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My wife hates grocery shopping. Not other types of shopping – clothes, furniture, kitchen gadgets and jewelry. Just groceries. It seems buying sustenance intimates her. So by default, I have been delegated shopping for food.
Grocery shopping is not an issue for me, provided I am given a clear, organized and legible list. There lies my problem. Her enthusiasm for grocery shopping is matched by diligence in constructing a weekly shopping list. It would be nice to know what she was thinking when she wrote out the list. Take for example, carrots. Sounds simple. But there are carrot bunches with the tops, loose carrots, bagged carrots, baby carrots, shredded carrots, frozen carrots, canned carrots. Rice could be on the list. I get to the correct aisle and look at the long shelf with every kind of rice imaginable. Sigh. I could go on and on.
It means that every trip to the supermarket requires ongoing lines of communication with my wife. Now she finds this quite humorous. I might be calling her for the third time in ten minutes asking about what type of lettuce she had in mind. I can hear the people around her snickering. “Is it your husband again?” It seems it’s my competence that’s always in question.
But the worst is the ineligible entries. I might ask. “What is the item between kidney beans and icing sugar?”
“Sorry I don’t remember. What does it look like to you?”
“If I knew what it was I wouldn’t be asking.”
So you are likely thinking why do you agree to do it? That’s just the way household duties are distributed. Believe me, it could have been worse. But things can get pretty dicey if my wife isn’t accessible by phone. That occurred recently. I was pushing my cart past the dairy case looking over the list. Then this one item jumped out at me. I hadn’t noticed it before, nor did I recognize it. It was on the list between white sugar and whole wheat English muffins. I pick up my phone for my first clarification during today’s shopping excursion. But instead of a live voice I got voicemail so I left an urgent message. “I’m at the supermarket and can’t read something on your list. Call me.”
I’m still staring at the list and a cart pulls up next to me. “Excuse me.” A woman reaches around me for some cottage cheese.
Since we have made visual and verbal contact, I decide to enlist her help. “I was wondering if you can make out this item on my shopping list?”
“Hmm. Looks like lettuce to me.”
“Can’t be lettuce. Lettuce is elsewhere on the list.”
She turns to a shopping companion. “Diane, what does this look like to you?”
“I think it’s lettuce.”
“That word does not start with an L.”
Soon another shopper joins in. “Definitely lemons” I’m trying to get my list back so that I continue shopping, but the list is being passed from one shopper to another. A shopping scrum is in the making.
Someone shouts out. “There is the produce manager. Maybe he can figure it out. Hey Marty. Take a look at this and tell us what you think.”
“Let me take a look. Oh yeah that’s broccoli. It’s right over there next to the corn on the cob.”
Not only have I lost sight of my list but I can’t find my cart. Then my phone rings. It’s my wife. I turn to the crowd of shoppers and announce. “Thank you everyone for your help. I just heard from my wife and it’s butter.”
One guy shouts out from the back. “Hey I won! I had butter all the way!”