JIM SHEA The supermarket rebel takes a stand
I am dispatched to the supermarket to do some shopping. I have my list from you-know-who in hand. It is very detailed. (Does she think I’m an idiot?) Not only does her scribbled set of marching orders include the items to be purchased, but also has little notes next to each one.
Half gallon milk (2 percent)
Toilet paper (whatever is on sale)
The last item on the list is beer, next to which is written (Do not buy any, we have enough).
I buy beer.
I do this for several reasons:
One, to assert in some pathetic way my independence.
Two, because I do not accept the premise that you can ever have enough beer.
And, three, it was on sale.
I know objections will be made for going rogue on the beer, but I am confident my “on sale” rationale will provide solid ground on which to make my stand:
“I’m sorry, but are we so well off that we can afford to pass up bargains.”
Genius, I know. What can I say. It’s a gift.
Although I am only shopping for a dozen items, my carriage is rapidly filling up as I circumnavigate the store. Sometimes you don’t know what you are out of until you pass it. Sometimes you have to make executive decisions on the fly. Stocking up on chips is a good example.
Fatigue is beginning to set in as I work my way toward the end of the list. It seems that the next item I am looking for is always at the opposite end of the store from the previous one. Is it possible the list has been composed this way on purpose?
I have to say that the blindly wandering around does seem oddly familiar. It’s kind of like the approach men used to use to find addresses before navigation systems. Now, as it was then, stopping to ask for directions is not a consideration.
Having worked my way through the list and then some, I am about to head toward checkout when I read the last item:
Flu shot (get one, and don’t be a baby.)
I am momentarily confused. Do they come in do-it-yourself packages now? Or maybe they do it at the register? I have visions of the cashier whipping out a syringe and asking me which arm as her partner is double-bagging the juice. I find this unsettling.
I am looking at the signs hoping to discover which aisle the flu shots may be in when it dawns on me the store has its own pharmacy. Of course.
The pharmacist is wearing a white coat, which in itself positions her several rungs above the cashier in terms of someone you want sticking a sharp object into your arm.
The good news is that I can get the shot there and then, and also that it is free. You don’t even need a coupon.
Before the shot can be administered, however, there is paperwork to be filled out, a lot of it. This takes a while. Maybe they should combine the flu shot with one for writer’s cramp.
Having now completed the list I head for the checkout line. It is there that I realize I probably should have gotten the flu shot before I got the ice cream.
Live and learn, right?
I head to the parking lot feeling pretty darn good about my excursion. It had been a while since I was sent to the supermarket on my own. I suspect it will also be awhile before I am sent back.
Genius, I know.
Jim Shea is a lifelong Connecticut resident and journalist. email@example.com; Twitter: @jimboshea.