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Grocery shopping. My personal hell.

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Going grocery shopping is the absolute most dreaded thing I do. Ever. I know, I know. You’re probably saying, “Sounds like a case of ‘First World Problems’, Stace”. But seriously. There is not one, let me repeat, not ONE good thing that comes from going to the grocery store. Let me map this out for you.

Of course, we all have to nourish ourselves. And yes, this is much easier as of late. Long gone are the days of hunting and gathering. Now, we all herd into the local Kroger, Meijer, Whole Foods, or whatever, gather the necessities and return to our caves. I suppose I should be relieved that the whole hunting part is somewhat gone, because for us single gals, we don’t have a hunter to do the dirty work.

Parking. No matter what time I go to the grocery store, there will be two things that occur. It will be raining. Even in the dead of winter or on a bright, sunny day in July, there will be precipitation. Also, I will have to park the length of three football fields away from the entrance. How is it that there are never any spots available near the front? Next, let’s talk about my hair. My lovely hair that I attempted to make look decent incase I somehow run into the man of my dreams while picking up tortillas for taco night, will disappoint me. Awesome. My hair and the rain will band together and sabotage me. My hair will become a frizz ball that takes on a mind of its own. My personal favorite is when the front few strands begin to morph into Farrah Fawcett’s do, while the back turns into the look I rocked after bath time circa 7-9 years of age.

Phew, I’ve made it inside the store. Now, the question of carts comes into play. I am given three options. First, the basket. The cutesy basket that gives off the message, “I plan ahead and I don’t need a ton of food because I already have plenty at home. I’m just here to pick up a few things like a leafy head of lettuce and a baguette. I’m so modern chic”. The second option is the big cart. This cart is just impossible to maneuver. Each aisle can comfortably support about 2 of these carts and you know each aisle will be jam-packed with about 7 carts. The third option, my favorite option, the single’s cart. You know this cart. The slightly smaller cart, perfectly made for one. This gives off a few different vibes as well. If you’re a guy: “Hi. I’m single, I need help shopping, and I look so goddamn adorable pushing this smaller cart around this store – – I’m cute”. If you’re a girl: “HI. I’M SINGLE”. I have begun to embrace the single’s cart. It really is the perfect size for all of my purchases.

After the cart is chosen, I actually need to do the deed. I need to shop. Here is when a list comes in handy. A list that rarely gets made. If a list is miraculously made, I most likely forgot it at home or in the car. And that car, as you know, is way to far away to turn back now. Then, I must decide how I want to conquer this bitch. I decided a long time ago that I grocery shop like I drive. This essentially means I grocery shop erratically, without reason, rushed, in the fast lane, and (occasionally) rear-ending other shoppers. My shopping style aside, once I’m in – I’m committed.

The next problem lies with the aisle distribution. Who designs these places? Obviously, these mazes are designed by someone who has a personal shopper that they enjoy torturing. Once I start this venture, I will (without a doubt) realize I need 3 things from aisle 1 that I forget to grab just as I am about to round Aisle 17. Here is when my internal grocery store pep talks begin. I tell myself if I don’t return to aisle 1 now, I will forget those 3 precious items. So, I detour back to aisle 1. My inner GPS recalculates me back to aisle 17 (after re-passing everything else that I have forgotten in aisles 2-16, obviously). Once I make it back to aisle 17, my cart is usually quite full and I decide it’s definitely time to go.

Before I can make a mad dash for the exit, I will run into someone I know. It is never fun running into anyone you know at the grocery store. Mainly, because it’s not very fun running into someone you know anywhere, let alone the grocery store. These people are definitely people you don’t really feel like talking to in the middle of the frozen-food aisle between Hot Pockets and the assorted DiGiorno pizzas. But of course, this person will stop you and talk to you. These people range from your mom’s co-worker to your old babysitter. You don’t remember them what-so-ever. However, they will inevitably say things like, “You’ve truly grown into a beautiful young woman” or “I still remember those Power Ranger pajamas you loved!” They will trap you in the frozen-food aisle for so long you have had time to mentally catalog the TGIF’s frozen Appe-Teasers into ‘Most likely to buy’ and ‘Never, ever, going to buy’ categories. By the time you have decided to dive right into that cooler and grab the green bean fries, they finally wrap up conversation and you are left wishing you could remember an ounce of the conversation. You know your mom will be asking for each and every detail once this said person tells your mom they ran into you. Oh well.

The next thing I always run into… everything else I didn’t know I wanted or needed. During this final hour of grocery store desperation, I have decided I want it and I need it. I will somehow backtrack to the cosmetic aisle. Here, I will ponder all of my make-up necessities at home and wonder if I need a refill of anything. I will, of course, not need anything. Then, I will walk away with new eyeliner, lipstick, and a new shade of nail polish. I will finish with a final sweep: A pint of ice cream and probably a Cosmo at the register. Oh, and a pack of gum.

Now, another really fun part. Paying. Enough said.

Here we are, the finale. Face-to-face with the most dreaded part of the entire event – – Taking it all home. The entire process leads up to this point. My groceries are bagged, I’ve trucked the miles back to my car, and made it home in one piece. I now have to carry the groceries in and unload them all. Ugh. With a huge side of UGH.

Grocery shopping is exhausting and I truly hope to pay someone to do this for me one day. By the time the groceries are unpacked and I finally sit down — All I want to do is order a pizza. Good grief.

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