Column: For a confused man, shopping is a baffling ordeal

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 25, 2001

My wife, The Queen B, had made sure I had a little spending money in my pocket and that there was enough gas in my pickup.

Wednesday, April 25, 2001

My wife, The Queen B, had made sure I had a little spending money in my pocket and that there was enough gas in my pickup. I had been working out on the Nordic Track – 3 hours a day for 8 months in preparation. While I exercised, I listened to tapes of the world’s greatest philosophers and thinkers. She had prepared me both mentally and physically for the task ahead.

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She was sending me to one of our fine supermarkets. I don’t usually go shopping. I shop when my wife takes me shopping. I have been known to go years without saying, &uot;I’m going shopping.&uot;

I drove to the store, while listening to motivational tapes in my pickup. I entered the store striding the earth like a Colossus. I saw a huge room filled with bright displays, countless shoppers and many dangerous, high speed shopping carts. Intercoms blared as people rushed by in a helter-skelter fashion. I tried not to show fear, but the flop sweat gathering on my upper lip gave me away. People that work in stores can sense fear.

I sighed a lot. I saw a number of kids crying. I joined them. Welcome to the wonderful world of shopping. They know me in this store. They affectionately refer to me as &uot;Clean Up In Aisle Eight.&uot; My wife had given me a shopping list, but I lost it somewhere between the Batt Cave and the store. She puts a lot of thought into these lists, making sure we eat just the right amounts of the proper foods. I should have been worried that I had lost this list. After all, a shopping list is more important to a shopping-impaired husband than a treasure map is to a pirate.

It was no problem. This has happened to me before. I used to throw a tantrum when this happened, but no more. I found the answer. I did as I always do in this situation. I followed another guy pushing a shopping cart around. I made sure I was following a guy who had a list. Then I just put the same stuff he bought into my cart. It is a simple plan, but it works.

Speaking of shopping carts, there needs to be an operator’s license issued to people pushing these things. This license would require the completion of behind-the-cart training and an eye exam. It would save a lot of wear and tear on my shins. There should be stop signs placed at each one of those currently uncontrolled intersections in stores. Why there are not more deaths caused by shopping cart accidents is beyond me. And another thing: The stores all play music – music to shop by. They should play marches, so we would all march right in, buy our stuff and march right out.

One of the things I was supposed to get was the biggest turkey I could find. My wife had sent the biggest turkey she could find to find the biggest turkey he could find. I checked over a bunch of the frozen fowl, but couldn’t find any big enough. I asked one of the store’s employees, &uot;Do these turkeys get any bigger?&uot; &uot;No, sir,&uot; he replied. &uot;They are all dead.&uot;

I survived my shopping experience – a better, but more nervous man for the ordeal. I came home with a few extra items. You can never have too much food. Somebody famous said that … I think it was John Candy. I almost bought some pork rinds. I’ve never tried the things. They look disgusting, so they are probably very good. I searched for Krispy Kremes, a cruller good enough to be a member of HOLE – the Honorable Order of Leavened Edibles. Remember that the doughnut hole is nothing more than a breakfast chad.

My wife inspected my purchases. She discovered that I had forgotten the turkey, but I had come home with 24 slabs of beef jerky, 14 different kinds of tea, 5 pounds of cinnamon bears, two dozen fried rolls, a box of White Castle hamburgers, 33 oranges, a industrial-sized bag of Raisin Bran, 6 cans of Spam, 4 cans of chili, 10 cans of vegetable beef soup and 49 little things of yogurt too many. For some unknown reason, The Queen B had neglected to put these on my list. Or at least I think she had forgotten – after all, I had lost the list.

&uot;You bought all of this?&uot; asked my lovely bride.

&uot;Yes,&uot; I replied. &uot;But you should see all the stuff I left in the store.&uot;

Hartland resident Al Batt writes columns for the Wednesday and Sunday editions of the Tribune.