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After decades of putting up with dysfunctional shopping carts and shoppers who don’t know how to properly push a cart, the situation finally reached a tipping point last week. No matter how much I tried, I couldn’t get the shopping cart to fit into the cart escalator at Walmart. Instead, I was left having to lug the heavy items to the car using my brute strength.

True, one could view this as a proper punishment for choosing to shop at Walmart. But I thought of all the times over the years I’ve pushed carts whose wheels were out of alignment. The multitudes of shoppers I’ve encountered who park their carts in the middle of the aisle, ensuring that I can’t move past them. Those occasions I’ve pushed carts through slush and snow to my car, only to look around in vain afterwards to try and find a cart corral.

No longer wanting to put up with cart-ageddon any longer, last week I went online and used ShopWoodmans (run by the local company GrocerKey) for the first time. Every item at Woodman’s is on the website and sold without markup. Almost effortlessly, I created a shopping list on the site and filled the cart just by tapping on the keyboard. The order was to be delivered on Friday between 5-7 p.m., and I looked forward to it with a degree of anticipation that normal people reserve for going out to a fish fry.

Then, for the first Friday in ages, during 5-7 p.m., suddenly others in the family had places to go and wanted me to take them. It took air traffic control type coordination to ensure someone would be home. As I waited for the delivery I wondered what’s worse, waiting for a delivery or doing my own shopping?

I logged into my account and took comfort in how it gave me the blow by blow of how my order was being picked and “staged.” The delivery arrived, and it was something of a religious experience. As I unloaded the bags, I noticed there wasn’t any junk food. I must have subconsciously kept such items out of the cart, wanting the order picker to think we eat only healthy food, akin to the desire to not wear dirty underwear in case one ends up in the ER later that day.

And the best part? No unexpected add-ons that spontaneously appear in the cart when shopping with kids, causing the total bill to increase. So what did they think of the experience? “I don’t think we can do this online shopping every week. Maybe twice per month.” Oh oh.

This Humor Me column originally appeared in the Herald-Independent on April 7, 2016.


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