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It is a good thing I am no longer judgmental

It is a good thing I am no longer judgmental

August 14, 2006

I went grocery shopping today.

And honestly it was completely uneventful, so uneventful that I thought wow, I have nothing at all interesting to write about this shopping trip other than the fact that the crowd of people surrounding the day old baked goods disturbed me. Do stale donuts and pasteries taste better than cardboard when they are 50% off? Personally I would prefer to purchase full priced fresh baked goods.

Call me crazy like that.

I finished my shopping and chose the checkout that only had one person in the line. I pulled up and began unloading my things on to the conveyor belt.

The woman ahead of me in line looked at me, smiled and gave a little nod. It was almost a conspiratorial nod. Like we were in on some sort of secret. Only no one had told me the secret. Did I know her from somewhere I wondered, though that seemed unlikely since I don’t know many people. Even after living in this “neck of the woods”, as they say, for eleven years. I still feel like a stranger in a strange land. Like a person biding their time until they can move away to the place where theya re supposed to live.

But then I realized.

The only things I had put up on the conveyor belt thus far were 6 half gallons of organic soy milk, and 2 half gallons of organic rice milk. A quick glance at her groceries confirmed it.

She thought I was one of them.

In front of her, that I could see, were organically grown grapes, hormone free meat, Newman’s Own salad dressing, as well as an assortment of vegetables that I would be hard pressed to identify. I hated to disappoint her. But it had to be done.

I began pulling the rest of my groceries out from my cart.

What do my groceries say about me? I wondered. Suburban housewife who feeds her kids junk food, lets them play with colorful molded plastic toys, and watch commercial television.

The exact sort of parent I swore I would never be? Honey Nut Cheerios, Honeycombs, Hershey’s chocolate syrup, double stuff mint oreos,the regular meat that is laden with hormones and antibiotics and is going to kill me and make my sons grow breasts. Then I pulled the Wonder bread out. 6 loaves of it. And since I only had my 5 yr old with me, 6 loaves did seem a tad excessive.

I wanted to point out the hummus and say something like, “I like falafel too!” or in the spirit of Mom 101, “Hummus is the people’s dip.” But that just seemed weird.

And anyway, from the look she gave me you would have thought that I had squirted my mouth full of cheez whiz and pounded back a piss warm can of Pabst Blue Ribbon right there at the checkout. She was revolted.

But the best part by far was when my five year old ran around from the neighboring checkout, his hand clutching a chocolate chip cookie the size of his face and grabbed a pear from her pile of groceries, held it up, and shouted, “What the hell is this?”

And really how do you answer that one. Other than the obvious, which is to yell, with increasing intensity, “Oh my god, put that disgusting thing down. Put it DOWN. PUT IT DOWN!!!”

I am sure she needed something to write about on her blog. So that was my gift to her.

Then I gave her a little conspiratorial nod. And fought the urge to pat her waif like daughter on the head and tell her, “I know that cookie looks good. But I think your mother bought some yummy roots for you to gnaw on. Mmmmmmm, I bet you can hardly wait!”

Posted by Chris @ 2:21 pm  

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  1. Mir says:

    Did you really say to put “that disgusting thing” down? I love you more every day. ;)

  2. Eskinose Kisses says:

    I LOVE THIS!!!! Hysterically laughing…..;o)

  3. Jennifer S. says:

    I do my best to buy as many organic things as my checkbook can handle. I keep wondering, and asking my hubby, why something that’s ‘missing’ something (like anitbiotics, additives, preservatives, etc.) costs so much more than the things that are laden with the ‘bad stuff’? Though we are concerned with our health and I do my best to feed my family as much healthy food as I can, I also end up leaving with a cart full of white-flower, preservative laden, dyed & processed junk food :)

  4. jody2ms says:


    I wish our grocery cart looked like that again. Ours is filled with Tilapia, veggies, tilapia, fruit, tilapia, mahi mahi, reduced fat milk and cheese, low fat yogurt……and more tilapia. “Let’s Keep Daddy Alive” diet is harshing my junk food fix.

    Mint oreos!!! Mmmmmm.

  5. Susan says:

    Oh my god, please tell me that your son REALLY said, “What the hell is this?”


  6. Angela says:

    I loved your title, and the prospect of your 5 year not knowing what a pear was made me laugh out loud.

  7. Nicki says:

    You are sooo wicked. I do wish I could have seen the look on the woman’s face when she saw the rest of your groceries!!! Absolutely love the blog!!

  8. Kim in MI says:

    Ha! I really really would like to find & read her blog today, too!! LOL! Wouldn’t it be a hoot?

  9. Daisy says:

    And 6 loaves of Wonder Bread — that’s awesome. My husband and daughter love Wonder Bread (any cheap white bread that squeezes like Charmin) and I can’t stand it. We always have two kind sof bread in the house.

