Puny Arms and OSHA violations

Grocery Shopping Day today.

It rains or sleets or snows every single time I go shopping.  Every single time.  The only exception to the rule is during heat waves when it is 280 degrees and the ice cream melts.

I long for the day when my sons are strong enough to help me carry the groceries into the house.  They’re getting close.  This year they’re finally tall enough to carry the lighter bags without dragging them on the ground.

I once played a question game that asked, “If you could invent something, what would it be?”  My invention would be a robot or conveyor belt or transporter device that would take the groceries from the car into the house.

It’s not the endless trips back and forth from car to house (even though it means that there’ll be mud on the carpet from the rain, sleet, or snow.)  It’s the weight.  The bags are too heavy for my scrawny arms.  I walk on the treadmill, I don’t lift weights.  I have puny, toothpick arms.

Some bags are worse than others.  Right now, as I type this, I have a minor crick in my back because Janet bagged my bags too heavy.  She even said, “This one’ll be heavy,” about three different bags as I was hauling them up and over into the cart, feeling my muscle fibers pull apart like a cotton ball.

Why does Janet have to do that?   This is the second time I’ve been in her line and she’s overstuffed my bags.

See, I bring my own cloth bags with me.  I don’t do that because I’m particularly green.  I do that because the handles on the bags don’t dig into my hands like on those horrible little plastic bags.  And the cloth bags are quieter than the plastic bags.  I don’t like noise.

In fact, I don’t like noise so much that when I was a teenager I used to go to the Magazine section of the Catonsville library just for the silence.

(Wow, it’s all coming out:  Hanging out in the library.  Thick glasses.  Bad haircuts.  When I tell people I was a nerd, I mean it.  I wasn’t a cool person pretending I was a nerd.  I really was a nerd.)

The magazine section was in its own room in the basement of the library and it was so silent you could hear your ears ringing.  You’d have to turn the pages of the magazines reeeeal slowly so that they wouldn’t crackle, or you’d get dirty looks from the other people reading their magazines.

And heaven forbid you wanted one of the magazines deeper in the racks.  The magazines were on a special rack.  The racks display the face of each current magazine, and each shelf can flip up, like a breadbox, to show the older editions inside.

You’d better hope that your shelf wouldn’t squeak when it flipped.  If it did, you had a decision: open it slowly, letting the squeak be slow and gentle and maybe no one would notice, or get it over with in a single banshee-shriek squeak.   Sort of like opening a candy wrapper in church.  I’m on the side of ripping open the candy as fast as you can, so the noise is over and done with.  But I’ve sat by women (it’s always women, isn’t it?) who will fumble with that candy wrapper for 10 minutes.  And never even share.

What were we talking about?

Oh yeah, bagging.

So, I bring the cloth bags and they’re roomier and sturdier than the plastic bags.   And Janet asks, “Do you want your milk in a bag?” and I say, “Yes, two in a bag, please.”  And Janet does that, but she also adds the pound of butter and the big yogurt container and the hotdogs and then gives me her surgeon general warning about the weight.  Today, she not only overstuffed the milk bag, but she put all of the canned goods in one bag and she put the 5 pound bag of flour, big size Bisquick, two boxes of cake mix, two bottles of spaghetti sauce, and both V8 bottles in a single bag.

I’m never going to Janet’s line again.

Like I don’t go to Nancy’s line anymore.

When I put my items on the conveyor belt, I sort them how I want them bagged.  I’m not OCD about it, but I generally want all the cold stuff together and the fruit together and the eggs and bread at the end.

But Nancy wouldn’t put stuff into the bags as it came through.  No, she would hold back the cans until the tomatoes were rung up, and then put the cans with the tomatoes and the bread.  Squished tomatoes and flat bread!  Or the milk with the roasted chicken.  Cold chicken!  Curdled milk!

No more going to Nancy’s line.

One benefit to shopping alone at night in the rain: treats.  I accidentally walked down the Valentine’s Day Candy aisle and I got myself a little $1 box of chocolates.  I ate them all in the car on the way home and didn’t even have to share.

(Is that rain next to the box of chocolates?  Or drool?)

Star Trek Episode of the day: The Trouble with Tribbles.

Watched on tv while cooking/cleaning the kitchen: episodes of Jericho


12 thoughts on “Puny Arms and OSHA violations

  1. When I used to do all the shopping and cooking I had the conveyor belt order down to a science. And I’d whip out my recycled bags and start bagging as fast as I could to maintain the integrity of like with like. (That sounds a little segregationist. I should hope it doesn’t get taken out of grocery context out in the big bad Internet.) Anyway, The checker always made a show of thanking me for bagging, but really I was thinking, “it’s only because you can’t be trusted with my things.” (Wow, this entire post could be taken out of context!”) Now, though, I’m out of the habit, and usually stand there stupidly, watching the checker throw tomato sauce on top of the eggs and vaguely wondering if that’s the industry standard. Them decide it’ll be Rob’s problem in the end and just go back to reading the covers of Soap Opera Weekly and People and trying to decide whether to buy gum.

    • What, you admit you read the covers of Soap Opera Weekly and People? I make a point of hmph-ing at those covers and then sanctimoniously flip through Time Magazine.

      Someone ought to do a sociological study of people standing in grocery store lines.

      • I decided I should marry Rob almost entirely because he reads the covers of People with me and totally encourages me to buy one now & then. He also watched The Guiding Light in the 80s too. I like a man who can enjoy pop culture trash almost as much as I do.

  2. the Trouble with Tribbles was my favorite Star Trek episode growing up! I’m not especially a fan, but my mom is and she forced us to watch it. okay, she didn’t force us, but when the tv is on, who can look away?

  3. I feel for you. I just had some teenage boy tell me my insulated grocery bag was falling apart. I smiled and said, “Yes, it looks bad but it still works.” Then he proceeded to put two 1/2 gallons of milk, at least two pounds of cheese, a large container of yogurt, six bags of frozen broccoli, sour cream and four pounds of butter in the bag. Duh…no wonder my bag looks horrible. I like baggging but I can’t do that and try to keep tabs on the prices and that she took off all the coupons while trying to manage three children who are DONE at the store. Yes, grocery shopping is not an experience for the faint at heart and have not yet talked to their doctor before starting such an intense weight lifting experience.

  4. Jackie, your blog gives me something to look forward to every morning. I do hate grocery shopping in the rain, but I do like going in cold weather because I can make other stops on my way home and not worry about things melting in the trunk. Jo-Ann, I know what you mean about bagging your own stuff. I wonder if they bag their own groceries the same way they bag ours. Hmmmmm. These grocery store clerks just don’t have a personal relationship with the bread or eggs going into my bag, so I have to protect it.

  5. “Could you only put 3 bottles of seltzer in a bag?”
    “No,not 3 bottles plus milk,plus V-8,plus 5 cans of Progresso soup!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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