Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Embarrassing Grocery Store Moments

My life is filled with embarrassing moments while grocery shopping. What’s embarrassing about grocery shopping you ask? If I were to title this blog, “Embarrassing Moments while at the Doctor’s Office”, you’d all agree those times are definitely filled with embarrassment. But the grocery store? Oh yes, my internet friends, read on.

The embarrassing moments started during childhood grocery trips. At the local Safeway they had a corner in the store where they put all the dented cans and smooshed boxes on clearance in a shopping cart. My siblings and I affectionately called this the “cheap corner.” We loved the cheap corner! Whenever we would go to the store with Mom we’d run to the cheap corner and find a coveted can of Spaghetti-Os for a nickel or Chunky soup for a dime. Mom always let us get stuff from the cheap corner, because after all, it was cheap! The embarrassing part came when the cart was filled with more dented stuff than not. We looked more like vagabonds dumpster-diving than a reputable family out for a good bargain.

The embarrassment continued into the teenage years. My sister Patty has a screwy sense of humor so she always thought it was funny to load up the cart with liquor when my mom wasn’t looking—hard liquor too like Vodka and Bourbon—not just beer and cheap wine. Usually my mom would notice by the time we got to the check-out line and everyone would have a good chuckle. Hee, hee--what’s a nice Mormon family doing with 12 jugs of Vodka in their cart? Patty sure is funny! The embarrassing part would happen when we ran into someone from church. I am sure that’s how rumors get started. “Oh my, there is Sister Harrington with her girls. And what’s that in their cart? Smirnoff Vodka? Shame on her! And in front of her children too.” Oh the scandal! Patty would get bonus points on these days.

And even though I am a good Mormon girl I buy a tiny 4oz. jar of instant coffee every few years. Why you ask? Because just a ½ teaspoon of coffee crystals adds loads of flavor to homemade chocolate cake. Yum-o! However, maybe it’s a sign that I shouldn’t buy coffee because when I do someone from church always sees me. Not sometimes, always. Okay, so I’ve only bought the coffee twice in the last 4 years but both of those times I ran into someone. (FYI--The coffee also makes an excellent dye for muslin fabrics that you want to antique.)

Once again, another embarrassing moment occurred when I went to Wal-Mart to buy one can of beer to marinate our now famous Tio Pepe’s skirt steak. It is seriously killer food. Two years ago though I found out that you can’t buy beer by the can—only the six pack. So the checker asks me if I want to go grab the other five cans. “Heck no! I don’t even drink beer! What am I going to do with 5 whole cans!” Oh the sinfulness of it all. To make matters worse she then asked for my I.D. “Are you kidding me?”, I say? “I am (then) 29 years old.” She must be carding me because I look so young from all those years of clean living--abstaining from evil things like beer, coffee, and cigarettes. In the end I put the stupid can of beer back. So now I go to the Mercado Latino across town when I need to buy that solitary can of beer for Tio Pepe’s Mexican BBQ. I feel as if I am being sneaky. Like I need to knock twice because it’s a Speak Easy. Any moment the Word of Wisdom cops could break in and bust me. Oh the danger!

But truly the most embarrassing grocery store trip occurred two weeks ago when we were remodeling our kitchen and we were eating all week sans oven. So I broke down and bought some frozen foods. I went down the frozen food isle and noticed the plethora of brands available—Healthy Choice, Marie Calendar’s, Stouffer’s—etc. I have no idea which is the “good” brand. Maybe “good” is the wrong word. How about, I have no idea which brand is the least objectionable. This is new to me. I’ve heard of Stouffers and there is a Stouffers factory just a few minutes away in Springeville. So maybe they don’t use as many disgusting preservatives since it is only traveling 10 minutes from Springville to Orem. I’ll try this one. I bought a lasagna, fettucine chicken alfredo, and some frozen Ego waffles for my kids. As I headed to the check-out lane I began to wonder, “What will my story be if I run into anyone I know?” I am a food snob and my reputation would be ruined for buying such items. This is worse than buying beer or coffee. Luckily, no one sees me. But the cashier begins asking me, “Oh is this fettucine alfredo good?” I can’t let this one go. “I don’t know. I’ve never bought it before. My kitchen is being remodeled and my kids are sick of sandwiches.” Why do I feel the need to explain this to her? Judging by the three entire isles of frozen food at Wal-Mart this is a huge industry and people buy this crap every day. It’s nothing to be ashamed of. Yet I am truly embarrassed. I have gone to the dark side. And the scary thing is? The frozen foods were not that bad. Not that good, but not that bad. Gasp. The dark side of the force is not stronger, but as Yoda said in “The Empire Strikes Back”, “it is quicker, easier, more seductive”. Oh yea. Yoda’s wisdom is applicable throughout life.


paulw_cpa said...

You forgot to mention that the only beer cans available at the Mercado Latino to purchase by the can are not your typical 8 fluid ounce can; but rather a full 12 ounce can.

More beer than anyone needs to marinate skirt steak. Hey latinos know how to drink their beer.

FYI--for those who have never experienced hard liquor in a grocery store you need to live outside of Utah. It is always a joy to see a homeless person beg enough change to go in an get a bottle of Thunderbird at 3 in the afternoon.

This blog needs an addendum to the "food snob" blog regarding the inability of grocery store clerks to distinguish parsley from cilantro. Or to identify such "exotic" vegetables as a leak--"is that a giant green onion?

I think they usually know the difference between a cucumber and a zucchini.

Patricia (the sister!) said...

Cyn, I still do that to mom to this day. Unfortunately, she has gotten wise to me after 30 years. She has eyes in the back of her head now, because I can't sneak anything past her. Not even the teeny-tiny, shot-sized bottles of liquor.
Heck, I NEVER wanted to miss an opportunity to go with mom to the grocery store. All this to get a smashed-beyond-recognition-taped in 20 different places- box of Apple Jacks for 50 cents. We didn't care that the next morning when pouring our bowl of cereal, the smooshed Apple Jacks were now "Apple Powder." Who cares??? We got the "free prize" in the box of apple powder, which was usually some lame spinning top which was smashed beyond all recognition, too. Ahhh, to be a kid again!

Carolyn said...

Don't forget the Last Supper and Virgin Mary candles that we used to slip into the cart, too. It was a choice moment when someone from the Relief Society saw our cart...I'm sure she had to wonder what kind of satanic rituals we performed in the priacy of our home...

cyn the win said...

Satanic? Aw, come on Carolyn--Virgin Mary candles are used my CATHOLICS not DEVIL WORSHIPERS. But yes, I do remember those candles now. We were just trying to remind Mom of her roots, right?

Patricia (the sister!) said...

Ha ha ha ha!!! I forgot about The Last Supper and Virgin Mary candles! Thanks for reminding me, and giving me a hearty chuckle, Care!!!

abelnap said...

Wow, Cyn. You're really going hog wild now. You've got a fancy background, hyper links, pictures, everything. I'm impressed, and perhaps a bit afraid.

As to the blog--count your lucky stars that you don't have to check out with me. I'm sure I would have a basket full of objectionable items--not the least of which would be cream of mushroom soup.


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