Saturday, November 03, 2007

Shop(ping) Talk

After working the last ten Friday nights covering football games, I had my first Friday evening off since the middle of August last night.

I celebrated the way most guys would -- went grocery shopping after dinner, came home, and was asleep before nine o'clock.

Granted, I needed to be up by four o'clock to get to work Saturday.

As far as the grocery shopping, well, I've done the large majority of the grocery shopping over the years, and brace yourself, but I actually enjoy it.

After my wife and I got married, either she would do the shopping by herself while I worked, or we'd both go together at some point on the weekend. After we had our first child, she'd stay home with her, and I'd go to the store.

My wife would put the shopping list in the order that the items would appear in the store, making it very easy for me to do some precise, in-and-out shopping, instead of wandering around aimlessly, wide-eyed with my mouth open -- kind of like the first time I went to a stripclub.

Over time, I started getting the hang of things, and eventually, I just started doing the shopping each week.

Now, with two young kids at the house -- a 7-year old and a 1-year old, I actually look forward to going to the stores. An hour out of the house, no matter what it is that you're doing, is kind of nice sometimes.

Plus, whe you're the one doing the shopping, you can adjust off the list, grab a couple of extra things that you like, and not feel disappointed after someone else brings home the groceries and you notice that they bought you Milwaukee's Best beer instead of Heineken because it was cheaper.

I've been doing the shopping for so long now, that I'm the go-to guy as far as knowing prices, recognizing good deals, and spotting the best bargains.

My wife will say, "Hey, honey turkey lunchmeat is only $6.98/lb. at Jewel."

Not even a half-beat later, I counter that "It's $5.98/lb. at Food 4 Less."

Then she turns her eyes and walks away, much like Shelly Duvall started to do at about the halfway point of The Shining.

It's a little frightening. You'd think a guy like me, even after doing this for so many years, would be like a typical guy...go aisle to aisle, grabbing the first thing he sees, not paying much attention to prices, etc. Not so. In fact, I think I'm taking things a little too seriously lately:

* I'm always disappointed when there are not a good variety of bananas. There need to be half that are ripe, and half that are green. I'm buying a dozen bananas to get through the week, and it does me no good when they're all going to be ripe at the same time!

* One weekend, while hitting two stores back-to-back, after passing up a head of lettuce at the 1st store because it was $1.29, I actually shouted "damnit!" at the 2nd store when lettuce was $1.59.

* Standing in the checkout line a couple of weeks ago, I was behind a woman who was writing a check. What year is this, anyway? It took her about ten minutes to complete the transaction. I was so upset, when she wasn't looking I stole her bottle of wine. Well, I at least thought about it.

* There are usually three stores that we choose to go from week to week, and I now know where everything is at each store, and know the trends as far as which store has the lowest lunchmeat prices, best quality of fruits, consistently reliable $0.50 individual containers of yogurt, the best prices on 93% lean ground beef, etc. I'm developing Rain Man-like qualities.

I don't even mind bagging my own groceries, which I have to do at certain stores. I'm getting good at it, too.

Working in radio, the low-paying and usually insecure job market that it is, learning how to bag groceries properly isn't the worst skill in the world to be learning.

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