  10. Maliavale says:

    That squeeze cheese/PBR combo sounds so hella good. Is that wrong?

  11. Christina says:

    Sooo funny! I just know people are judging my parenthood by the contents of my grocery cart and it vexes me to no end. I do my best, but definately am not scared enough of the “regular” stuff to spend tons more for the “organic, healthy” stuff. And if my son grows breasts, there is always plastic surgery LOL

  12. Maddy says:

    I have always wondered if people peek into others shopping trollys to see what they buy, I never have, I am always too busy locating a lost child or trying to remember that one thing I came to the shop for, that was untill I got distracted by the hormone free meat.

  13. Miss Peach says:

    This was hilarious. Thanks for making me laugh out loud!! Too funny.

  14. Mary says:

    Funny! What do you mean, nothing exciting happened to you at the grocery store?

    Someday you’ll have to tell us why your fam drinks soy and rice milk instead of cow’s milk. Do you like the taste better, or is someone lactose intolerant?

    Anyway, I applaud you for it and wish there was some way to get my husband to switch to soy milk too!

  15. Heather says:

    The reaction from your five year old, regarding the pear, is priceless!

    My kids LOVE, LOVE, LOVE all the Ramen soups. I buy the mega pack at super Walmart, of almost every flavor. I have received the snarky looks in line as well. I swear those soups are the reason why my 16 year old is 6ft 3″ and wears a size 14 shoe! I am sure there are some hidden growth hormones in there somewhere! LOL…

  16. sandra says:

    Mary asked, and I’m curious too. Why the soy and rice? Is one of your kids allergic?

    This was tres funny, by the way.

  17. rachel says:

    We get the “good” looks and comments from all the old ladies: “nobody cooks from scratch any more!” “I’m so glad to see you’re eating healthy” “You’re doing the right thing by those girls”

    Yeah, lady - you aren’t seeing the bags of (gluten-free, dairy-free, berry-free) candy under all the rice milk, coconut milk, fruit, veggies, meat, and other individual ingredients.

    Dang, I wish we could eat junk food without paying through the nose at a special store.

    LOVE your post. and love how your kids embarrass you too (yay, it’s not just me!).

  18. madre-terra says:

    Ah, yes, another uneventful day at the grocery store for Chris. You’re a hoot girl!!
    One must always balance out the organic with…..

  19. Christine says:

    That is so funny! My FIL is a vegan, so I know what kind of food “those” people get. We’re a little like you- a nice healthy variety. My hubby and I were hysterical. Thanks for your great way with words.

  20. Gwen says:

    “What the hell is this?” I love it. Also, can I come eat at your house? Those Oreos are my favorite, I’d even dip them in the organic milk if I had to…

  21. Caryn says:

    Great description–hilarious.

  22. Chris says:

    I live right smack dab in the middle of farm country. If someone got a hold of hormone free meat around here, they would be treading dangerous waters. We like our pesticides and hormones, with a side of antibiotics thankyouverymuch.

    This post made me laugh out loud. Good thing I am sitting down here alone. My kids think I am crazy when I am smacking my leg laughing hysterically at the computer. “What the hell is this?” should be rewarded with a chocolate covered donut. That was perfect!

  23. shannon says:

    What a funny post! I have to admit, I love looking in other people’s carts at the supermarket. Also, I’m equally leery of some organic products as I am of florecent green “gogurt”. I love the timing of your son’s “what the hell is this!” My three year old told my husband he was pissed off the other day. I think it’s funny when kids work the blue angle. Everything in moderation I guess?

  24. Mrs. Fun says:

    I am laughing :-) I am the mom in front of you. But i do let my kids have junk when they visit friends and relatives, i just refuse to buy it. Not for their health as much as my waistline ;-) I’ve been known to eat a whole bag of cookies in a day.

  25. Jennifer says:

    OMG, that’s too hilarious! Poor little waif-like daughter. You did her a favor, she’d have probably choked on a chocolate chip had she taken a bite!

    What’s with the stories of grocery-shopping this week? First CityMama, then the BlogFathers, and now you! Did I miss the memo on blog-topics this week?!

    Anyway, my first time here and totally laughed about this one! Gonna visit again, that’s for sure!


  26. karen t says:

    So funny! You are bad! My son hates bread with seeds in and he told me that all the bits are rabbit claw clippings. Every time I crunch now I have to shut out the ‘bunny thoughts’ so I don’t feel sick!

  27. peepnroosmom says:

    I am laughing so hard right now. Thank goodness I am sitting down. HAHAHAHAHAHA!

  28. Karen Rani says:

    Dude! You need to warn a coffee-drinking girl. Now I gotta find something to wipe up this keyboard.

  29. Y says:

    Your 5 year old says HELL? OMG! I’m delinking you. BREEDER!1111!!

