The storm before the calm

Here’s a fun thing to do: Go to your local “low price leader” grocery store the night before Thanksgiving to pick up a few things. If you get in and out of that store in less than an hour, consider the trip successful. If you get in and out of there with the items you went in for (as opposed to just putting them back on the shelf and bolting for the door in frustration because the line at every register is at least 12 people deep), double points!

Most people in my town are probably going to be at home with their families tomorrow, eating and watching football (except the poor unfortunates who work retail and will be dragged in to work all day), but tonight they are all at the grocery store. I circled the parking lot three times trying to find a space closer than 100 yards from the entrance (because I’m one of Those People). I just needed some fresh herbs for my Turkey Day dinner (more on that tomorrow), and boy-howdy did I have to work for them. It was like being a salmon trying to get upstream to spawn.

The bottom-dollar grocery store in my town is a fascinating people-watching venue 365 days a year, but tonight it was especially entertaining to me. What I noticed in particular were many, many unaccompanied older men traipsing through the aisles with cell phones in their ears the whole way, undoubtedly drafted reluctantly into last-minute shopping duty while their wives were busy doing everything else to get ready for tomorrow. “What kind of olives, black or green?” “Do we have lemons for the ice tea?” “How many potatoes do you want?” “They don’t have whole-grain waffles. What should I get instead?” “I thought we had enough eggs already. Are you sure?” One poor clueless guy was in a protracted discussion with an equally clueless produce worker about a bulb of fennel: “Which parts do you eat? The whole thing? All the green stuff, too? Do I have to buy the whole thing?” I guess his cell phone wasn’t working or maybe his wife wasn’t available to call about it. (Cooking suggestion: here.)

Honestly, can you even imagine a woman having a similar discussion with her husband at home while she shops? The few women I saw who were not accompanied by at least one child were filling their carts and crossing items off their lists with efficient movements and grim determination. No cell phones in their ears and no doubts in their minds, apparently.

It has always puzzled me that so many men know so little about things women traditionally do, such as grocery shopping. They see those groceries coming into their very own cupboards and refrigerators and onto their plates every day, yet somehow they manage to pay no attention whatsoever to the process of procuring them, to the point that they cannot shop unassisted. (Not true of all men, mind you, just many men.) The mind boggles.

Anyway, I managed to get my fresh herbs and a few other things, pick up some movie rentals, and get home in time to walk the dogs before dark. The decks have been cleared in my kitchen and I’m ready to hit the ground running first thing in the morning making more food than one person could ever hope to eat in one day (not that I won’t try, ha). Tune in tomorrow for pics and a recipe!


4 thoughts on “The storm before the calm

  1. So far, I am prepared and have not been to the grocery store since yesterday. Pick up pies and off to mother in laws tomorrow. I use to work retail and just dealt with the crazy schedules I had but yeah, really stinks now that stores open early on Thursday. Just wrong I say!

    • This country needs to dial the holiday shopping season way back. We’ve forgotten that a “holiday” is supposed to be “time away from working.” I sure would not cry if all the stores were closed tomorrow.

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