Saturday, January 9, 2010

Guerrilla Grocery Shopping

Kids screaming, mortal combat, lost souls wandering around asking for directions, myriads of cans and boxes everywhere, people who take other people's money... is this scene in the guerrilla camps in the jungles of South America? No, it's the Grocery Store!

Supermarkets. They are a part of our culture with rules just as complex as that of guerrilla rebel alliances in the South American jungles. But there are people who have NO IDEA about what to do in a grocery store. Inexperienced, untrained shoppers, they are enemies to themselves and everyone else.

Aisles in grocery stores are the most dangerous. People vie for position with their carts. Power-mad despots block the aisles,not allowing for channels of fair trade. I have have been tempted to throw a grenade to break up a conversation between two women clogging a main store artery. Fortunately they responded to my second "Excuse me". Lucky for them!

My daughter has been a victim of guerrilla warfare. She has been rammed by carts on the run. She has been bulldozed by unsupervised children sent out on reconnaissance missions by their parents. And she has been cut off by people trying to get to a register before she does. Shell-shocked, she no longer ventures into supermarkets until after dark, or when she sees they are without enemy activity.

The saddest part of guerrilla shopping is the victims. These are the SI. Shopping Impaired. They are pitiful souls,usually men, wandering aimlessly around the store. They're the ones with cell phones, asking their partners overly detailed questions about what to buy. Like "What brand of baked beans? OK, that's fine--now do you want; BBQ Style, Brown Sugar, or Maple with Bacon? OK what size can...8 oz. or 16 or 24 oz? " If they can't speak to anyone on their cell phones, you can usually find them meditating on a shelf. If you go away, then come back in an hour, and they're still there. Occasionally I ask if I can help. They look at me as if I am giving them water in the desert. "YES!" one man said, pointing vigorously at his crumpled, sweat-stained list. "What is a gherkin and where the heck do I find them!?"

I'm convinced the most deadly weapon of the enemy in guerrilla shopping these days is the self-checking machine. We don't have them in my area yet, but they're coming! It has a deceptively cute little bar code reader under which you slide your purchase. Zappo! It twinkles it's little reader light on the code and records it on your bill--except one out of 4 times it doesn't work. Then you need to find a checker to come help you. What is the purpose of this? Checkers are still needed, and therefore paid to be there! HA! I know what the purpose is. It's a weapon to kill off the people who have no patience like myself. Guerrilla grocery shopping: it's a jungle out there!

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