Either the universe is trying to tell me something, or Ashton Kutcher is following me around with his Punk’D crew. Whenever I walk into a grocery store, some sort of awkward BS ensues. Perhaps I am not supposed to go grocery shopping. Maybe I’m supposed to send my husband or my son out for everything and just stay on my couch throne with my cat and watch Shameless all the live long day. NAH! If I did that I wouldn’t have such fabulous stories to share.
So, today my son and I were out running errands, which included buying taco fixings and liquor. Because it is Friday, ya know. So, since we prefer one-stop shopping, we went to the only grocery store in our hood that also sells liquor. We do not normally shop at this store, and today I was reminded why.
We walked through the produce section, stopping to pick up lettuce, and then all the way to the back of the store, where the official liquor section is. As soon as we were about to enter the liquor section, we were greeted by a tall (I think she was tall, but I’m five foot nothing so everyone is tall to me) blonde woman wearing a store name tag. She looked me up and down and then looked over at my son. I thought she was going to tell me that he could not come in with me because he is not 21. He is at the unfortunate age of 20 and a half. Some stores won’t even allow underage people through the door. So, I was waiting for her to ID him. Instead, she greeted us warmly.
“How are you?” She said in a booming voice.
I said fine and asked how she was.
She said fine and kept standing at the entrance to the liquor section, staring at me. She would not move. She told me she was reorganizing the liquor. She kept standing there.
I said, “Oh. OK. Well, I will be quick. I know exactly what I need.”
“Mama doesn’t judge,” she said.
I laughed a little because I thought she was joking and because I laugh in uncomfortable situations. I took a step forward and she still didn’t move. Finally, I squeezed between her and a box of riesling and headed for the vodka, leaving my son to figure out how to get past her with our cart. I guess she stepped out of the way because my son got in. Since, I was focused on the vodka and not my man-child, as all good mothers would be, I did not see her actually move.
I grabbed a bottle of vanilla Absolut and put it in our cart. I told my son to just stay there rather than try to maneuver the cart around the small liquor section. Mama walked from the vodka aisle over to the scotch section, two rows over.
I told her, “I need three bottles then I will be out of your way.”
She said, “Oh mama doesn’t judge!” She spoke like she was straight out of a Tyler Perry movie. Plus, I was starting to feel like she was judging, but I didn’t really care.
Then, she continued talking to my son and me, all the while referring to herself as Mama. I hadn’t heard anyone who is not a puppet on Sesame Street do this so consistently since Bob Dole ran for president. By the way, did you know that people who refer to themselves in the third person are called illeists? It actually has a name! And here I was just calling them assholes, but I digress. Let’s get back to Mama.
As she continued on her Mama monologue, my first thought was, “Did she mix up her day and night allergy meds?” The pollen count has been high.
Then I thought, “No. She’s been sampling the goods.” This led me to one of the best ideas I have ever had, “Maybe I should get a job at a liquor store!”
I grabbed the Fireball from the end cap by the vodka, and then I headed to the scotch section, which was where Mama was stocking. I just wanted to get out of there quickly, so I grabbed the scotch that she was currently putting on the shelf, as there was a bunch of it stacked on a cart in front of the entire scotch section. It was a HUGE bottle of 12-year-old Glenlivet. So, NOT cheap.
“Mama is a Jack Daniel’s girl!” she announced, as I grabbed the scotch. Somehow, this was not surprising. I couldn’t quite picture Mama savoring some Glenlivet by the fire. I was willing to bet that Mama had put Jack in her coffee before coming to work. Maybe she had some sort of Jack Daniels pump that continuously monitored her blood alcohol level and pumped Jack in her system to keep her at Mama level.
I brought the scotch to the counter and grabbed the Fireball and vodka from the cart. I just wanted to pay and get out of Mamaland. As I was putting the bottles on the counter, I noticed a package of Stoli mini bottles in different flavors. I put it on the counter and said, “I always like to try new flavors.”
“Mama doesn’t judge. Oh no. No judgment from Mama,” she said. Then she repeated, “Mama is a Jack Daniel’s girl.”
At this point, I literally looked around for a camera crew. This had to be some sort of prank. Nope. It was just me, my son, and Mama.
Mama rang up each item and stopped a couple of times to double check that she had scanned everything. This was when I thought, “Maybe she is on Vicodin or something. She’s really friendly and a little slow. Maybe that’s it.”
Well, since I don’t own or manage the store, I didn’t stop to figure it out. I put my liquor in the cart and scurried out with my son to get the rest of our taco fixings. When we got out of earshot, I just said, “Okiedokie” to my son, to which he replied, “That was more painful than ordering at Panera.” He was right about that. Our last visit to Panera was painful, but he wasn’t with me at Kroger on loud superhero day. Now THAT was worse.
A couple of months ago, I went to Kroger super early in the morning. Since I was up anyway, and since my hair looked like it was straight out of the Play-Doh Barber Shop, I decided to go to Kroger at 8:00 am so I could AVOID people. No such luck.
Apparently, my Kroger is the main district Kroger or whatever because there is always some strange crap going down there. This particular day was like a nightmare for introverted people with bad hair.
There I was, looking for the American cheese that the cat and the Maltese both like. The cat doesn’t eat cat treats or any other kind of cheese, and the Maltese is on heart pills that must be smooshed in cheese so she will take them. So, it was important to get the right kind. I had not gotten to Starbucks yet, so I was REALLY concentrating on the cheese. That’s when the loud music and some doofus talking like a game show host came over the speaker. At 8:15 in the damn morning. Did I mention I had no coffee and homeless chic hair?
Then, I saw the superheroes. Nope. I was not hallucinating and I had not had any of Mama’s Jack Daniel’s. There were people running around in superhero costumes. In the damn grocery store at 8:16! I ran my hand through my hair and looked down. I grabbed my pets’ cheese and a few more items and attempted to get to the cash registers.
Holy crazy crowd of geeks, Batman! The front of the store was blocked. I said a meek, “Excuse me” and tried to inch past Spiderman, Wonder Woman, and some woman who was obviously from corporate. I know this because she gave me her “I had my Starbucks! Bless your heart with that hair” smile.
She said, “HI!” as I passed her.
I said, “Why is this happening?”
She told me they were having a “bag off” for cash and prizes. The woman next to her said that she was competing. I patted her on the shoulder and told her, “I hope you have some liquor.”
I paid for my stuff, visited the in-store Starbucks and got the hell out of there. I have never gone back without being caffeinated.
Maybe I should just stop shopping. I think between Amazon and Jet, I should be able to get everything I need. I can just supplement my diet with Chinese delivery and pizza, to make up for the lack of refrigerated or frozen food. It’s just not worth the awkwardness to go to an actual store.