  30. Jennifer says:

    Just when I think there is no way you can surprise me into another unladylike guffaw-type laugh you do a post like this. It seems innnocent enough to begin with but then you and your five-year-old do me in. Is it just me or is your five-year-old your funniest child? The one who most got the humor gene?

  31. Abby says:

    I look forward to reading your column every day - I have my favorite blogs that I miss terribly when I don’t read them. Thank you for starting my day off with a giggle.

  32. Mama T. says:

    Mmmmm….Wonder Bread. Having grown up in a suburb of the Motor City, Wonder Bread brings back great memories of driving past their factory/bakery on the way to Tiger Stadium and smelling the baking bread from a mile away. That’s how we knew we were getting close to our exit!

    Oh and what’s wrong with a little cheese in a can? On Ritz crackers? With cheap beer?

  33. Mother says:

    Ha. That’s perfect. But really, as a totally homemade homegrown kid who snuck candy in the closets of my house, I figure having some is better than having none.

    But then I think, I’m spending $3 for organic soy cheeze mac and then she’s downing a huge bag of goldfish.

    There’s just something a little f’d up about that.

  34. GW Mama says:

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAAH! That is an absolute SCREAM!!!!! Thanks for the laugh!

    Jody in Mississippi

  35. Sarah, Goon Squad Sarah says:

    Yeah, what the hell IS a pear?

  36. Sock Girl says:

    Too funny!!!! I absolutely nearly spit out the bowl of chemicals I was eating for lunch when I read this.

  37. InterstellarLass says:

    Sigh. And just when I was about to make an effort to eat better. I mean, not twigs-and-leaves-eat-better, but still, better. Organic is outrageous though. I’ll suffer with ‘just fresh’.

  38. ben says:


    I feel similar (judged by what I buy at the store) but a long time ago I quit letting it bother me. Wish I had some funny stories to go with my grocery shopping, about the worst my kids do is fight over who gets to carry the beer to the car.

  39. Jordana says:

    I often think about what my grocery purchases say about me. Sometimes I’m proud of all the fruits and veggies I have piled in the cart, which is naturally a silly thing to be proud about. And then other times, especially when I have a sick child at home and my whole grocery list consists of jello, gatorade, saltines and popsicles, I wonder if everyone else is looking at my cart and pondering how my children have survived without a single vitamin in their diet.

    Of course, what I thought was really silly was to imagine that anyone else was actually looking at my cart and what I was buying. But maybe they actually are…

  40. Vicky says:

    “What the hell is this?” Did he really say that? That is the best!

    …now, on to removing the tea splashed all over my keyboard (and erhm…from out of my nose).

  41. liz says:

    What Vicky said, but it was water.

  42. hilary says:

    love it- we are one in the same for sure…
    I have a 5mth and 2yr old. when ever I unload my groceries I become the minority in Marin- 2 sets of diapers, formula and plenty of fish sticks, pizzas and cheddar bunnies. I feel shameful that I’m contributing large amounts to our local landful…unfortunately it won’t change for another year (at least). :)

  43. Lisa says:

    I know I say this almost everytime I come here, but that was hysterical! I guess I need to check out thesaurus.com for other words.

    I always check out people’s groceries, and wonder what the hell they do with stuff. Like ginger root. Or parsnips.

  44. Beth says:

    I’m a low-income single mom who tries to save money wherever possible, and buys day-old bread as part of my effort to have enough money left over each month to pay some bills.

    Call me crazy like that. ;^)

    (Your five-year-old is a hoot!)

  45. bluepaintred says:

    and see this is why, when I have a really , i mean REALLY bad day I come to your blog. then I get four or five posts of absolute hilarity!

    and thats you’re gift to me.

  46. Mom101 says:

    Trust me, I wouldn’t have said anything funny. I’d have hung my head in shame and then ran here and wrote a hundred funny things I could have done after the fact - sort of like you just did. Only you did it better.

  47. Kristen says:

    Good god, that was hilarious. I’m just glad to know your grocery cart looks like mine, despite my great intentions…

  48. Thorny says:

    I thought of this tonight, as I stood in line at the grocery store unloading my haphazardly filled cart while my husband and children waited in the car in the parking lot. I noticed I had a gallon of organic whole milk, a half-gallon of organic soy milk, a frozen pepperoni pizza, a bag of potato chips, two 12-packs of soda, and a bottle of “Honest T” berry something-or-other tea. And for once, I didn’t feel all, “Oh gosh, I hope the Nutrient Police don’t come along to bust me,” and instead felt like I was just another mom, doing her thing, buying what worked and t’hell with anyone whose paradigm had to get shifted along the way. Thank you!

  49. Darren says:

    Sweet Jesus, that’s funny! So had he really not seen a pear before or was he playing his little “trick” on you?