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AS we are about to enter the DC/Baltimore area winter season, and the oh-so-likely chance that snow flurries will stop traffic, I wanted to offer this post –  postponed – perchance that we might recall the misery of shopping during such a horrible crisis;

In Boston, this is called another winter day. In DC the area comes to a halt.

(written on August 30, 2011, and for once, NO embellishments…)  At least I have an excuse.  You see, this Friday was my regular every-other-week grocery shopping day.  I really hate shopping.  I do.  By this statement, I refer to the type of shopping such as, “I need black socks”,  or “getting things we need for vacation” type of shopping.  This is not to be confused with going to Dean & DeLuca and creating a wonderful dinner party with my lovely finds.   With everyday shopping, I can be a real male hunter; seek and kill what I need.  The quicker – the less painful.   The idea of walking/wandering around perusing the aisles of the local  grocery store is just total agony for me. 

not me... not me... not me.. can't do it.. not me...

Therefore, when I shop for groceries, my list is specific, laid out in order of the store, easy to read and easy to toss afterward.  

 I go through the aisles, starting on the right working to the left, and move like a stealth shopper quickly and efficiently loading the cart moving in the order of eventual bagging at check out.  During manuvers, I quickly suss out the slower moving shoppers, performing lane changes, hairpin turns and stopping on a dime right at the DeCecco Pasta section.  Yes, I even perform ongoing reconnaissance on the available checkout lines in advance of planning my escape from the maize du Safeway. 

Therefore, I go every other week, and get one full cart of groceries we need – so as to minimize the pain, and the (God forbid) need to shop several times a week.  This brings us to the Friday before the big Hurricane Irene was to hit in full force. This was my regular shopping date.  I went at 5:15PM.   I understood that people would be shopping.  I had no idea.

Did you know that they make grocery carts that have electronic wheel locks if beyond a perimeter.  Would you guess that today’s parking area (which is full up of course) is beyond this perimeter for these carts?  It took two store employees and a half hour to unlock the cart with some wand thing.  There was no other cart to be found anywhere, except this one rogue stubborn cart.  The clouds of rain were looming.  The people inside wandered around as if it were a Sunday social event. 

 The waiting lines for checkout reached the back of the store, causing bottlenecks, crashes and similar traffic issues.  Of twelve checkout lanes, only 4 were open! 

After waiting in line – I began at the end cap for charcoal at the meat department for 23 minutes, the lady in front of me presented the final and ultimate credit card the system could handle, and all plastic processing stopped. Yes!!!! I brought the checkbook just in case!  And rain began while I began unloading my cart on the moving belt.

The Cashier was in such a good mood, it really helped.  She was really cool, and having a pretty good time, and we all just fell in line with her.  What else is there to do?  You finally cave in, and just go with it.

Why do people shop like this?  At least I have an excuse.  This was my regular shopping day.  OK, not a good one, but hey, I got one.   I have lived in this area for over 50 years. Never once have I seen the most debilitating weather (of any kind) render our daily life shut down for more than 3 days.  This would mean that our area population might need two days of supplies assuming they would have a current day’s meals/supplies on hand.  It leaves me dumbfounded that the mention of snow flurries/ storms/ and now hurricanes, that sends our area into complete shopping cart turf wars hauling on average 1.3 shopping carts of stuff for the maybe 36 hours of being homebound. At worst.  Lord have mercy.

Great for the Grocery stores and local economy I guess, but honestly I believe the toll it takes on all of us is just not worth it.  I hate when people bitch like this with no chance in hell of offering a solution, but this is, I am sorry to say, one of those times.  I am thinking of an answer, but like a friend of mine, Annie,  we lay awake nights with these silly thoughts! When I finally fall asleep, what do you think I start dreaming about??