When I was growing up, my mom went to get groceries – period. On occasion, the kids would go but typically got left in the car – something that would, in today’s day and age, have her thrown in jail and all of us put into foster care. Our “jobs,” while in the car, were to not kill each other, not touch anything that could possibly start the engine or make the vehicle move and keep the noise level low enough that we didn’t draw negative attention our way.
Now that I’m all grown up, one of my enjoyments in life is to grocery shop – or at least it used to be. I love to cook, love trying new recipes and, when time allowed me to do it at my leisure, which wasn’t very often, I thoroughly enjoyed shopping for food.
But for some reason, the grocery store has become a family “destination,” almost like a day trip to the movies or beach. I don’t know if it’s because you can’t leave your kids in the car anymore without legal repercussions (they can certainly be left at home after a certain age or in the car with another parent.) or if it’s just another way that today’s moms and dads show the world how dedicated they are, i.e., “I obviously love my kids more than you love yours because they are with me at all times.” Regardless, it’s a nuisance to others as we try to maneuver the already crowded aisles and find what we’re looking for.
When you come upon the “grocery family,” they are hard to miss. They’re either in a single file or spread completely across the aisle. They’re either moving at a glacial pace or running around like they’re playing touch football and there’s always at least 4 or 5 of them in the group, sometimes more. Nobody other than the “leader” is contributing in any way whatsoever. Nobody is helping put things in the cart, taking part of the list and going off to retrieve something or helping mind to the younger kids. There is often a useless spouse in the mix who appears to have the social skills of a 9-month old. The leader is often seen struggling to keep things moving while disciplining one of the younger groupies. Most times, the babies are crying, the toddlers are fighting and the teenagers appear stoned. Oh, and they inevitably stop in every section that you are trying to browse.
So until things change, I’ll guess I’ll take grocery shopping off of my list of things to do to unwind and relax. You can’t have a glass of wine while doing it anyway and the music is really bad.