I would rather go to the dentist and get a root canal before going to the grocery store, but sometimes there are major emergencies, such as running low on beer, that necessitate a trip.
The other week I had one of these emergencies. The plan was to go in, grab the beer and get out as soon as possible. The plan failed miserably.
I had the beer in hand and should have headed straight for the check-out counter, but the devil spoke in my ear and asked, “Wouldn’t it be nice to get some nuts to go along with that beer?”
I headed to the aisle where you can scoop candy or nuts out of bins. Everything appeared to be going well. I found the beer nuts that I wanted and it seemed that I would be able to get them and escape without any problems. I was half way filling my bag when I noticed the kid.
He was at the opposite end of the aisle making his way toward me by opening up a bin, sticking his hand in, grabbing a handful of whatever candy happens to be in that bin, taking it out and shoving it into his mouth at which point he opens up the next candy bin — rinse, wash, repeat.
At this point I’m thinking I should just ignore the entire situation and get the hell out of there because nothing good is going to come from me watching this kid and thinking about how he is sticking his hand into his mouth and then back into the bins again. At that moment, the kid lets out a tremendous sneeze.
Even from a distance I could see the yellow, gooey mucous stream out his nose as it hung on the edge of his lip. He took his hand and wiped it from his face and in another swift motion, onto the pants he was wearing. He’d obviously had much practice at this. Then it was back to sticking his hands into the candy bins as he continued his quest to contaminate every single one of them.
I look at my half filled bag of beer nuts and decide that they really didn’t seem nearly as appetizing as they did a few minutes before. I decided to dump the half filled bag back into the bin and chalk the entire incident up to experience and one more reason why it’s never good to go shopping at the grocery store. As I was doing this, I hear an angry mother telling the kid to stop eating all the candy.
The mother came down the aisle and tells the kid to pick just one type of candy. He chooses chocolate covered malt balls and she begins to fill the bag. At this point I have already abandoned my bid to get beer nuts and I know that a quick retreat with my beer will be in my best interest, but I fail to yield to common sense.
Furthermore, failing to follow common sense to retreat, I know what I should do is yell at the mother for letting her child run around the store unsupervised and eating whatever he damn well pleases while putting his slobbery, snotty hands into all of the bins. Common sense failed to win the day once, so why should it be any different the second time? Instead, I try to be civil in this situation. (Note to self: being civil is highly overrated)
“Excuse me,” I say. “You know that your kid has been been sticking his hands into all the candy bins for the last 5 minutes and taking out handfuls.”
The lady gives me one of those “well, who the hell do you think you are?” snobbish looks, face contorted to make it known that even speaking to me is well below her level. She places her hands on her hips and says, “You obviously don’t have kids. Look, the supermarket knows that kids do this and expects it. It’s not a big deal.”
Walk away, walk away, walk away I can hear my brain pleading. Take the beer, get out of the store and enjoy the rest of the afternoon. Chalk it up to another reason that I should never venture into a grocery store and learn from the lesson. But of course, I can’t leave it alone.
The fact that both the kid and the mom think it’s okay to take candy out of the bins and eat it without paying for it bothers me, but the fact that the kid was doing it with filthy hands was even more of a concern. “I don’t think it’s as much an issue of him eating the candy as that it’s unsanitary,” I say, trying to remain civil.
The woman glares at me. “He’s just a kid. Get over it,” she says and turns back to scooping out more chocolate covered malt balls.
At this point I realize that there is only one thing I can do short of hitting this lady upside the head to knock some sense into her.
“I understand,” I say, sticking my finger up my nose and begin digging away. The lady looks at me like I’m nuts as she takes a step back. After digging for a few seconds, I grab the plastic bag of chocolate covered malt balls that she is holding, stick my recently prospecting finger into it and even swirl it around a bit just for fun.
“What the hell is wrong with you!” she screams. “That’s disgusting!”
“My point exactly,” I say handing her back the bag of chocolate covered malt balls as I walk away.
It is situations like this that make me wonder why anyone would choose to go shopping over having their groceries delivered to their home? There are many reasons I choose to have my groceries delivered (I get free delivery in my area, no impulse purchases, it saves me time and no gas costs to name a few), but I would be lying if I didn’t say that avoiding people like this woman and her son rank quite high on that list.
Oh, and the next time you feel the urge to buy candy or nuts out of those bins, don’t forget to think about all the kids’ hands that have recently been in there. That should save you a buck or two.
Image courtesy of Sabine01