Thursday, November 15, 2007

Grocery Shopping With Mark

When I was two years old pork chops cost $0.83 per pound, flour cost $0.10 per pound, eggs $0.49 a dozen, ground beef $0.31 per pound. In today’s money the pork chops would cost $6.30 per pound and the eggs $3.72 per dozen. However the real cost if you go to the super-market today, according to Mark, is $1.69 for the pork chops and $1.89 for the eggs. Sounds like a bargain to me, not so to Mark.

Before I met Mark I had a simple method for food shopping. I would go to the Winn-Dixie, grab a cart and start at one end of the store by the produce. Slowly moving up and down each aisle in order I would go past every item in the store, taking that which I needed and passing the rest. My final stop was the meat counter where I’d pick out my meat for the week and then go to the checkout and pay. Sale prices and impulse buying meant nothing to me. If I needed it, I bought it, if not, I passed. In Marks words, "That’s crazy".

Mark needs to get everything at the lowest price possible and that includes food. Because of this I am subjected to a weekly trip to ‘Penn-Dutch Foods’ or as I like to call it ‘The United Nations of Ankle Smashers’. Penn-Dutch is the cheapest place I have ever seen to buy food. Their customer base consists mostly of Haitians, French Canadians, Mexicans, various other South and Central Americans, New York Jews, Black Americans and people who seem to be Gypsies or from somewhere in eastern Europe. What they all have in common is that they are ruthless with the shopping carts. Before I figured out how to handle myself with a cart, I routinely had my ankles run into by the other shoppers. Usually the shorter, older, and fatter they were, the harder they hit me. I truly think they have a point system, because after they would hit me and see me wince, they’d talk excitedly to each other in their native gibberish.

Now that we’ve been going there for the past four years I’ve caught on. My first move as I enter with my cart is to slam the others out of my way like carnival bumper cars. After getting through the initial knot of shoppers in the produce section, I park out of the way in front of the whole roasting chickens and wait while skinny Mark weaves in and out, picking up what he needs. From there I repeat that strategy with different parking spots, finally making my move towards the checkout. Now the checkout is another challenge. When you see a short line you move to it quickly. Any hesitation and you get side-swiped and pushed aside by a family of ten with two or three carts over flowing with pigs feet, and other strange meats and produce. By the time you recover and go for the next checkout, a French Canadian will push past you mumbling "Je ne comprends pas l'anglais". Which I believe is French for ‘f**k you’.

Now this next week is the real challenge. Shopping for Thanksgiving.


  1. Well, I'm back everyone. I've hear some people were asking about me since I haven't posted any comments lately.

    I haven't been abducted by the Amish people out here and forced into slave labor...yet.

    I've been busy with other things in my life besides being a commentator for Alan's blog. I didn't know I had such a fan base.

    Maybe I need to start my own blog..hehe.

    Anyway, here is my comment for this post:

    One thing Alan forgot to mention in this blog is, (and this still happens to me everytime I go shopping) No matter what checkout line Alan will get into, he always picks the one with the longest wait time. He can pick the shortest line behind one person buying a can of peas. Thinking he is going to get out the door in no time.....he soon realizes this is not going to happen.

    The person in front of waits until the last minute to start searching for their money or checkbook. Then they can't find their drivers license afterwards and empty their purse on the counter. When they find it, no one has a pen or the pen is dry. After that is solved they question the price. Then the cashier has to perform a price check by running frantically looking for the sale price of the can of peas because everyone else is too busy. When she returns she has to do a price void and get it approved by the lead cashier who is nowhere to be found.....In the meantime the longest checkout line is now empty....even the people behind Alan checked out 10 minutes ago.

    Am I right, Alan?

  2. Wow, Garet really does live in Amish country. No scanners and they still pay with checks.

  3. Now see, if you guys turned vegetarian you wouldn't have to write a blog like this. You could shop in luxury at the local Bread of Life Grocery or Whole Foods Market.

  4. My comment was only meant as an example of Alan's checkout experiences I have seen happen and is not what happened to me. I do live in a civilized area with scanners in the grocery stores. Some die hard people still use checks though and I have seen checks still being used in the big cities and grocery chains.

    I would like to hear about your checkout lane experiences.

    Did you every get an incredibly slow cashier or customer and feel the anxeity building?

    How about the embarrassment of holding up the checkout lane because you dispute the price of a purchase?

  5. I'm not rich. I can't shop at Whole Foods, the place with the whole prices.

  6. You buy whats on sale silly. You are paying extra for the ambiance.

  7. I can't stand when I end up behind someone that wants cigarettes. The cigarettes are located elsewhere and the cashier has to leave the register to go get them for the customer. She gets back and the customer informs her they are the wrong ones. she leaves again.