Sunday, March 2, 2008


Maybe it's just me, but I've always lived with the illusion that grocery checkers don't mentally inventory your purchases. Perhaps this self-perpetuating myth was born during my formative years, when some cute boy was checking groceries and I had to buy some unmentionables. I had nearly convinced myself that checkers are WAY too busy to really care or notice what I buy.

My first hint was several years ago, when I was on a very healthy kick, and the checker noted how much fresh produce I was buying. Since I, too, was proud of myself, I didn't think more about it. The myth cracked further a few months back when a very chatty young woman wanted to share parenting tips with me as she scanned the Pull-Ups I was buying. I let it slide, thinking she was just overwhelmed with pride in her accomplishment that--in one weekend--her daughter had learned to stay dry all night because she literally woke her up every 15 minutes to use the bathroom. Technically, I should not know that many details, but I do.

The remains of the illusion crumbled tonight. Fortunately, there was nothing embarrassing or unusual in my basket. But I can no longer tell myself--with any honesty-- that they don't notice. Thanks for busting my bubble, Bradley.

First, it was my chocolate milk. As he scanned it, Bradley noted that Promise Land chocolate milk is REALLY good. (which I politely confirmed...I was--after all--buying it.) He went on to pitch another type of milk that was a little healthier--"well, you know, healthy for chocolate milk"--because it had vitamins added and "some other stuff." Sadly, this endorsement came without vital details like the product name, but no matter. PromiseLand does me right, so I'm set.

Next, he had to comment on how the meat department really made his job difficult as he wrestled with the labels to get them to scan. I felt like an accomplice since I had clearly picked the most difficult sausage to scan. Sorry, dude. I'll look for straighter labels next time.

Finally, as he picked up my graham cracker crust, he offered "mmmm. What kind of pie are you making?" Honestly, man, I'm not inviting you over so what difference does it make? Which, of course, I didn't say. Instead, I said, "a pudding pie. My daughter and husband really like those." (Thinking: didn't you notice the PUDDING I bought?) Bradley: "Yeah, those are really good."

Sorry if all of this is news to you--if you thought that no one noticed if you bought cereal with extra fiber or feminine products or pregnancy tests or six varieties of ice cream or the like.

Because they do.

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