Tara and I go grocery shopping pretty much every weekend. Usually, it’s an uneventful excursion. We pick up pasta and pork and peanuts, buy bananas and butter and bread, add apples and asparagus and artichokes, mix in milk and mayo and mustard, choose cherries and chicken and cheese. And then our cart is full, so we check out. It’s a simple process, one we could probably do in our sleep. But on a recent trip, everything that could go wrong did go wrong.
It started with a watermelon.
You know how sometimes
selfish pricks people focus so intently on picking out the perfect jar of peanut butter and become oblivious to everybody else around them, they end up blocking the aisle? That happened to us the other day, only in the produce section. This woman was blocking our way because she was too busy examining every minute detail of a bunch of carrots. Or celery. Or lettuce. I don’t even know what she was checking out, but she was in our way, and no amount of passive-aggressive throat clearing was getting her to budge so much as an inch.
“Go around her,” Tara said.
So I pushed the cart around her, squeezing by to the right. Only I was too close to a box of watermelons, and suddenly they were bouncing onto the floor and rolling across the aisle. I suppose I should be thankful that none of them broke, but it was still embarrassing, gathering them up and restocking them while apologizing to our fellow shoppers and hoping no store personnel had witnessed this mishap.
We had barely recovered from that blush-worthy moment when Tara let a bottle of Worcestershire sauce slip from her fingers. It crashed to the floor and shattered into pieces, a pool of noxious liquid seeping everywhere. Whoopsie. I had to track down an employee and tell him we needed a “clean up on aisle 6.” Now I can cross uttering that phrase off my bucket list. I didn’t exactly claim responsibility for the broken bottle – and by “didn’t exactly” I mean “not at all did I even imply we had caused the damage” – but in my defense, he never asked.
Ten minutes into our weekly shopping trip, and it had turned into a monumental FAIL. We were pretty frazzled after that, but we still had eggs on our list – gulp! – among other items. We pretty much tiptoed around the rest of the time, and triple-bagged everything when we finished.
I have a love-hate relationship with grocery shopping. When I’m not knocking over fresh fruit, I’m nearly getting run over in the parking lot. I consider it a necessary evil, like death and taxes. And I hate that it takes up a chunk of our precious weekend time. Plus, weekends are the busiest time to go shopping. Unless you’re old or unemployed, that’s probably the only time you can work it into your schedule. We’ve tried to switch it up and do our shopping during the week, but most times we’re just too tired or busy after work to get it done. Yeah, I know. First world problems.
There is an exception to my “I dislike grocery shopping” rule. That would be Trader Joe’s. I actually love shopping at TJ’s. Their prices are reasonable, the ambience is cool, and they’ve got some really fun – and great-tasting – products. Even though I generally despise frozen foods, theirs are a cut above the rest. Any of their frozen fish is really good. You can’t go wrong with their frozen steel cut oatmeal. They have individually-sized frozen breakfast quiches that are surprisingly tasty. And the frozen chili lime chicken patties? Hell, yeah! The non-frozen stuff is good, too. We always stock up on their pita crackers and cheap (in price but not quality) wine. Dips, spreads, juice – even bagged haricot verts (a fancy name for green beans) – they’re all really good. There’s an amazing fresh mushroom tortellini with spinach and asparagus, and during the fall, pumpkin pancake mix. I haven’t tried the Speculoos cookie butter yet, but everybody raves about it. When they stopped carrying a delicious fresh avocado salsa verde a few years ago, I almost cried. That stuff was like crack to me.
What do you think of grocery shopping? Love it or loathe it? And what’s your favorite TJ’s item?