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The 10 commandments of grocery shopping

You know that part in Ghostbusters where they're told to choose their destructor? If it were me, it wouldn't be the Stay-Puf Marshmallow Man, it would be this guy: The HEB Buddy. (Thanks to Dorothea for creating this terrifying image.)

My disdain for grocery shopping has been public knowledge since way back in March, 2009 when I shared with all of you that I DO NOT heart grocery shopping. I further shared my angst in my Pullitzer Prize* winning investigative follow-up, Say it ain’t so Kro! Say it ain’t so!, as well as numerous follow up reports concerning the whereabouts of the beloved Pornographic Cheese Butler. (I think he needs his own page, don’t you? But I digress…)

*Editor’s Note: The Pullitzer Prize is not in any way associated with the better known Pulitzer Prize.

Yes, I know what you’re probably thinking: “Katdish, we KNOW you hate everything remotely related to grocery shopping. Shut up already.”

And to you I say, NO.

You’re not the boss of me.

Because just as I believe that God puts that person in your path over and over again that annoys the crap out of you in order to teach you valuable life lessons, I believe He blessed me with a teen aged son that eats his body weight in groceries every 2 days in order to face my nemesis, the grocery store.

He maketh me face my nemesis so that I might pass important lessons on to others. So that others, after reading this, might choose not to act like giant, self-consumed ass hats at their local market.

Katdish = giver

You’re welcome.

The 10 Commandments of Grocery Shopping

  1. Thou shalt not buy and hoard 28 bottles of body wash just because your combined coupons and other discounts render them free. Thou shall leave enough body wash on the shelf so that normal people who want to smell nice can purchase it as well.
  2. Thou shalt not knowingly hide coupons for items you did not purchase in your giant stack of coupons when giving them to the cashier who is already annoyed with you. (Along with all the people behind you who don’t have 3 carts full of groceries, one of which is devoted completely to body wash.)
  3. If thou shall bring reusable cloth grocery bags with you, thou shalt not cast a disparaging, judgemental eye on those of us who still choose to keep the plastic bag industry in business. We’ll bring them all back eventually.

    Probably a tad past eventually.

  4. Thou shalt not leave the discarded cups, napkins and sporks from your numerous free samplings in your grocery cart. Thou shall find a garbage can and deposit your trash there. Were thou raised in a barn?
  5. Thou shalt not enter the 15 Items or less aisle with 37 items and coupons.
  6. Thou shalt not decide against the half gallon of ice cream you picked up in the frozen foods section and then place it on the shelf next to the cat food.
  7. Thou shalt not chat aimlessly on your cell phone whilst the cashier is ringing up your groceries. Thou shall treat said cashier as a human being worthy of your attention.
  8. Thou shalt not walk down the center aisle of the parking lot as if your super-human pedestrian powers override and trump people in their cars trying to get past or around you. Thou shall move to one side or another.
  9. Thou shalt not park in the handicapped space because you only need to pick up “a few things”.
  10. Thou shalt not leave your shopping cart in the empty parking space next to your car. Thou shall walk the 10 feet or less to the nearest shopping cart corral and park it there.

I believe that no matter how upstanding and good a person appears to be when they think others are watching, the true test of our character happens when we think no one is watching: in our homes, in our cars and in the grocery store. But despite our efforts to appear better than we are, God is always watching us, and from now on, if you’re in the same grocery store as me, I’m watching you, too. Not so quietly judging you.

How not to be a jerk in a parking lot

Maybe it’s just me, but lately I’ve noticed that many people aren’t as courteous as they used to be. I’ve spent the majority of my life in Texas, and it really is true what the lyrics to London Homesick Blues says, the home of the armadillo has the friendliest people and the prettiest women you’ve ever seen. Of course, I may be slightly biased.

And while I still think people are generally friendly when they’re face to face, something strange comes over people when they get behind the wheel of a car. It’s as if being surrounded by metal and glass gives you permission to release your inner jerk. Few places highlight this phenomenon better than a public parking lot–more specifically, a grocery or super box store parking lot. So as a public service, I have compiled a handy checklist in order that you might determine whether you’re being a jerk in a parking lot. I know–you’re welcome.

