Sunday, July 29, 2012

Nunya Business

One lonely plan-free Friday night, after rifling through the cabinets and finding nothing upon which to snack (not even chocolate baking chips), trolling the six bookcases in the house and finding nothing of real interest to read, and suffering through an Olympic opening ceremony that included an interview with a swimmer conducted by Ryan Seacrest, it was time to take measures. The Seacrest thing had pushed me over the edge, and it was “Dohner Out” as I hurried to turn off the TV and exit the house. The problem was where to go.

Bars were ruled out, which pretty much left shopping as the only viable solo option. As I am trying to minimize my stuff, not acquire more things, I chose to visit Kroger, where the flyer indicated a special on Fritos, Cheetos and Ruffles. At least I could stuff my face upon my return home. And maybe I’d meet Prince Charming there and it would turn into a coffee date or something. Yes, it’s an idiotic fantasy, but some days, (especially Friday and Saturday) it’s all I have. Unfortunately, halfway to the store I realized I was wearing the unflattering pants and socks and sneakers I wore to walk the dogs after work. Ugh.

Once in the store, I studied the sushi display but most of it is covered in some kind of sauce stuff, so I ruled it out and headed to the salty snack row, where I deliberated over my junk food options as if my life depended on it. The bonus at Kroger is, the chips are in the same row as the beer, so I could scope out the men on a beer run, not that I’d be bold enough to do anything even if I did see someone attractive. What would I do, sidle up to the guy and purr in my sultriest tones, “Oh, darling, you just chose my favorite grocery store beer and doesn’t this place have a decent selection for a grocery store ... so how about you get another six pack and I’ll help you drink it?” Right. I would have to be already really, really drunk to be that bold.

The Frito/ Cheetos/ Ruffles deal was three bags for $7 and my reason for being there, but I chose instead, store brand tortilla chips on sale for $1 and the smaller-than-family size bag of Lay’s. Lay’s are my favorite major brand, mass market chips and a workable substitute for the Tri-Sum chips of my youth that I can’t get unless I order them by the case. History has already proven caseloads of chips to not be a good idea. There is no pantry place to store them out of sight (and thus out of mind), so I just eat them all in a few days. For real.

After the painstaking salty snack deliberations, I extended my big night out by wandering over to the frozen treats case to really jazz up my pity party of one. I lingered over the Ben & Jerry’s and the Haagen-Daz and Bunny and Breyer’s and Edy’s and store brands. There were the no-longer-a-half-gallon new 1.5 quart size on a two-for-one sale, but the freezer was already full of pasta and shrimp and two ears of corn from last summer that I keep forgetting to throw out. I had to be practical and think smaller.

There was a woman in the ice cream row talking loudly on a cell phone, which was kind of annoying, as it was interfering with my frozen treat musings, but it got even weirder when she put her phone away and continued talking to herself in a normal conversational tone of voice. She was expressing out loud what she was thinking about the ice cream. “Oh, caramel swirl, that could be good, but wait that is the store brand, ewww. Oh, look, Ben And Jerry’s Chunky Monkey. Hmmm. What the heck? Frozen Greek yogurt? Blah, blah, blah.” Meanwhile, my eyes were rolling and the voice in my head, which I am fortunately able to generally keep from coming out my mouth, was responding with “Lady, you are coming off like a lunatic, stop narrating your ice cream shopping and shut the hell up!” Cripes.

I hurried my selection to get away from the lady talking to herself and grabbed a small container of store brand chocolate and one of rainbow sherbert, each on sale for $1. I felt her chastising gaze upon my lowbrow store brand choices, but fortunately, her commentary didn’t extend to critiquing my selections, at least not while I was there. If it had, I’d have been forced to tell her if it was so offensive to her, then maybe she should give me the money to buy something less heinous like Ben and Jerry's. But most likely not.

At the register, my potato chips, tortilla chips, ice cream and sherbert moved along on  the conveyor belt. When I handed the cashier my Kroger card (gas points, baby!), she muttered something. I said “Sorry?” and she repeated herself, slightly less mumbly, but still barely intelligible. “Hi. Are you having a good day?”

What is this, some new customer inquisition model? Wouldn’t a more appropriate question be, “Did you find everything you were looking for?” to which I might have responded, “Well, I found my chips, but alas, the Prince Charming I hoped to find in the beer row was nowhere to be seen.”

But come on.  Am I “having a good day?” Seriously? Isn’t that kind of none of your business little Miss Grocery Store Cashier? Cripes, My ex-husband didn’t even get that conversationally personal in seven years of marriage. I wanted to shriek “ I’m a single woman, alone in the grocery store at 9:00 on a Friday night buying chips and ice cream. Do I look like I’m having a good day?”

But I didn’t want to come off looking like the lunatic talking out loud to herself  in the ice cream row and who was now behind me at the checkout, so what I really said was, “Uh, not really.”

Let’s analyze: Is it necessary to my purchase transaction for me to have had a good day? Maybe this line of questioning is a new FDA requirement for buying junk food, or Kroger is now screening people for depression at the checkout. I wonder what she would have asked if I’d been buying razor blades, too. Just stop the busybody chit chat, take my money, give me my damned chips and ice cream and let me get out of here. I’m sure the chatterbox behind me was all too eager to divulge the details of her day, so leave me alone and quiz her.


  1. Kroger Deluxe Death by Chocolate.... go forth and enjoy.... it comes in a half gallon but you wouldn't have to deal with nosy rosy cash chick :) LOVE YOU TAMMY D


  2. From my experience in the area, I'm sure it was just super-awkward clerk that already has interpersonal problems at school, and really struggles when it extends to strangers at work.

  3. Death by Chocolate has gotten me through many, many such nights. Love you!