My Visit to the Supermarket.

I often promise myself that i will limit my supermarket shopping to once a week. Making this resolution is becoming a super easy feat, merely because i make it (and then break it) ever so often. The constant practice of resolving this ensures that each time i make the resolution, there is not much soul-searching to go through. Ok, so to come back to the fine point, this resolution once made, now has to be lived up to. The first few weeks after the resolution has been made sees me frantically making long drawn-out lists just before my visit to the supermarket. The lists look amazingly neat and tidy in the first flush of this new resolution, ranging thereafter from haphazard to untidy to absolutely illegible. And so, armed with my list that covers every item i will require during the week, be it laundry detergent or enough milk cartons to see us through the week or enough fruit to make my fruit platter seem like what it is designed for rather than an empty decorative table piece( which it often resembles!), I march into the supermarket.

With my list tucked in the pocket of my jeans, I feel very smug as i push my trolley, watching other shoppers looking harried and confused as they pause in the aisles and stare into space, trying valiantly (and often in vain) to remember what that supremely important ingredient was that they simply had to get today. No more of that confused shopping for me. I had joined the ranks of the glorious ‘List’ people. The ‘List’  people never forget a single ingredient ever again when they go shopping. For, after all, isn’t every single item required for the week noted in that gorgeous list? Some items are even underlined twice to outline their supremacy in the ‘how important are you’ game that every self-respecting shopper must indulge in before leaving home for the supermarket. And so, i glide around in methodical order, moving seamlessly from one aisle to the next, neatly stacking the non-persishables first, then moving on to the fruit and vegetables section, and finally to the freezer shelves to get the ice-creams and assorted desserts without which life has little meaning.

This smugness lasts for about four weeks and a sum total of four very planned and supremely executed shopping expeditions. What happens after that is anyone’s guess. I wake up one morning, and think to myself, “Since i have a million and one things to do today of great importance, like pondering the meaning of life, thinking out solutions for the current global economic downslide etc etc…”, i will simply pop into the supermarket and get some bread and milk. The big shop can be left for some other day. And so i march again  into the supermarket, this time looking and feeling less smug and less pleased with myself. The only confident act is placing the bread and milk into my trolley, because i could lead myself blindfolded to those aisles. After that, there is a moment of confusion, as i join the ranks of ‘blank-eyed people staring into space’ wondering if there is anything else i can buy now that i have made all this effort to come here. All around me, strutting confidently, are the List people, waving their tightly packed Lists in the air as they tick off each item placed into the trolley. I watch them with a sense of growing dislike, obviously a severe case of sour grapes on my part. How can they be so super organised all the time?

The blank look from my eyes vanishes as i see the juice cartons beckoning me with their “two for the price of one” tag. Oh, the kids love this juice, and they adore taking it for morning tea to school. Therefore, I simply MUST buy it. In go the juice cartons into my so far empty trolley (well, except for the loyal bread and milk carton of course). I push the trolley with leaden steps, because i am not really sure which way to turn, no longer being armed with the comforting List which would point me constantly in the right direction. All along, the ‘nose-up-in-the-air’ List people are pushing past me, impatient with whoever blocks their blazing trail towards their next List Item. I shuffle along until i see the a new kind of chocolate biscuit that has been introduced recently. Aha, now, we haven’t tasted that one before, and it would go so well with my early morning cup of coffee. In go a couple of packets. With increasing and alarming frequency, i begin to see all the items that are ‘on special’ this week. The laundry detergent is half price today. Oh, i simply MUST buy it. The kids shampoos are ‘buy one, get one free’. Surely i cannot let go of this golden opportunity? They are even selling pillows, for goodness sake, with tags that scream out ” Fantastic offer. Selling like hot cakes”. So in go a couple of pillows, although if i add a single more pillow to our bed, we will no longer need a mattress to sleep on, the pillows should do nicely, thank you.

After half an hour ( I had only wandered in for ‘just’ bread and milk), i walk to the check-out register, more mentally exhausted than anything else. The trolley is practically groaning under the weight of all these things i hadn’t really set out to buy. Once i have paid and walked out, certainly many dollars lighter, I resolve that next time, i will transform once again into a Lists person. That way i can only focus on buying what i set out to buy in the first place. Do you really believe i can stick to my resolve? No prizes for guessing that one 😉

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