I see food shopping as a socio-economic experience.
It definitely sucks - no one wants to go food shopping. Especially if you are on a budget. In my humble opinion, being forced to adhere to a budget when buying food is the ultimate in self degradation. The ultimate proof of failure to succeed in life.
Eating is one of the few pleasures you are allowed in life as a low wage earner. You can't afford to go out to eat, can't go to the movies, to the theater, to concerts; can't travel, can't buy nice clothes or Italian shoes. You got nothing - no release, no way to escape the truth that life has beaten you down and robbed you of all dignity (except for alcohol and drugs - thank fucking Christ for alcohol and drugs).
Your life sucks. It constricts you, it bores you. So you should eat whatever the fuck you want to. Whatever food makes you happy, whatever it is that creates satisfaction for you to chow as you destroy your brain watching mindless TV - you should be allowed to eat that.
Period. No budgets, no fucking coupons, no restrictions, no guilt.
Life doesn't work that way. We all have food budgets. We all eat shit instead of eating Porterhouse steaks.
But I digress.
So food shopping sucks. But it is also an interesting commentary on humanity and on marriage/relationships.
Carol and I shop every two or three weeks - we got it down to a fucking science. Load up a couple of carts, pile 'em high so we can avoid repeating the experience for as long as possible. I handle the mundane stuff that takes up room - water, kitty litter, cat snacks, toilet paper, kleenex, stuff for me - like beer, munchies and mini packages of Fig Newtons, baby - gotta have the Fig Newtons.
I breeze through the register, run all that shit out to the car and head back in to the store. I search the aisles for Carol; we complete our mission together.
Conversing, questioning each other, making decisions, discussing inventory.
I have noticed that everyone around us is having the same conversations. It fascinates me because I believe the human experience is a shared one, which is why I will never understand the maximum violence and deep seated hatred in the world.
Food shopping is one proof - a quite reliable and accurate one - that we are all the same.
I eaves drop. When I am around a couple having a shopping related conversation, I tune right in. Because they are having the same exact conversation Carol and I just had or will have at some point during the drill.
Wondering how much of this we have at home, how does the store brand price compare to the name brand price and what about quality, is it cheaper to buy two boxes of 20 trash bags each on sale than one box of 40 trash bags not on sale? What do you want for supper tonight? Do you want fruit? You never eat it anyway - it always goes bad. How many yogurts do you need to get through the next couple of weeks? You haven't been eating the string cheese regularly, maybe we should hold off on that this week. What kind of bread do you want? Do we need hot dog rolls? How many hot dogs are left in the freezer?
The discussions are the same, the thought processes are the same, the lives being lived are the same.
Mannerisms too. Men hang back more, or wander around checking stuff out; and they have less patience.
Definitely less patience.
Women are more pragmatic - digging right in and doing what needs to be done, crossing items off the list, eternally aware of the budget.
I am always amused when it comes to the purchase of toilet paper. You have two couples standing close by each other debating the merits. Do we want ultra strong or super soft? A six pack of mega rolls or 24 pack of regular rolls? Do the mega rolls fit on the toilet paper dispenser? Do we need any for the downstairs bathroom? How about no name - do you think that will be good enough?
It amuses me because this is a deeply personal area of our lives, one we do not make a big deal out of or generally discuss in public. Yet in a supermarket we engage in open debate about which toilet paper will best service our ass.
We are all equal in the supermarket. We are all equal in more ways than we will ever fucking admit.
Pay attention the next time you go food shopping. Maybe it will soften up your intolerance a bit.
If not, at least treat yourself to a fucking Porterhouse steak.