massive amounts of the same item. Like the time I saw these two guys (I think they were a couple) and a kid (their kid?) buying four or five cases of Gatorade bottles. I just kept looking at them and thinking, 'I guess they lead a REALLY active lifestyle!'

bozoette said...

Wine and ice cream -- the perfect meal. Of the four food groups (fat, sugar, salt, and alcohol), it's missing only salt, which can be easily remedied with a big bag of Ruffles.

Daddy L said...

As I posted over at Violet's Blog:

I wonder what people think of me at the Supermarket, and my weekly purchase of tube socks, enema kit, kidney beans, whiskey, radicchio and porno magazine.

"Whatever he planned for tonight, count me out!"

No wonder no one talks to me when I shop.

laurie said...

i'd love a regular column from you: scenes from a shopping cart.

Michele said...

I am a cart-spy too. I think the idea of periodic sightings is great. I'll go:

Yesterday - Young 30ish woman in sweats - Dove Bars, Diet Coke, Pringles, frozen pissa, tampons, US, Star and Enquirer magazines, and (oddly enough) fennel.

My verdict - PMS and a sick day.

Violet said...

Daddy L bet me to it, but I was gonna say I had similar thoughts myself.

mo-wo said...

About two months after my HUGE baby was born I was in line behind my doctor. My whirling, got-a-cold-but-won't show it firecracker, Asian woman doctor.

She has three kids.

Her cart was full of lean turkey cuts, fish and fresh produce.

I had 4 litres of Ben and Jerrys, I HaagenDaaz Strawberry. Ham. Chips and a variety of other embarrassing foods. In my defense I also had a cold and had a baby in my cart.

Still, I go to a different store now.

Devra said...

You should have Sarah give you her version of how I looked when I discovered my cart had been stolen when we were at Wegman's. Okay, technically the cart belongs to Wegmans, but I was using it and someone else took it. Left me hanging with a handful of swiffer wet jet refills. It wasn't pretty. People, DO NOT LEAVE YOUR CART UNATTENDED AT THE WEGMANS IN FAIRFAX!

Devra said...

That should have been "armful" of swiffer products. Like anyone with kids ever buys a "handful" of anything. oh puhlease!

party on...