You might be (and by “might” I mean you most probably are) a jerk if:

  • Despite the fact that every tenth parking space in the grocery store parking lot has been replaced by a shopping cart corral, you leave your cart in the closest free space available, quite often precariously close to someone else’s car. Could you BE any lazier or inconsiderate?
  • You remove your groceries from the shopping cart but not the trash you’ve accumulated from free sampling food in the store. That’s disgusting.
  • You take up two parking spaces in the hopes that no one will ding up your fancy car. Which incidentally, makes people want to take a key to the paint job or at the very least put a booger on your door handle. (Or so I’ve heard.)
  • You are the proprietor of a business who puts flyers on people’s windshield. Not only will I never, ever darken the door of your business, but you’ve also denied my the pleasure of balling up your flyer and throwing it on the ground, which is what I really want to do, but I’m not a litterbug.
  • You remove flyers from your windshield and throw them on the ground.
  • You park in the handicapped parking space when you’re not handicapped. And yes, I’m talking to you, Guy who borrowed his grandmother’s handicapped parking permit hang tag.
  • You notice that the lot is full and people are waiting on parking spaces, and yet rather than quickly exiting the space you’re occupying, you choose to change the radio, check your lipstick, email, twitter and Words with Friends games.
  • You leave your young child unattended in the car while you run in to pick up “just a few items”. Not only is this jerky, but it’s illegal in many states.
  • You sit in your jacked-up hoopty, windows down and stereo blasting as the bass loosens the fillings in my teeth. We get it–your stereo is loud and you’re a player. Nobody cares, Homey.

These are but a few incidents I’ve observed while in parking lots. Do you have any pet peeves when it comes to parking lot etiquette or lack thereof?

Editor’s Note: I’m pretty sure this will be the first in a series, because life gives us endless opportunities to act like jerks, no?

And speaking of not being a jerk, as fate would have it, my friend Janet Oberholtzer wrote a post entitled which offers some real, practical suggestions on how to be kind and not say the wrong thing when someone you know has experienced loss. It’s surprising how many of the things you think you’re supposed to say aren’t at all helpful. You should check it out.

Pardon me while I rant incessantly: Extreme Couponing

This is not a neatly stocked grocery shelf. It's a stockpile of canned goods in someone's home. (image courtesy of google images)

From TLC, the network that brought us Hoarding: Buried Alive, Four Weddings, I Didn’t Know I was Pregnant, Toddlers and Tiaras and other reality shows that make me either want to scream obscenities at my television or gouge my eyes out with a fork, comes a show about something called Extreme Couponing. Here’s the promo:

I don’t want to sound too flippant about this. I realize people are hurting financially, and I don’t begrudge anyone who is trying to save money where they can. I wish I were more disciplined when it came to grocery shopping. I can barely bring myself to go to the grocery store, let alone spend hours clipping coupons and planning meals to coincide with sale items. I admire people who do this. But some of the extreme savers go way beyond saving money on the household budget. Check out Nathan’s Six-figure stockpile:

Did you catch the part about having a 150 year supply of deodorant? And is it just me, or was this man just a little too giddy about possessing more things than he could possibly use in his lifetime? I don’t know who these people are. Chances are they’re great folks who happen to share a passion for saving money. But there’s something very unnerving to me about devoting entire rooms of your house to stockpiling groceries. I get the impression that what may have started out as a means to save money has become something very different. Dare I say an acceptable if not celebrated means of hoarding and idolatry?

What I would love to see, and have seen in some instances, is for people to take what they’ve learned to help others: homeless shelters, food pantries, victims of natural disasters. Can you imagine what an impact these folks could have on their local communities? It’s sort of mind boggling when you think about it.

If you or someone you know is an extreme couponer, please enlighten me. Am I wrong to feel repulsed by this? I just don’t understand how having 50 boxes of cake mix and 300 bottles of salad dressing is a good thing, even if you got it for free. There comes a point when the things we thought we owned begin to own us. And that’s not just true of these folks. We’re all in danger of this.

Say it ain’t so Kro! Say it ain’t so!

In my last compelling and riveting shopping post, I DO NOT heart grocery shopping, I introduced you all to the pornographic cheese buttler:

With a heavy heart, this blogger is sad to share with you the news that our beloved friend PCB has been forcibly removed from the local Kroger. What makes this news even more difficult for me to accept is this: I can’t help but feel that I may have had a role in his removal.

