To know me is to know that I despise the grocery store. If I had the time, energy and skill, I would animate a parody of the opening sequence to Tales from the Crypt, ending with my scraggly, angst-ridden skeleton popping up from a grocery cart with a broken wheel instead of the Crypt Keeper popping up from a coffin. So, you know, just picture that.
On and off over the last year, I dabbled in Stop & Shop’s Peapod pick-up service – but you can’t get everything you need in one place, and they have this annoying habit of substituting things I find weird with things I’ve ordered (most notably, raspberry yogurt from strawberry yogurt and some sort of diet flatbread thing for actual carb-tastic pitas – like I’m some sort of tart-liking fake sugar-eating monster). But I can’t deny the convenience of it all, nasty substitutes included, so for the past month I’ve been placing my order online Sunday for pick-up on my way home Monday. In fact, it has become such a routine that my 3-year-old constantly asks if we’re going to Stop & Shop when we are in the car. He’s hoping, for those of you who frequent the Simsbury store on Bushy Hill, to see the “Yellow Man” (real name Peter, who wears a yellow polo Stop & Shop shirt, and may possibly be Matt Bellasai in disguise). Two weeks ago, a different guy brought out our groceries and Ben was very concerned about the Yellow Man. Randy, the Mr. Miyagi to Yellow Man’s Ralph Macchio, explained that Yellow Man was on vacation. So I mentioned last week when Yellow Man was back, as Ben stared at him enthralled, that we missed him the previous week. I don’t know what Yellow Man was thinking, but he quickly interjected that he was on vacation visiting his “girlfriend” in Pennsylvania. Lolol – settle down, buddy; I was just trying to make small talk because my kid was very clearly staring at you.
Anyways, having avoided the grocery store for the past several weeks lulled me into a state of believing I could make a peaceful trip to Shop Rite on Saturday afternoon – with a baby – to pick up food for a dinner party later that night. I could get past driving up and down parking lot aisles for a spot because every.single.person in the greater Farmington Valley goes to The Shoppes on Saturday. I could get past the nonsensical grocery cart traffic patterns people were utilizing in the store. But, when it came time to check out and the floor supervisor directed me to newly opened Lane 12, I could not get past the uppity-looking woman who was heading toward the same lane from the opposite direction purposefully oblivious to everyone around her, in particular oblivious to me nearing the same lane with my cart, in which an infant carrier (and baby) was engulfed by precariously placed bags and boxes. She completely cut me off to take the my spot in the lane and for the first time EVER, looking right at her, I used my outside voice to say, “You are a flaming bitch.” I typically sass people at the store, but usually under my breath. But this woman’s violation of grocery store etiquette was so flagrant, I couldn’t help myself. Now, putting aside the obvious question running through your mind (“What exactly is a flaming bitch?”), my “outside voice” is a normal person’s whisper, so objectively she probably never heard me. But immediately after I called her out, she backed up her cart and went to another lane – so at that point, I felt victorious. Of course, the “confrontation” left me fuming the entire car ride home. My blood pressure was returning to normal as I got all the bags and the baby in the house. Just as things were getting back to normal, though, I emptied my pockets only to realize that in my confrontational haze I completely forgot about the $5 off coupon in my pocket. I mean, the cashier even prompted me by asking if I had any coupons. In the end, that lady got the better of me and she won. One of the only things I hate more than the grocery store is spending more money than I need to. And not using that $5 coupon is going to linger in me for a long time. You win this time, Uppity Lady.
p.s. A flaming bitch is someone who has clear disregard for others. Can also be used to describe someone who sees a haggard mom succumbed to grocery shopping with a baby and thinks, “No, I’ll go first. I’m sure that baby isn’t hungry or sitting in a soiled diaper or just generally tired of being in the carseat.”