Turned Loose With A List In The Grocery

Published 12:00 am Thursday, March 15, 2012

One of the dividends of marriage is that I no longer do the grocery shopping. I readily yielded that chore to Elizabeth when we returned from the honeymoon, and my old friends at the supermarket no longer know my name.
They once did.
The bookkeeper — tired of deciphering my checks — chased me down once and told me, “Dwight, you’ve got the worst handwriting of all our customers.”
Another shopper might have been offended. I knew she was right. My handwriting has a herky-jerky style resembling cuneiform. That’s why I type.
Elizabeth sent me to the grocery with a list over the weekend — one of the few times in six years I’ve been sent on a buying mission.
I could get whatever I wanted. I could pick out the cereal. The yogurt flavor. The color of apples. The bread. The toilet paper.
I wandered up and down the aisles examining prices and looking at all the stuff. Fat bagels, thin bagels, tiny bagels of various flavors. A dozen varieties of apples.
I’m a sucker for a bargain, and I had to resist jumping at every chance to save 11 cents on the price of rice, detergent and grape juice.
That wasn’t on the list, and I vowed to control my impulses lest I need two carts.
If you don’t think this is a great nation, visit a grocery store. It is amazing what’s on the shelves from every corner of the globe. Without government help, private grocers keep the shelves brim full of produce and thousands of varieties of food. I fancy that Wal-Mart, Food Lion, Lowes Foods and Harris-Teeter could do a better job delivering basic government services than the government.
The grocery store is as wonderful as Disney World. Children could study their geography lessons there.
“Edam” cheese from Holland regularly pops up in crossword puzzles, and I’ve wanted to try some. But it’s $17 a pound. I’ll keep wondering how wonderful it is.
I spent a half-hour on the cereal aisle. I thought long and hard about a fancy oatmeal from Scotland that was 24 cents off. We eat oatmeal only in the dead of winter, and Quaker Oats was half the price. I coveted jellies from France.
I averted my eyes on the ice cream aisle, remembering my waistline, but I was disappointed that popsicles weren’t on sale.
I found myself buying exactly what Elizabeth buys, following the list pretty closely. Same yogurt. Same bread. Same apples. But I did go wild on the soup aisle. I bought …