One of the many chores in our lives, unless you have a housekeeper or a mom at your service, is the need to shop for our daily bread and other trifles at the local market. Shopping can be a chore, but it also is an opportunity to look into the lives of those shopping around us.
On a recent trip to the market, it was impossible to stand on a checkout line where people had few items in their carts. Even
though a serious winter storm was predicted, the store had only three lines out of 10 open for checking out. Seeking out my favorite checker, a man known to us as Tim, I found myself behind a large woman with a cart overburdened with stuff. So, to while away the time spent while Tim assured himself that a woman in front of us had the required coupons, I examined her cart.
What was she shopping for, I asked myself in several moments of somewhat idle thought. I speculated as I eyed the items:
Three cases of three different kinds of soda
Frozen ravioli and lasagna noodles
Two dozen rolls
Five different types of cakes, cookies and other baked goods
Three large bottles of prepared spaghetti sauce
Five different types of candy
A large bag of small red peppers
Five boxes of various pastas
Four cans of crushed tomatoes
One dozen pork chops
Four large bags of chips
A huge can of ground coffee
For whom was she shopping? I reviewed prior shopping trips I’d seen people make at mental health centers. Whoever she had in mind, they liked sweets, high carbohydrate items and weren’t so concerned about nutrition. Was it her family, a meeting of a young sports group or a supervised housing place? No true clue, but it seemed like it might be for a younger group or she and her family just threw caution regarding nutrition to the wind. This was her pre-storm shopping trip.
The young Hispanic women behind me had a cart totally different from this woman. Their cart had:
Kosher grape juice
Matzo (5 lbs. free with coupon)
Two small packages of chicken
Matzo ball mix
One package of kosher macaroons
A small bunch of bananas
A holiday was coming and they, obviously, were shopping for someone who wanted to prepare foods for it. Totally different and a seeming disregard, or lack of knowledge, regarding the storm. I wondered if the person they were shopping for should have had more in the way of items to sit out a storm. It concerned me, but I didn’t intervene.
The other interesting thing I noted was that the store had created a large display, in front of the checkouts, of 20 lb. bags of rock salt at a great price. I didn’t see anyone buying it. They were more intent on purchasing the three cases of spring water that was on sale and almost every cart had this item in it, except, of course, the woman in front of me. She could barely push her cart as it was.
My turn came, Tim quickly checked me out, the young man at the foot of the conveyor belt bagged my items and I was off. But I was still wondering who that woman in front of me had shopped for. Oh, well, hope they enjoyed all of it. She saved over $60 with her coupons and admitted she bought one item only because “I had a coupon.”