Clean-Up in Aisle 9

Posted September 9, 2011 by jimhigley

I’ve been picking up something at the grocery store lately. And, it hasn’t cost me a dime. It’s such a terrific deal that I’ll occasionally bribe one of the kids to go with me so they, too, can enjoy this no-cost opportunity.

No, its not a buy-one-cantaloupe-get-one-free weekly special. Nor is it the Saturday morning complimentary sample from a nice lady named Ruth who is manning a George Foreman Grill near the back of the store, offering me her tray of Vienna-sausage-looking-things with an assortment of dipping sauces.

Nope. Nothing like that.

It’s a lesson in patience.

I find it every time I make my weekly schlep to-and-from the grocery store. Sometimes its near the assortment of Stouffers frozen meals near the Party Size Lasagna Italiano and the Family Size Rigatoni with Chicken. It’s almost always waiting for me in the baking section. The spice area is a sure bet.

Think I’m teasing? Read on.

Usually, I’m on the receiving end of someone else’s patience. Perhaps that was you the other day who found me in the canned bean section. I was looking for a can of cannellini beans. It’s something I buy with regularity for my turkey chili. Stopping my cart, I went to reach for what I thought was cannellini beans but quickly realized they were butter beans. Then began my search. Hunched over scanning the beans, then standing up, shuffling to the left, then to the right, standing on my tip-toes. My eyes were becoming a blurry fog of beans.

And all the while, my grocery cart was parked on an angle blocking a nice, young mother, complete with toddler in the carts seat, who very patiently waited for me to get my act together. I wasn’t thinking about you, was I? I was processing the cans of dark red kidney beans and light red kidney beans wondering what the difference was between the two. I was contemplating what made great northern beans so great. I simply wanted my cannellini beans and was surprised when I finally found them blending into the shelf of garbanzo beans. I know I had looked there before. But you gave me all the time I needed. You talked to your child. You checked your shopping list. And then, when I finally noticed you and apologized, you told me you were in no hurry. I know that was a lie but I appreciate the patience you had with me. And I seriously don’t blame you for pulling that U-turn when you noticed me in the household cleaning supply aisle a few minutes later. I would have done the same thing.

But I want you to know that its people like you that make me a kinder shopper.

Because of you, when I find myself in the middle of a six cart back-up in the cereal section because someone has jackknifed their cart while they keep seeing Fruit Loops but cant seem to locate the Fruity Pebbles, I’ll set a good example for everyone by taking a deep breath and putting a friendly grin on my face. And, if one of my fellow shoppers wants to enlist my help in their search for something, count me in. But a warning to all: I feel like I’m standing in quicksand when I’m working the canned tomatoes section. Diced, stewed, diced in sauce, petite cut, petite diced, crushed, whole? I’m sorry, but I’m not your guy in that situation.

But if you need me for anything else, just give me a shout.

And, a special note to the very sweet senior citizen who helped me find the tomato bisque soup a few weeks ago. I really thought Campbell’s put their soup on the shelf alphabetically. Who would have thought that the tomato bisque soup would be sitting between the beef consomm and the golden mushroom soup?

You were a lifesaver. And I was so happy to return the help in aisle 9 when you couldn’t reach the 36-ounce can of peaches that the stocker put up on that ridiculously high top shelf.

I hope your grandkids enjoyed your cobbler!