Editor’s Note: “Buggy” is the correct way to say “shopping cart”. I know that not all of you agree, but I cannot force myself to type shopping cart twenty-four times. That’s exactly 168 more characters than are needed. A character savings that I just lost with this explanation.
1:40pm: Walk through the parking lot of the grocery store, two kids trailing. Not looking forward to what I know lies ahead, but at least I only need ten items.
Boy Child: “Can we get a race car buggy can we get a race car buggy can we can we can we??”
1:41pm: Locate giant and unwieldy race car buggy, attempt to steer it into the door, run into sides of door several times. Meanwhile, boy child is in a constant, panicked repeat of “Putmein!Putmein!PutmeIN!”
Because it’s so like me to want the most inconvenient, inefficient, drastically reduced capacity buggy – just to let him watch me push it.
1:42pm: Boy child is secured and driving happily. Head to the produce section.
1:44pm: Cannot find pesto. Why wouldn’t pesto be near the herbs and guacamole? But no. I have to ask the strawberry stocker, who explains that the pesto is on the aisle with the oranges.
Of course it is.
1:48pm: Boy Child begins demanding to get out of the buggy. The ridiculously insanely inconvenient buggy that I got just for him. I say what any mother would. No freaking way.
1:50pm: Need cauliflower. WHAT THE CRAP. Cauliflower is $3.99 a head? Nobody even likes cauliflower! I’m basically doing cauliflower a favor by trying to cook it into my recipe and fool my family into thinking it’s not cauliflower. I should get a community service credit, not have to pay nearly eight dollars for the amount of cauliflower I need!
So I find the biggest most beefy heads of cauliflower in the store to justify this insane expense.
1:55pm: Try to get down the pasta aisle. A woman wearing leggings as pants has parked her buggy in the EXACT center of the aisle, and is on the other end of the aisle comparing brands of spaghetti. Her purse is sitting open on the top, so moving her buggy may make me look like a thief.
I don’t like looking like a thief.
I try to maneuver around it, but The Architect of All Publixes designs their aisles to the exact width to never allow this.
She finally looks up and realizes her abuse, and moves her buggy so I can continue on.
1:58pm: Boy child ramps up his demands for freedom. I finally let him out, telling him to stay near me.
He does not.
Girl Child, meanwhile, has noticed that candy is in every conceivable spot that her eyes could land, and is asking for each individual item. It’s as if the store designer measured the fifty-three inch height of my daughter and constructed the entire store around her being able to see all available in the entire universe that includes High Fructose Corn Syrup.
2:00pm: Boy child hooks onto the side of the buggy to ride – since he’s tired of walking. Making my already impossible job of steering into an Elite Olympic Sport.
2:01pm: I try to get sour cream, but another stocker is in the way. And my sour cream isn’t there, despite his restocking. I move on, vowing to come back in hopes that he finds some. He never offers to help.
2:02pm: Girl child forlornly asks if she can ride on the side of the buggy like her brother.
2:03pm: Encounter second person that has left their buggy directly in the middle of the aisle – they are not visible, so I do the moving for them, then manage to not scrape Boy Child’s back while squeezing past. Or at least not scrape it so hard that it bleeds through his shirt.
2:05pm: Head back to the produce to get what I missed. Boy Child takes this moment at the loose leafy vegetables to remember that he has an impressively juicy cough.
He walks up to the vegetables and leans over them so that he has better trajectory.
“Do NOT cough on the lettuce!”
The entire produce section turns and looks.
2:06pm: Boy child begs me to put him back in the buggy. His legs are so tired.
2:07pm: I try to leave the produce section, but a THIRD person has parked their buggy in The Impossible Spot, and on one aisle over, the strawberry stocking lady has now knocked over her load of strawberries, making the entire produce section my own personal Alcatraz.
I finally find the one exit in this Human Maze of Hell.
2:08pm: Boy child is so desperate to ride now that he has crawled up under the buggy and is sitting in the under basket.
I instruct him to get up. AND WALK.
2:09pm: Both children now think that it is their responsibility to pull my buggy. They each grab opposite ends of the front of the buggy and pull in opposite directions, creating a ten-foot berth and distressed shoppers at every intersection.
2:10pm: I try to get to the sandwich meats. Yet another clerk is restocking. IT’S 2:10PM, Publix. Restocking the entire store should happen at 2:10AM.
2:11pm: This reminds me that I needed to check back in on the sour cream. Restocking is still happening, my brand is still out, but I stand there, awkwardly close to the stocker, attempting to get another variety, but alas – he has perfected the art of blocking every canister of sour cream at once.
I say, “Excuse me – I’m going to grab that sour cream. I was waiting to see if you had the light variety…”
He ignores me, not offering to check his stocking cart or even move so that I don’t have to brush up against his chest to retrieve my dairy product.
2:13pm: We finally head to the check-out line, where I begin taking notes on this Trip to Remember. Leggings as Pants walks up behind me as I’m writing about her superior aisle blocking abilities.
Meanwhile, Girl Child is still begging for every item she sees (“Why don’t we ever buy Apple Jacks? Can I have Swedish Fish? I sure would like some more chocolate…”)
And Boy Child is still begging me to put him back in the buggy.
I realize that I’m never going to make it to the car with him out of the buggy, so I put him in, telling him in no uncertain terms that he cannot get out until we arrive at our car.
So he begins to sit on the side of the buggy. To spite me. To make me wish I had a fork to eat my own eyeball.
Meanwhile, Leggings as Pants is asking me questions about how the sales work.
“If it’s 3 for $5, do I have to buy three, or can I buy one?”
I assure her she can buy as many or as few as her heart desires and still get the deal, but she turns to the cashier and asks again – in case I’m lying to her, obvs.
The cashier agrees with me.
2:20pm: Boy child is performing Pommel Horse on the side of the buggy, begging to get down.
2:21pm: The groceries are all finally bagged and paid for, the bagger does not offer to help me to my car and won’t even make eye contact, and I literally run out of the store, hoping that Girl Child can keep up and that Boy Child sticks his landing, if he does fall.
2:25pm: Load the groceries into the car, notice that the buggy return is one aisle over, attempt to get to it when the blasted behemoth of a buggy gets stuck under my rearview mirror. AND IS STILL NEARLY SCRAPING THE CAR ON THE OTHER SIDE. Not because I’m a bad parker but because this buggy is wider than a full-sized Hummer.
2:26pm: I squeal out of the parking lot, simultaneously mentally cursing Publix and creating a business plan to start a Grocery Delivery Company.