Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Nurse the Hate: Hate The Grocery Store

I made the mistake of stopping at a grocery store in an area I shouldn't. It's not that it was in a "bad" neighborhood, and by "bad" I mean bars on windows/businesses named "Mr." as in "Mr. Corned Beef" or "Mr. Rib"/single loose cigarettes at cash registers/dudes in hoodies lurking/openly burning automobiles/discharging firearms/screaming victims. The grocery store I went to is somehow located in an even more off putting area, the white hillbilly community.

The important thing to note on my use of the word "hillbilly", I do not mean the cast of Hee Haw, lovable eccentric banjo players, Cleetus from the Dukes of Hazzard, NASCAR fans or any of the VJs on CMT. I'm focused on Insane Clown Posse car stickers, dishonorable military discharges, wispy mustaches, Cleveland Browns jackets, and untied basketball shoes. These are the flotsam of Northeast Ohio that can make even the easiest retail transaction a complete nightmare. Thus, I rarely walk inside stores in certain zip codes as I know I will encounter the following people:

A) The woman beating her kids in aisle 4... This woman initially inspires sympathy as she is usually hopelessly outgunned with five kids between the ages of 3-7 that are all presumably hers. The youngest will want something like a box of Count Chocula. Mom will say "no" in a harsh tone. The kid will start crying. The mother's tactic for countering the crying is inevitably to start beating the child. That's a tough break for the kid, as he is usually held captive in the shopping cart, so he starts to wail even louder. That's when Mom usually takes it up another notch by screaming profanity at the child while continuing to rain blows down on him. The heavy lidded brothers and sisters will watch on with disinterest, as this type of public flogging is not unusual in their world. It is in mine, so I usually walk by pretending that it isn't happening. That usually makes me feel guilty, until I think about how that kid did seem like a little shit anyway.

B) Oxygen Tank Guy... I know that guy smoked Lucky's for 40 years. Yes, he went into his annual check up and the doctor told him to stop smoking. Of course he ignored the advice, until he went in on that one visit to the doctor when he was pulled into the office by the reception desk. There he sat down and made a little joke like, "Hey Doc, you got me worried pulling me in here like this! I'm not pregnant, am I?". Then the doctor looked down at his hands on the desk and said something like, "It is never easy having to give news like this...". So when I see this guy dragging an oxygen tank behind him as he wrangles up the five for $2 Banquet brand chicken pot pies, it really bums me out. I always project and imagine him in his apartment with the shades drawn. The Price Is Right is absentmindedly flickering on the TV. The toaster oven bell goes off, and the pot pie is ready. He struggles out of his worn recliner, pulling the tank on the little wheeled cart. Do I really need to think about that when I just want to buy an apple?

C) Sweat Pant Family... The whole family likes to make the grocery store run, and they have taken the idea of comfort too damn far. Like college girls that wear pajama pants everywhere, this family thinks the world is their living room. This group of sloppy dirty fucks will shuffle around the store in clothes a Haitian Boat Person would have refused after being washed ashore after a month. "Um, you got anything else at that Salvation Army? That stuff is stained and doesn't match." At least one of the family will be wearing rubber sandals with a plastic flower on the toe. None of them will have their hair cut in anything even remotely approaching a style or plan. Everything in their cart will be processed or frozen. The youngest girl will have her crack showing on her ample ass. The sweat pants will have something printed on the butt that says something like "Juicy" or "Sweaty". They will spend most of their time in the chip aisle, but if they move anywhere near the registers, look out. They will not have enough money to cover the mountain of food in their cart, and then have to argue what items to take out of the bags. Grim.

D) Senior Citizen Paying By ATM card... I will confidently stride up to the "Express" register with my apple, but yet my line will take just as long as the Sweat Pant Family. Why? Because the old woman in front of me that is buying two (2) cans of tuna, one (1) cupcake, one (1) can of house label peas, and six (6) eggs will approach this transaction like she is taking out a mortgage. Every time I get behind a woman like this, it is like the first time she has ever encountered the ATM swipe. Presumably the meager food items she has purchased will keep her alive for 48 hours, so I think we can agree she comes to the store often. Why is it she looks at the ATM swipe like it is a magic box that has just been placed there moments ago by elves? Why does she look so unsure as she swipes her card? She always has an air of distrust, like she didn't really pay, or worse... "They" will take her money. This woman never knows the procedure. She doesn't know she has to sign her name. She's never prepared with her card as the stoned zit faced clerk processes the order. It's always like it is the first time she has ever purchased anything in The Confusing Land of the Future. It's like she traveled here by time machine from 1968. "What? Lyndon B. Johnson isn't President? Where are my Green Stamps?" Abandon all hope if Ye get in line behind this woman when she is writing a check. It's easier to just pay her bill, as I have done on several occasions. What's eight bucks if you can save 20 minutes and a possible stroke due to tension?

I know what is going to happen when I walk in there, yet every time I want to completely melt down by the time I leave. The entire experience drives me insane. The answer is, of course, to either fast or buy something gross at a fast food place. Yet, I feel more noble dying of my inevitable heart attack with an apple in my hand than with a Baconator in my maw. I remain an Elitist until the bitter end. God, I hope no one tries to give me mouth to mouth when I collapse...


At November 11, 2010 at 8:54:00 AM EST , Blogger Raquel's World said...

OMG this was so funny!

Beat your kids mamma- Sad..but what's worse is the one's who should beat their kids yet let them run amuck through the entire damn store. Or let them scream their heads off so much so that when you are on the entire opposite side of the store you can still hear them.

Oxygen Tank God- NO comment...I smoke.

Sweat Pants Family- No comment needed here either.

Old Lady-OMG this is tough. While your heart goes out to her (it should, we will all be there some day) She is soooooo slllllooooowww.
Your observations on her were so good I can visualize her now. I remember once being behind an elderly lady who had spent $80 on groceries but questioned the price of her grapes by 2cents. Uggh I just wanted to push her over. It was 2cents!



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