My Hate of Grocery Shopping

If I didn’t have to eat to live, I would never go grocery shopping.

The grocery store and I do not mix. Add children to the equation and the combination is lethal. Normally I come home and want to cry, take a nap or start ordering all of my food from Schwans.

No matter how much I plan and how many coupons I clip, our trip always takes twice as long as I want it to and I spend twice as much as I planned.

I don’t know what it is about buying food for our family, but it brings out the worst in my boys and me.

Heaven help me if I have to go to a store with car carts. It never fails that the seatbelts have been broken off so my kids can climb out of the car’s doors freely. Usually they try to make a break for it while I’m rolling them quickly and I nearly run over one of their arms.

Then there’s shopping with the extended double-seated carts.  I have a serious love-hate relationship with those things.

One week I drove around the entire parking lot looking for an extended double-seated grocery cart.  I normally start our grocery trips hunting up and down the aisles looking for them. Because when we don’t have them, half of my food ends up smashed or broken as the boys fight while riding in the back of the cart. And I refuse to let them walk beside me.

Our favorite grocery store parks the giant haulers outside, which I think is totally stupid. Year round it causes a problem.

In the winter the door greeters have to help me push inches of snow off of the cart’s seats, then they get upset that the snow dripped inside the store. In the summer the seats are roasting hot and my boys don’t want to go anywhere near them.

Can’t they just park them inside?

This summer after hunting down a cart then draping it with my reusable shopping bags to keep it from burning my little boys’ bums, I pushed it on inside. Only to be totally floored when the door greeter cautioned me to not let my kids fall off of it.  Seriously?

I’m sorry that I improvised making a buffer between my boys’ bottoms and the blistering-hot plastic. Oh, and I didn’t want to strap scalding-hot seat belts across their poor little tummies in order to secure them in tightly. Rest assured door greeter man, their safety is my prime concern.

Maybe if you didn’t park the carts outside they wouldn’t be so hot and I wouldn’t worry about their under thighs blistering on contact.

All of this before we even buy a thing.

Sometimes while shopping my boys get what I call “grabby hands.” They stick their hands straight out from the cart grabbing and hitting everything they come in contact with on the shelves. That’s especially fun while rolling down the canned-food aisle.

Other times it’s a constant, “he hit me”/ “he pinched me” whine-a-thon. Yet another reason why I both love and hate the giant double-seated carts. I guess the urge to pinch, hit or bite your brother amplifies tremendously when you are in close proximity. Riding side-by-side, they just can’t help it.

I started buying a $2 cup of popcorn chicken for them to share while we shopped so they could keep their minds and fingers off of each other. That worked out well for a while. Until it got to the point where they started fighting over that too.

Every once and a while, my children surprise me by actually behaving when we stroll through the store. Then all heck breaks loose as we hit the checkout line. They must sense that freedom is near and all of their pent-up energy bursts through.

I have a particularly fond memory of my oldest kicking, hitting and biting me while we were checking out one day. I wouldn’t let him have a toy at the end of our trip and so he was taking his wrath out on me. I’ll never forget the older lady in line behind me. She helped me strap his tantrum-throwing body back in the cart so he couldn’t get to me to hurt me.

All she could say was, “I promise you it gets better.”

What am I supposed to do when they throw fits like that at the finish line? I’m not about to abandon a chuck-full cart by the side of the cash register and go home empty-handed.

I am sure it would be less stressful to shop alone. But I don’t always have the luxury or energy to go in the evenings or on the weekend.

Ironically, sometimes I think that it will be faster if I go shopping alone. Not true. I have been able to go alone a few times and it has taken me much longer. I guess something about pushing two little boys who are beating the crap out of each other makes you bust a move through the store and grab only the necessities. When I go by myself I pause to window shop. I get distracted. And I take twice as long.

But I can’t blame them for all of my grocery store blunders. I have problems when I am by myself too.

One night before their birthdays I went shopping by myself to get groceries and one of their presents – spin-brush toothbrushes.  Early on in my trip I dropped one of the stupid brushes on the ground and it started spinning. It spun and vibrated in my cart for more than an hour while I did my shopping. I’m sure the other customers walking around the store at 10 p.m. wondered what on earth the humming sound was coming from underneath my purse.

It seems as if I can’t win. And yet I can’t very well let me and my family starve because of a little chaotic grocery shopping.

Every once and a while shopping, I run into a mother just like me. She’s rushing through the store pushing a cart that is bursting at the seams and chastising her fighting, unruly children as her coupons and list fall to the floor. I have to fight the urge to give her a hug or a piece of candy. She has done something for me I can never repay. She has made me feel normal.

Luckily I only go shopping every two weeks. That way I have 14 days to forget about the pain. I am hoping that lady at the checkout stand is right. That it really does get better. But for now, I’m not holding my breath.

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. kristine
    Nov 03, 2011 @ 15:14:15

    I swear we live the same life sometimes!


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