Monday, February 3, 2014

Some women just "Can't Understand Normal Thinking"… or, adventures in military grocery shopping...

Earlier today, Bill and I went to the commissary to buy some groceries.  We would have gone yesterday, but I was afraid it would be full of people buying food at the last minute before the Super Bowl.  As we also planned to hit the Shoppette/Class VI store to get some beer, I especially wanted to avoid the day before the biggest football game of the year.

I happened to have a bunch of coupons with me.  I have taken to clipping coupons as a means of saving money.  I only cut coupons for products we'll actually use.  I try not to clip any for anything that's a convenience food, gimmicky, or something really bad for us, though I did use one for a dollar off four cans of Pringles today.  Pringles are a rare treat in our house.

Anyway, as I was making my way down the condiment aisle, there were a bunch of people who were either slow or had stopped.  An elderly woman was in front of me.  An elderly man was ahead of her.  Several people were behind me, picking up sugar, flour, and spices.  A Hispanic or Asian woman with long black hair-- didn't get a good look at her or her daughter-- was apparently trying to get around the traffic stau.  Bill was behind me and observed her dawdling a bit, trying to get her grocery list to come up on her smartphone.  (Edited to add, Bill says the woman was WASPy looking… yet another reason why she shouldn't have expected me to have eyes in the back of my head so I could see what she was doing.  Apparently, I didn't even see the right woman.) 

I got the idea at the same time.  We had both pulled out into the aisle in an attempt to get around those who had stopped.

Then, when I saw her cart edging out, I retreated.  We both got back in line at the same time.

Then we both made another attempt to pass.

Then we both got back into line.  I heard her say, "Just GO!" in a very nasty, impatient, rude, tone-of-voice.  I probably gave someone a filthy look, then lit out of there.

As Bill caught up with me, he said, "I don't know what that rude woman's problem is."

I said, "I do.  She's a bitch!" I said that more loudly than I intended to.  I kind of hope she heard me say it.  Even as I understand we're all fighting battles, I still have a hard time excusing people who are deliberately rude for no good reason.  All she had to do was say "Excuse me."  I did it several times as I passed other people after our unfortunate encounter.  It works very well and doesn't tend to piss people off.

I truly hate shopping in the commissary when it's crowded.  I don't consider myself a slow shopper and I do my best not to block people (despite what happened today), but I hate the way it turns people into self-centered assholes.  I can remember going to the commissary at Fort Belvoir on a really busy day.  One retiree was in there with his cart and had gotten so aggravated that he deliberately rammed into my cart.  He was looking straight at me when he did it and had a very frustrated expression on his face.  I know he did it on purpose because after he rammed into my cart, he was staring at me as if I were the antichrist, presumably because I happened to be shopping at the same time he was.

Of course, there are times when people really are irritating in the commissary because they can't seem to see more than two feet around themselves.  One time, I was in the commissary at Patch Barracks in Germany when some people saw a very pregnant woman they knew.  The cashier line at Patch, as it is at all commissaries, is a single line, which feeds into a row of registers.  These folks, apparently oblivious that other people were actually shopping and overjoyed at the sight of their pregnant friend, stopped right in front of the opening of the cashier feeder line and abandoned their cart there, blocking the entrance.  I moved the cart; but yes, it did annoy me that these people lacked situational awareness to the extent they did.  I know it's fun to visit, but for God's sake, park your cart in a (rare) out of the way spot before you start chit chatting with friends and neighbors.  Makes me wonder if those folks drove their car in the same haphazard manner.

It really pays not to go to the commissary on payday.  I try to avoid it when I can, especially during months when there are significant religious holidays or any other event that calls for special food.  Payday shopping at the commissary is a one way ticket to grocery store hell.  But in fairness to the commissary, I would imagine it would be that way in a lot of stores, military or not.  At least in the commissary, there is a certain level of decorum expected.  Unfortunately, not everyone gets with the program and that's when situations occur like what happened today.

I am happy that we are allowed to shop at the commissary.  You can save decent money there and they have some good ethnic products.  However, if our neighborhood had a Publix, I would for sure shop there instead.  I do prefer the commissary to H.E.B., though.

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