One of the few shared experiences of the last two years has been grocery shopping.
Unless you have switched over entirely to food delivery or those ready-to-cook meal kits, one of the few places you must encounter your fellow citizens is the produce aisle.
As my household’s designated grocery-getter, I’ve had many years to observe the habits of other shoppers.
I’ve decided that 99 per cent of them are fine, and the other one per cent should really switch to home delivery as soon as possible.
Here, in no particular order, are the types of shoppers that the rest of us hope not to encounter.
• The Shopping Cart Wildlife Release Society
A group with dozens if not hundreds of local members, these folks are dedicated to the notion that shopping carts should flock freely in the parking lots of our grocery stores.
They are often seen leaving shopping carts in parking stalls, including the wheelchair spaces, or just giving them a gentle push into a driving lane, as if to say “You are free now, cart! Go! Go live in the wild, as nature intended!”
• The Anti-Basket Brigade
“I just need a couple of items!” says the typical member of this tribe. “I don’t need a basket!”
So they stride boldly through the store, grabbing milk and bread.
And then they remember that they’re out of soap. Oh, better get some chips, too! And maybe salsa?
Soon they’re lumbering about, half-blind behind an awkward armload of goods, desperately trying to get to the registers before they drop a bottle of canola in the magazine aisle.
• The Inspector General
These folks are particular about what they buy. Very particular. It’s not enough to glance at the items on the shelves, they must be picked up, handled, weighed, sniffed, minutely examined at close range, and (most egregious during a pandemic) breathed upon.
This process may take some time. It’s not uncommon for an Inspector to pick up a package of ground meat and stare at the label for several minutes as though it held the wisdom of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Then it will be returned, and every other package will be subjected to the same treatment.
• The Soon-To-Be-Ex-Couple
Lone shoppers are their own hazard, but pairing them does not double the problems, it multiplies them. They might belong to several of the other groups at once!
Worse is a couple that has arrived without a shopping list! Worse still? They haven’t even decided what they want for dinner before setting foot in the store.
Never, ever do this with your significant other, if you value your relationship.
By the time they get to the peanut butter and jam aisle they’ll be arguing. By the time they pass through baking supplies, they’ll need relationship counselling. When they arrive at the till – if they ever do – they will either be on their way to a custody battle over the dog, or they’ll have given up and decided to order pizza.
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