Moms, we know we need a plan of action before we hit up the store, but life doesn’t always allow us that kind of time. Inside the Mind of A Generation X Mom Shopper is the true story of what can happen when you go rogue and enter a last-minute shopping session unprepared.
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Last-minute dinner preparation is usually a disaster.
Last-minute dinner shopping is always a disaster.
Especially for me, since I tend to get a bit…um…wait, what was I talking about…oh yes, that’s right…distracted.
Let me walk you through how it happened to me.
Mom Shopper Hack #1: First Impressions Matter
I walk in on a mission, head held high. I strut through the automatic doors of Walmart like Moses parting the Red Sea when it hits me. Am I at Walmart or a dirty Chuck E. Cheese?
Who is responsible for these tiny germ-a-paloozas that do nothing but slow mothers down and give kids pink eye? How much money can one make from these mini carnival games that are a succubus for quarters?
Is there a yearly kid arcade sales conference where they play Smashmouth’s All-Star on repeat as they give out the Top Performer awards?
Just as I think I’m about to move on, I spy a shady-looking soul on a miniature fire truck that is purposefully rubbing his snot all over the tiny handlebars.
I make a mental note to pick up some Emergen-C… it’s going to be a long flu season.
Mom Shopper Hack #2: The Mandatory First Stop
We’re now five minutes into our superstore journey, and our first stop is, of course, the complimentary sanitizing wipes.
I take a moment to wonder if these guys are in cahoots with the kiddie carnival people aa I grab more than my share of wipes to do a number on my cart. That fire truck kid skeeved me out, and I’m not rolling the dice.
At this point, I have to remind myself to focus on the mission – I am here to get dinner stuff – nothing more, nothing less. I am mentally on lock – until I see cookies.
Keep in mind; I am not at Saks Fifth Avenue – I am not even at Target. Still, this cookie display was so spectacular that it was as if Willie Wonka himself were inviting me to indulge in the land of pure imagination.
Is that…. a double chocolate chip? SCORE! The kids would love these! But wait, what about the Oatmeal Raisin? They seem like the healthier choice, but the label on the chocolate chips indicates they are loaded with chocolatey goodness, and I find myself at a crossroads.
I would continue to stare blankly at the baked goods for another ten minutes until I ultimately decide to move on with my life and go with fruit,
My grocery game is back in full effect until the buzzing begins.
What the hell is going on in my purse? Why is it vibrating? I start to believe there is a conspiracy to get to me when I realize the strange buzzing is originating from my phone.
Why doesn’t it ring? It rings when I don’t want it to ring. Why does technology hate me?
I take the call, which turns out to be a mistake because it’s my husband who wants me to buy milk and listen to his story about a Bronco and a KC light, and well, I checked out on that one-two minutes in.
Time to focus up again, Heather!
Milk. Milk. Milk.
I’ve learned if I say it three times, I won’t forget.
Mom Shopper Hack #3: If You Say It (Three Times) You Won’t Forget It
Next, I peruse the newly renovated produce section and vow to make something with kale.
I’ve read about the healing properties of the superfood on Goop. If it’s good enough for Gwyneth Paltrow, then we should give it another try. We just got a bad batch that time. A really bad batch…
Kale. Kale. Kale.
Mom Shopper Hack #4: Sometimes It’s OK To Lie To Yourself (About Snack Mix)
I’m now on a healthy superfood adventure until I see yet another display that is no less than fabulous made of, wait for it, dried fruits and nuts.
At this point I begin talking to myself. (It’s something I am aware of, and I have done before, it so it’s OK.)
Now that’s a cute display.
See, Heather, Wal-Mart can be as cute as Kroger. Everything is going to be okay. Let’s direct our attention to the labels. That’s a get her done type task I can do quickly, and since my son has autism and is following a gluten-free diet, it’s a necessary evil,
The nut mix checks out!
I celebrate that I don’t have to travel to acquire healthy snacks, then I see the price.
$7.50 per bag.
Holy crap, this is expensive (cut to me putting back the snack mix)…I can totally put this together myself for less money. (I know deep down I am lying to myself, and that is never going to happen, but it feels right at the time, so I go with it!)
Okay. What am I doing here again?
That’s right, chicken. Chicken for dinner, I am here to get dinner stuff! But I need a recipe to make that happen, so let me pull up Pinterest and see what I can find.
I’m 30 seconds into the Pinterest mission when I see something that rocks my world.
Mom Shopper Hack #5: You can achieve household Nirvana if you use Pinterest
What????? It’s a miracle!
