Saturday, August 30, 2008

"The Old Dude versus The Dreaded Supermarket Gambit"

One of my fans admonished me saying I was the only one who could make doing the laundry sound like fun.-----so today I am going to see if I can put a positive spin on doing the required acquisition of eatables----I may be over reaching, and I need to be careful----I'm running the risk of having my "Ralph's Senior Card" deleted from the machine-----creating an instant "street person". However I am reasonable confident Ralph's will not see me as a serious threat to their strangle hold on the San Fernando Valley.
Okay, today is Saturday, no big deal, that happens about the same time every week, pretty consistently. Now on Saturdays, as a hangover from back in the old days when I worked the 40 hour nine to five thing, this is the day I do my weekly grocery shopping, drop off cleaning at the dry cleaners, do the gardening and those chores one normally, when working a 40 hour week are two tired to take on when arriving home. Out of habit I have continued to bunch my chores into the Saturday time frame---now being retired, if they don't get done, there is always NEXT Saturday right? ---but I digress---this post is about the grocery acquisitioning task.
The first thing one absolutely must do, is prepare a list of those things needed to be bought. To enter the modern supermarket without a list----is sheer doom. The big mega markets we shop at today all have hired professional psychologists to advise them of what color packages to use, what eye level it should sit on the shelf--(ever wonder why the candies are down there staring the Lil kids eyeball to eyeball?)----the scents of fresh baked bread wafting through the store, the placement of what appears last minute of pots of fresh flowers and greenery---and notice too, no matter what time of day you visit the fresh produce section, somebody is there misting down the greens or polishing the apples and oranges keeping it looking oh so appetizing. Oh no, one MUST have a list of what he came in to buy---and not allow him/herself to be sidetracked into impulsive purchases---that's a quick trip to debt-ville . (how does a mom explain to her child he doesn't really need lunch money for school, her having over spent at the grocery market on impulse buys, and they can eat when they get home.)
So this old dude makes up his list of eatables and food materials that he will need for the coming week, planning my meals to be served for myself and the LP, verifying with multiple trips from the den to the kitchen to the pantry to determine if I have this or that already or need to buy more----I even take into my military precision planning to make use of what coupons apply to my final list. NOTE: Old Dude Grocery Shopping Law #1-- One NEVER allows a coupon to determine if an item is to be purchased. (one does NOT save a dollar buying something one doesn't need for five dollars just to make use of a dollar discount---all you have done is spend four dollars ya didn't and shouldn't have---hey its okay kids you can eat when ya get home).
Finally my list of foodstuffs completed, its time to go to -------THE STORE. I have carefully dressed in a so-so pair of Levi's, dirty white sneakers and a solid color (blue ) T-shirt. This outfit deliberately chosen to assist me in blending in with the many other rats running in the maze. (you laugh at me calling myself and my fellow shoppers as "Rats in a Maze"---have you stopped and analyzed the layout of your supermarket---its deliberately laid out, foods put in specific locations to almost guarantee any one person must travel up and down all the isles to get what is on their list---presenting to these "rats" scurrying through the maze--a zillion possible impulse whim purchases---its diabolical I tell ya.)
It would be much simpler if one didn't have so many variations on a theme presented to us for almost every item we wish to buy. Tomatoes?---one has to decide between about 15 varieties, sizes and color. Similarly, you wish to buy soup----40 feet of shelving 6 1/2 feet high, of all the various brands and flavors of soups--- (by the way believe it or don't but Ralph's did NOT have Cream of Asparagus soup in stock last week---I know cause I spent the better part of 30 minutes going through all the brands looking for it.) The same with just about everything else one might want, butter, potatoes, milk, ---the packaged sliced meats is a world in itself. It makes grocery shopping almost hell having to make decisions. Its not unusual to learn that some marriages have come apart just on the basis of the wrong brands of foods being purchased. I can almost understand THAT---here at home the LP watches cooking shows all day, then makes up HIS grocery list----and sends me to the store. (between his coming up with some weird brands and his lousy spelling, I have come close to a nervous breakdown trying to complete his shopping for him. (I believe I have told you before about the P B Cookie dough incident in one of my older posts, but it illustrates the problem---long story short, I found the cookie dough section of Ralph's, but it took me some time to translate the "P B" into Palm Beach cookie dough, but I finally did---by then my ice cream had melted and I had to get a fresh package).
Aside from all the above terrors of shopping, all in all a trip through our modern supermarkets is quite an experience, foods from all over the world are on display for purchase, ginger roots, juamarabbi's,(Mexican potatos), and dozens of things that our multicultural population here in Los Angeles requires for their eating habits. The store is air conditioned, one can even purchase a roll and coffee to munch on while rolling through the miles of isles-----but like I said, without a list-----(shudder)---they do take all the major credit cards however.



  1. Thanks for stopping by my blog. I LOVE cauliflower and feel it is the least eaten of veggies. It is a really yummy dish.
    I have never heard of cream of asparagus...that sounds so good. I'll have to look for it.

  2. Gary, you are obsessed. BTW, if I had the option, I'd NEVER shop on Saturday or at noontime or after work.

  3. not wealthy enought to send others to do my shopping. For 30 plus years Friday was payday, so started my week spending for the essentials and then hoarding what was left of my check til the next Friday. However your right I can shop any day of the week now---just not everyday of the week. Maybe I will jump to the store on ---thursday, no wait, thats laundry day----wednesday then---middle of the week---is that allowed?

  4. I LOATHE hate and detest grocery shopping. I don't like it either. I bitched and complained so much that I no longer have to do it. Your post reminds me of exactly why I hate it!

  5. I don't mind grocery shopping at's the process of dragging it home; dragging it in the house, dispensing it upon my kitchen table and countertops and putting it all away so that I can drag it back out to cook with.

    burn baby burn

  6. I absolutely hate to grocery shop, especially now that I can barely afford it. Fortunately for me though, I have someone to help carry it in and put it away, unlike poor Dana. My hubby is in charge of the freezer and refridgerator items as he is better at getting it all to fit. I have the pleasure of the canned goods and other non perishables. And now that we both have weekends off, we usually go shopping of Saturdays,too.


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