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Friday, March 3, 2006

Eggs on the bottom, please

My weekly jaunt to the Grocery store occurs on Friday mornings. Kiss the wife goodbye as she leaves for work, drink a cup of coffee, and I'm ready to go. I grab the kid, throw her in the car seat, jam a few Cheerios in her mouth and hit the road.

When I get to the supermarket, I grab the most functional cart I can find. This is no easy task. Most off them look like they were parked in front of a house during a drive by shooting. Eventually, I find a cart, throw the kid in and head inside.

Okay. time to pull out my Grocery List. One dozen eggs. No problem. Pick up the first carton and get yolk on my hand. Set that one aside. Pick up the next carton - hmm, six broken eggs. Okay, grab the next one...date on the carton is last Tuesday. Another - 6 broken eggs. 6+6 = a Dozen, right? Okay. I Frankenstein together a carton with 12 good eggs that didn't expire last Tuesday. Perfect.

Onto the milk...first one I grab expires three days from now. So all of a sudden I'm that schmuck on the floor in the middle of the aisle - the guy pulling carton after carton of milk out trying to find one container that doesn't turn sour in 3 days. I find it all the way in the back where I can see into the Storage Room. Some douchebag is sitting on the other side of the fridge smoking a cigarette. He gives me a nod. Thanks for the help, dude.

Next, I stroll up the Baking aisle to get some flour, corn meal and sugar. Make sure I flirt with the hot mom buying seasoning. Say something cool: "That tastes great in a Burgundy sauce." Oh yeah. Still got it.

Grab some beer. Same hot mom that was giving me the "Eye" back in the baking section just shook her head and walked away. Hmm. Guess she saw me put the Hamms 24-pack in the cart next to the kid.

Finally I've filled the cart with a week's worth of groceries and it's time to check out. This is where the fun begins. I get all the individual items onto the conveyer belt. Above the cashier is a sign that reads: "If I fail to 1) Greet you, 2) Offer you today's special or 3) Offer you help getting the groceries to your car, then please inform the manager and you will receive a free loaf of Garlic Bread."

It might was well have the words "Please excuse our cashiers. They are mentally challenged." written on it.

Okay, every week I test them on these 3 simple courtesies. They are running at about a 75% success rate.

1) Greet me - "(Mumble mumble) or plastic (incoherent sound)?" In the middle of the greeting, one of the pimples on his face bursts. I guess that's a greeting. Strike One. Two more strikes and no garlic bread.

2) Offer me today's Special - (Mumbling under breath) "Today we are offering these celery flavored toothpicks for $2.99 a box." Honestly, it was such an uninspired delivery that I don't remember what the product was. Before I can open my mouth to respond, he gives me the total amount due and asks how I would like to pay. Still, he did offer me the toothpicks. The fact that he didn't actually intend to sell them is irrelevant. Strike Two.

3) Ask me if I need help getting the groceries to my car - All of the plastic bags are piled in my cart and my purchase is complete. This is the part of the experience I call the "Egg Hunt." It's similar to an Easter Egg hunt, only a lot less rewarding. Chances are, if I wasn't watching closely, the bagger put the eggs on the bottom of the cart and piled all the groceries on top of them. While I am searching, the checker mumbles "Would you like some help out to your car, sir?" Searching feverishly, I turn to ask him where the hell my eggs are only to find that he's already ringing up the next customer. Oh well. He still asked. Strike Three. No garlic bread this time.

Inevitably, something falls off the cart on the way out. I can't imagine why. Maybe it's because they stack the bags in the cart like they're stacking Jenga pieces. Thank you unnamed Grocery store chain. You're doing a great job!

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