I may be in a hurry, but my house is out of control, so I rationalize that I can most certainly spare a second to review these cleaning tips and tricks as long as I’m near the poultry.
According to Pinterest, I am eighteen steps away from total Household Nirvana. All I need is vinegar, a sponge, and a microfiber cloth.
Surely I can spare a few seconds for Nirvana. I mean, when you think about it, I’d be selfish if I didn’t. I tell myself I’m doing this for our family, and I make a mental note to download the Nevermind album. As I navigate through the aisles with a renewed laser-sharp focus, I start thinking about what happened to Kurt Cobain. Where did it all go wrong for him? He had so much to live for – he was talented, brilliant, and had a beautiful daughter. I feel like there is more to that story, and one day I’m going to get to the bottom of it.
About that time, I round the sugar aisle with so much gusto that I nearly take down the display of Hershey’s Chocolate Bars and Marshmallows.
I’ll pass on the S’more’s today thankyouverymuch.
Or maybe I should get them because that family looks so happy around the fire…
Damn it, Heather! NO! You are on a mission!!!
Focus! Household Nirvana!
No more eye contact with the other shoppers… it’s go time.
Mom Shopper Hack #6: Try To Avoid Redneck Wedding Drama
I can almost smell the Lysol as I make my way to the cleaning aisles when I run into an extremely unfortunate family meeting that’s going down right next to the Clorox wipes.
Two unattended carts full of toilet paper, packages of various lunch meats and cheeses, assorted canned beverages, and diapers block my route to the ultimate household bliss zone.
I spot two adult women with what I assume to be their offspring collaborating near the paper plates and utensils.
These ladies were donning ill-fitting T-shirts that proclaimed their love for the collaboration of Jesus and George Strait paired with crocs. As their children ran wildly through the aisles, clearly playing a loose rendition of Duck Duck Goose, the mothers engaged in a heated argument over paper place settings.
It went something like this.
“I ain’t paying no $5.95 for no fancy “Chinet” plates for them to throw away in no day-um garbage can. We gone git that other over dare for $2!”
While I did admire her passion for savings, I don’t think I’d put fancy and Chinet together, but whatever. At this point there was no judgement. I just needed them to get the damn plates and get the hell out of my way.
Cut to three minutes later: We enter the judgment zone after I ascertain they were blocking my Nirvana on purpose. I know this because:
A) I am not invisible.
B) I had done the clear my throat pardon me move twice.
3) They heard me loudly object when one of their children asked to use my phone (and by ask I mean stick his dirty hand into my purse while I wasn’t looking.)
Now, I’ve read somewhere that we create our reality and live inside illusions of our making. I’m not 100% clear on that statement, but I can tell you that you definitely didn’t want to be in the world these “ladies” created. Their place-setting debate spoke volumes.
“But Mama, it needs to be fan-see… it’s my wedding!!!”
Oh sweet baby Jesus, this was for a wedding?
“Well, it ain’t yer first baby gurl. Hail, you just spit out a kid from the last one!”
The pair proceeded to curse at each other for approximately ten minutes.
Yes, I did stick around, and I kept time on my watch because I was invested in potential household Nirvana and the real world Jerry Springer event happening before my eyes.
Every second that passed was both entertaining and annoying. Thankfully, I slowly realized I was experiencing something that I had only read about by way of Jeff Foxworthy.
The Redneck Wedding!
I started putting the puzzle pieces together; the contents of their cart made sense now.
I knew I needed to go, but I had to see it through.
“Day-um, gurl, you gun break me. I’ll tell you something right day-um now; this had better be your last day-um wedding!!!”
With that, she went on and put one, I repeat, one package of premium strength “Chinet” Classic White Dinner Plates in her buggy and stormed off.
The younger woman gathered her posse of children together by screaming their names as she loaded the rest of her cart with giant bags of Great Value Dog Food. Before she hurried her overloaded buggy off to self-check, she remarked, to no one in particular,
“This is sum bulls$!t.”
I silently agreed, grabbed the Clorox wipes, and got the heck out of dodge.
I forget everything else.
My family did not seem to understand the gravity of my grocery store experience, but they got over it when I made my famous phone call for take-out.
If you’re a mom, you know all good stories must end with a lesson. Today’s is three-fold.
One, always make a list; two, if you sense you are a little too excited about going to the grocery store alone, you need more fun in your life; and three, never argue with a George Strait fan who is planning redneck wedding number 2.
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