I’m sure it will come as no surprise to any of you that this blog is ready by literally TENS of people every single day, and the PCB buzz that post must have created on the Internet forced the hands of Kroger executives. For this, I am deeply sorry. Also, I may need to start shopping exclusively at HEB, because I get the stink eye from the Kroger store manager every time I pull out my blackberry.

I attempted to interview several store employees as to the whereabouts of PCB. Alert meat department employee “Skeeter” (not his real name) made the following comment: “Yeah…(guffaw)…They made us take him down.” When asked the whereabouts of PCB, store management would only give me vague references to wine vendors and store rotations. I smell a cover-up!

Jeeves, a long time friend and confidant of PCB was still too visibly shaken to give an interview, choosing instead to drown his sorrows in a delightfully fruity yet cheap Merlot:

There are unconfirmed reports that Jeeves was later reprimanded for making lewd and suggestive remarks to the night stocker in the feminine hygiene aisle. It’s been a rough couple of weeks for him…

PCB’s replacement, Woodrow Brimley (rumored to be the younger brother of Wilford Brimley of “Cocoon” and “Di-a-bee-tus!” fame) had only this to say: “Cry me a river lady! I’m 3 feet tall, bald, wearing white panty hose, and I’ve got a bolt stuck through my hand! Now leave me alone, I’m trying to pimp some Yellowtail (that’s what she said).”

On a happier note, I was able to purchase a box of the new shiny m&m candies. My opinion? Meh…They taste much like the original peanut m&m’s. The only difference being that there are almonds instead of peanuts and I got the strange sensation that a couple of Polly Pocket shoes were dropped into the vat during the candy coating phase. Weird. Also, we’re out of crackers again.

Goodnight Pornographic Cheese Buttler, where ever you are!

I DO NOT heart grocery shopping

What does the above picture have to do with grocery shopping? I have no idea. But when I did a google search for “I hate grocery shopping”, this picture came up. So I figured I’d give this guy some mad peanut props. But I digress…

Here’s something else kind of space/time continuum-ey. When I went shopping Friday afternoon, I had no idea Beth was going to do a post about grocery shopping, nor did I know I would be doing a post about grocery shopping. That is, until I happened to come across a cheese display at the local grocery store. People, it’s not like I’m out looking for blog fodder everywhere I go (Okay, maybe I am just a little.), but tell me, is it’s just me?:

Seemingly gracious wine and cheese steward from this angle, right? Not so fast!

Am I the only person who thinks this guy isn’t wearing any pants? I have passed by this particular display countless times! Since I don’t drink wine and I think those particular type of crackers are fairly nasty, I never really paid much attention. But please, Kroger! There are CHILDREN at this grocery store!

That is just wrong on so many levels. After be ocularly accosted in the rear of the store (pun intended), I figured I had everything I wanted and some things I didn’t. I composed myself and went to the check out line, paid for my groceries and headed out to the parking lot. As I was pulling out of the parking lot, my phone rings. It is my husband calling. “Are you still at the grocery store?” This means one of two things: 1) “How much longer are you going to be?” or 2) “I forgot to ask you to get me some jelly beans.” On this day, it was the latter. I really didn’t feel like going back to the store, as I was still visibly shaken by the pornographic cheese buttler. But since Katdish = obedient wife, I turned the car around and went back to get 3 bags of Jolly Rancher jelly beans. (They are the best.) Obviously, I didn’t get a cart or a basket. I can manage 3 bags of jelly beans all by myself, thank you very much.

So guess what? They’re on sale. They are ordinarily $2.99 per bag, but the sale price was 3 for $5.00. I call dh to ask him how many bags I was supposed to buy. Yep — six. “Oh, and by the way, we also need Cheetos, saltine crackers and tortilla chips.” Great! As if I don’t already look like a big enough tool walking around with 6 large bags of jelly beans. Might as well go for broke.

No, I do not heart grocery shopping — not even a little bit. But the candy aisle was somewhat educational. Have you heard about the new m&m special dark chocolate candies?

I always thought that because they were shiny looking, they were INDIVIDUALLY WRAPPED in foil. And seriously…who has that kind of time? But no! You EAT the shiny part:

Yeah. Still not so sure about that. But to end on a positive note, guess what they were selling in the bakery? (Cue the angelic, cherub choir.) Chocolate chip pumpkin muffin tops! Yum-O!

Now, that there is a muffin top I can give truly get behind.