I rather enjoy grocery shopping. With the luxury of being able to go mid-week and mid-afternoon, it’s not quite so crowded, and I have gotten acquainted with several of the staff (who, by the way, were delighted to have me call them by their names in this column!)
The produce manager and I occasionally have lunch together. Aside from being great company, Bill is brilliant and witty. He also knows his greens, and one day I was looking for acorn squash – the kind that comes already cut (because they are such a bear to slice), and he informed me that the store wasn’t carrying them anymore. But he suggested that I substitute sweet potato in the recipe I was planning, and it yielded wonderful results. (If you’re interested in having the recipe, just let me know).
I always exchange pleasantries with Angela, one of the store managers. She’s good at throwing her arm around my shoulder and smiling. A few days before Mother’s Day, Angela presented me with a bouquet of flowers, my favorite arrangement of multi-colored daisies. It caused my eyes to mist - it was a terrific surprise and a lovely gesture.
Marty runs the dairy department. He’s not real talkative, but when my brand of lactose free milk isn’t on the shelf he will rummage around in the back and find what I need. I appreciate that. At check-out, William marches right over and loads my groceries into my cart and walks me to my car where he unloads them. I know that staff will do this if asked, but William simply does it because he wants to. Without meaning to sound overly self-important, I must admit that I feel very well taken care of.
Recently, I had a memorable experience with another shopper (I don’t know his name). Pork loin was on sale and he and I were jockeying for position at the refrigerated cases, examining our options. I found one that I wanted, both perfect in size and price, and put it in my cart. I stepped away for one moment, shuffled a bit farther down the aisle to look at the pork chops and when I returned to my cart my pork loin was gone! I thought, am I going crazy - hadn’t I just put it in my cart? I decided to discreetly glance in my neighbor’s cart, and lo and behold there it sat! I could tell by the size and the price that it was mine and what came next absolutely tickled me. I began laughing my head off. I couldn’t control myself. A part of my happiness, of course, was feeling relieved that I hadn’t lost my mind. I believe I spooked the pork thief with my non-stop giggles because he quickly vacated the meat department.
I can be in a literally cranky mood before I drive the short distance from my house to the grocery store, and in a flash, I cheer up. Hunting around for a ripe avocado, smelling the strawberries, checking to see if salmon is on sale, picking out a nice Pinot Grigio, and experimenting with different ingredients so I can try a new recipe, these are little joys. I can’t help but be a bit resistant when I hear about grocery stores that will do your shopping and deliver the goods to your door. I understand how that might work for some people, but I would feel terribly deprived.
Cindy Davis is a retired Licensed Professional Counselor.
She was an advice columnist for the Times-News, and is also a PFLAG Board Member.
Watch for Cindy's column each month on our Newsletter