Grocery Shopping Hell

“To err is human; to forgive, divine,” Alexander Pope once said.

As a mother, I’m no stranger to errors.  I make mistakes ALL the time.  I lose my patience and raise my voice when I don’t need to.  I squander my time in e-mail and find Bunder, Kiki, and my expensive Italian Paisley duvet covered in Vick’s Vapor Rub.  I give in to tantrums in public (sometimes – I’m trying hard not to).

I make mistakes as a wife, a stepmother, a sister, and a friend.  I make mistakes all over the place, but some mistakes cost a lot more than others.  Last Saturday’s mistake scores an eleven on a ten point scale of painful.  Horrible, no good, awful mistake.

I’m telling you this story in hopes you can learn from my mistakes.  (Cliché – I know.  Deal with it.)

Typically, I prepare menus and a grocery list for the upcoming week on Friday.  Then, on Saturday morning, after my long run, I grocery shop – by myself.

Well, this past week, I didn’t go for a long run – in fact, I didn’t run at all, because I was recovering from the marathon.  Since I wasn’t running, everything was out of sync.  I didn’t prepare a grocery list, and I didn’t make plans to go to the store without the kids.  Before I knew it, it was late Saturday afternoon, we had no fruit, no milk, no cheese, nothing for dinner, basically nothing at all, and it was my turn to watch the kids.

“No biggie,” I thought.  The kids have enjoyed riding in the racecar shopping cart the last few trips to the store, so this’ll be fine.  Mister offered to take the kids, but I declined.

Lesson #1

When husband offers to watch the children, NEVER – I mean NEVER say no.  Furthermore, if possible, do not take children to the grocery store.  Make every attempt to leave all or one at home. 

The parking lot is full – I mean jammed full of cars and people and dogs and cats and monkeys and gorillas…

So full, I drive around looking for a spot to park.  As I drive, I notice the absence of the racecar shopping carts.  Lord, help us, if we don’t find a racecar shopping cart!

I’m in luck!  I spot one, lone, red racecar.  Quickly, I pull into a spot (far from the store), jump out, lock the kids in the car, and run two rows over to snag the last racecar cart.  Swiftly, I push it back to the car, disinfect the seats, handles, and steering wheels with Clorox wipes.  I load both kids, strap them in, hand them snacks and drinks, and race to the store.

Except the racecar cart isn’t racing.  “What the heck?” I wonder.  I have to use all my might to keep it moving in a straight path toward the store.  It doesn’t want to move forward.  It keeps pulling to the side.

The cart is broken.  Do I switch out the kids to a regular shopping cart amid screams and protests or do I make myself suffer?

“It’ll be a nice workout,” I decide hurrying into the produce section.

Lesson #2

Don’t settle for a broken shopping cart.  What seems like a nuisance in the produce section will be an all out nightmare in the milk and eggs. 

Inside the store, I carefully evade the numerous shoppers and pause to fumble for my impromptu shopping list.  While I’m digging to China in my huge diaper bag, Bunder pulls an apple off the shelf and starts eating it.

“Oh, no!  Don’t eat it!  It hasn’t been washed!”  I yell pulling the apple out of Bunder’s hands.

He screams for the apple and Kiki screams for her own apple calling it a ball.  I try to distract them with their snacks.

The saga continues throughout the store.  Bunder screams for something he sees.  Kiki follows suit.  I run into not one but THREE people with my broken cart, because it’s next to impossible to turn and the store is SOOO crowded which brings me to

Lesson #3

Grocery shop during the week – preferably early in the morning or late at night to avoid crowds. 

Literally, an hour later and halfway through the store, Kiki starts shrieking and crying inconsolably.  For the life of me, I can’t figure out what’s wrong.  “Is she hurt?  Did she bite her tongue?  Did Bunder poke her in the eye?”

I read the stares of the countless people in my same aisle, “What’s WRONG with that lady?  Why can’t she comfort her kid?”

I give up, unstrap her, and pull her out of the cart.  – BIG, SUPER BIG mistake!  She’s happy as a clam; which makes me realize she just wanted out of the cart but now…

Lesson #4

Never take your child out of the shopping cart unless you plan to keep them out of the shopping cart the remainder of your visit. 

She won’t go back in the cart.  Every time I start to set her down in the cart, she arches her back and screams bloody-murder.  I give up and settle her onto my left hip.

Picture this, I’m now holding my toddler in one hand, attempting to maneuver a broken racecar shopping cart with the other hand, and a two year old screaming for watermelon and cantaloupe and other ridiculous things.  Welcome to grocery shopping hell!

Lesson #5

To make your grocery shopping more efficient, write out a list according to the store’s sections. 

I started sweating.  The baby was slipping off my hip with every push of the cart.  I couldn’t find my list, but I knew what I wanted to do with it – and it wasn’t cross off another item.   I headed straight toward the checkout.

Upon checking out, the bagger couldn’t find a place to put my 12 pack of Diet Coke on the broken down racecar shopping cart.  I guess all the yelling, sweating, and whining (plus the commotion coming from the kids) distracted him, so he precariously balanced it on top of the rest of the groceries.
Still holding Kiki, still listening to Bunder whine about something, I push the broken cart through the crosswalk toward the parking lot and think, “What else could possibly go wrong?”

Halfway across the main drag, in the middle of traffic with cars lined up waiting for me to cross with my entourage of screaming children, the twelve pack of soda falls off the cart.  Soda cans roll down the street in every direction.

Lesson #6

Boycott supermarkets.  Eat out instead. 

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About Mother Ruckus

Living the dream of motherhood and hoping to survive. View all posts by Mother Ruckus

8 responses to “Grocery Shopping Hell

  • Sara

    Oh my gosh I’ve barely lived through the exact same scenerio (minus the gorillas) and vowed never again! I can hardly make it through the grocery store on my own on a crowded Sunday much less adding kids to the mix. I’m glad you are warning others!

  • airielle

    Ok, that sounded funny…but I bet it was a nightmare! I recently took Brody to the store alone just to pick up a “few” items. He fell asleep on the way to the store…but I figured he would wake up once I got him into the cart. Some guy saw me struggling with Brody and my big pregnant belly…and helped him into the cart. Once in the cart, he started freaking out, so I took him out. He passed out in my arms. I thought…ok…I can do this…just get a basket. I carried his dead weight around the store and then struggled to check out at the end. It wasn’t as bad as your story…but my back was killing me when I got home!!

    • Angel

      Oh, Airielle! I can’t imagine! How in the world did you do it? How could you possibly carry around his dead weight while pregnant and pick out groceries?! You’re superwoman!

  • Ruth

    Thank you so much for a good laugh. my milk came in this morning and my breasts are throbbing so this was really needed. I refuse to use the race car thing. My grocery store has those but also what Asher refers to as the rockets. He knows we only use the rockets since they are actually maneuverable

  • Angel

    Ruth, I’m so glad I gave you some emotional relief! I remember that engorged feeling! It was always a trick to pump enough to feel not as full but not so much that I produced more. The art of breastfeeding!

    I’ll look for the rockets next time – what am I saying – there won’t be a next time!

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