I hate grocery stores.
Ok, not all grocery stores. Not the Mom and pop corner grocery store that has ten dollar boxes of Kraft dinner, tins of expired cat food, and a lottery counter that lights up and plays Luck Be A Lady Tonight every time you check your official Star Wars: The Phantom Menace scratch and win ticket. I love those places, because you know exactly what to expect when you walk into one.
No, I hate the new Mega Massive Mighty Market that takes up seventy-four football fields, has pallets of goods that are 24 feet high, and smells like contact cement.
I hate those places.
I’ll explain why.
When you arrive at the mammoth parking lot, you already know you’re in trouble. You run into the poor souls who are coming back from their Mega Massive Mighty Market shopping experience. Tired, haggard, shells of their former selves with a hollow stare in their eyes as if they have just witnessed horrors of an apocalyptic nature. Shopping carts laden with over sized boxes of diapers, cases of Disney shaped noodles in tomato sauce, and a forty eight pack of toilet paper. Small children in tow, clutching a new Pixar Plush Potatohead and proclaiming in a shrill soprano “No Mommy, No. I wanted the Buzz Lightyear with the exploding missile launcher WHAAAA!!!”
You encounter waves upon waves of these haunted consumers, until you finally reach the front of the store twenty minutes later.
The Mega Massive Mighty Market storefront greets you like the monolith from 2001 A Space Odyssey complete with the monkeys who have just learned new survival instincts. The automatic doors whoosh open and a wall of super-cooled air blows out and pushes itself up the legs of your pants and freezes your nether regions. Large multi-coloured advertisements proclaim that Mega Massive Mighty Market’s Money Management is better than the bank you have now, season 6 of Full House is now available on DVD, and if you act now you can save fifty cents on a forty pound block of cheddar flavoured cheese (Limit 2).
By this time your resolve is strained, but you continue into the yawning maw that is the Mega Massive Mighty Market, passing a 90 year old greeter who wishes to know if you want to sign up for the store credit card, while secretly thinking that if he hadn’t invested all of his money 40 years ago into something called 8-Tracks, he could be on a beach somewhere in the Caribbean instead of pandering to the Mega Massive Mighty Market milieu.
After the greeter, the first thing that grabs your eye is the amazing price on Kraft Dinner… IF you buy a case of seventy two. You put three cases in your cart, and move on, right into the display of sixteen gallon buckets of huckleberry jam that include a mail in coupon for an extra special huckleberry jam spreader that can be yours with six proof of purchase lables from Mega Massive Mighty Market Huckleberry Flavoured Sugar Paste™, and thirty seven dollars for postage and handling.
This trend continues for the next forty five minutes as you traverse aisle after aisle and pick up ridiculous amounts of product that you couldn’t possibly use up in your lifetime, try out some undercooked samples of over-processed meat snacks, and partake in a 20 minute survey about how delightful your shopping experience is (which enters you into a draw for a trip to Melita for the grand opening of the Melita Mega Massive Mighty Market in March).
Two hours later, you find yourself in the toothpaste aisle, lost, staring at the ceiling, trying desperately to remember what it was that brought you to the Mega Massive Mighty Market in the first place.
You decide to seek out a staff member to ask for some help, but all you find are slack jawed teenagers who answer your questions with blank stares and drool, because the only reason they took this job was because their boyfriend/girlfriend, who just recently dumped them, works here too.
After about an hour, you finally find a middle aged staff member who can help you find your way back to the cashiers, and like a Sherpa guide, she leads you to the fifty-seven cashier aisles, three of which are open.
You can almost taste your freedom as you line up.
Thirty minutes later, the elderly woman in front of you is arguing with the cashier about the correct price on no-name brand asprin cream, and you find yourself reading the various sensationalistic headlines on the magazines. “Oprah Winfry eats a kitten”, and “Lady Gaga to marry Robert Pattinson”, and “Eating too much Mega Massive Mighty Market Huckleberry Flavoured Sugar Paste™ may cause insanity”.
You are so drawn into the magazines that you don’t notice that it’s your turn and the person behind you yells “HEY!! MOVE IT!” Embarrassed, you throw the eighteen dollar magazine that you’re reading into your cart.
Once you pay the four hundred and sixty two dollar tab, you make your way back to the parking lot and the oppressive heat or mind numbing cold (there is no middle ground) that comes off of the pavement. You frantically search for your vehicle, looking down one row after another of SUVs and minivans. You notice that some people are staring at you as they pass, giving you the same look that you gave others a few hours ago as you were heading in and saying “Oh my, you poor thing”. Thirty-five minutes later, you find your car and load it right to the roof, hoping that the six-liter tub of banana flavoured frozen yogurt hasn’t melted.
And as you escape the clutches of the Mega Massive Mighty Market you finally remember that it was a prescription for your life saving heart medicine that brought you here in the first place, but you DO NOT CARE! You’re going home to rest up before your next visit.
Maybe the Mom and Pop place on the corner has some expired Norvasc behind the counter…