Friday, June 09, 2006

Embarrassment at the Grocery Store

The woman in line ahead of me spent over $100 on groceries. What, you may ask, was she purchasing? Bags of lettuce, oranges, apples, strawberries, wheat bread.... there might have been a frozen pizza (not even the good kind, which makes me feel a little better). Anyway, you get the idea, it was a weeks worth of I-feed-my-family-healthy-food groceries.

Really, I normally buy healthy foods for my family. I try to have at least one or two types of fresh fruit on hand at all times. I haven't bought lettuce at the grocery store lately, because we're eating it out of the garden. I have been buying wheat bread, because it is too hot to bake (today, incidentally, would have been a great day to bake bread had I planned ahead a little).

I don't want anyone to get the wrong idea. I am not a health-food snob. My kids eat their share of candy (hi grandpa :) ). I even provide it sometimes. Overall, though, I try to keep their diets as healthy as is reasonable. So after watching the bags and bags of fresh produce run over the scanner, I began to feel a little guilty. My grocery cart included the following:

Pre-cooked beef sausages
Frozen hash brown patties
four bags of licorice (they were on sale, okay? I'm saving all but one for future camping trips)
a small bag of frosted animal crackers (I forgot an after-swimming treat today and the crackers were on sale)
Ice cream cones (also on sale)
a jug of orange juice (high in calcium)
a bunch of bananas

No this is not my usual shopping-for-the-week grocery list. We're going camping for the weekend, and we are in charge of breakfast and I already had eggs at home.

I'm not sure where the need to explain to everyone "why" I happen to be buying that particular assortment of groceries comes from, but I restrained myself. When the gentleman behind us was smiling at my two-year-old, he picked up the bag of nasty-shortening-dipped-bits-of-something-crunchy frosted animal crackers (after having examined my purchases with a disapproving eye, I'm sure) and waved it in front of my two-year-old's face, I restrained myself. (What was the point of that anyway? I think there's a rule about not touching other people's groceries while in line at the grocery store. If there isn't, there should be. Now the "treat" that was supposed to be for after swimming lessons was 2-year-old's number one interest. Thank you sir.)

I have found a similar, though slightly lessened, embarrassment occurs during the summer when we are eating a lot of fresh produce out of the garden. A typical grocery store trip at that time looks like this:

Milk
Bananas
Boxes of cereal (or boxes and boxes of cereal if they're on sale)
Bread, if I haven't been baking it
Cheese

I don't really think most people look at other people's groceries to check on their "healthiness". I am just weird that way, and really, I'm not looking at other people's groceries to be critical, but I'm waiting in line, and I've already scanned the headlines of the magazines so I'm up to date on celebrity gossip, what else is there to do in between child wrangling? You check out everyone else's groceries of course.

Just don't touch.

1 comment:

M.A. said...

Q and I were peering at the cheese case at Wild Oats a few months ago, and lo, there was Kathy Bates snatching up an Irish cheddar. THEN, while waiting in the checkout line, we noticed that GUESS WHO was standing directly behind us.

Contained in her basket was: several yogurts, several homeopathic remedies, several magazines (Spa Finder, Shambhala Sun, Yoga Journal, etc), and a slice of pizza. Maybe some fruit. Oh, and the cheese.