I am in complete grocery store sticker shock.
Trader Joe’s, you got me. You got me good.
I know it’s not an expensive grocery store and the food is good and good for you (hence the reason I bought every type of chicken/apple/roasted tomato/basil/vino/spicy italian sausage I could find), but having found comfort in the type of purchases at Kroger that last one meal and cost single digit dollar amounts, the total on my arm-length receipt at T.J.’s this evening was heart-stopping. I still can’t breathe.
The cart was full. One more item and it would have had to sit in the child seat up front with baby. The paper bags were mushed in the typical cargo space but also in the underbelly of the cart where the toilet paper and 12-packs usually go. And now, with the freezer barely closing and things I would normally keep in the door of the fridge banished to the back of the bottom shelf to make way for all the new milks, I can’t eat a thing.
I spent so much money. It has to last forever. The most sure-fire way of making groceries last forever is not to eat them. For dinner tonight I shared a tortellini bowl with Baby and snacked on Sun Chips that we already had. I drank previously purchased Pepsi, daring not open the new bottle of Italian Blood Orange Soda that displaced the old mustard from its spot on fridge door shelf #2. There are 16 different kinds of sausages in the freezer! And that’s where they’ll stay.
Maintenance grocery shopping is never as costly as the initial splurge, right? I should have asked Malcom. He was our cashier and he had rhinestones on his name tag. He offered Kate a lollipop and when I said no he offered that his child ate kitty litter sometimes. He probably would have run over to ring the big bell, since I have no idea what it means and he’d already done it twice, then come back and said of course the first time is the hardest.
But to make matters worse, I made a grocery list today so I could remember the essentials once I got to the store and before I went too fabulous in the freezer section. It read: vegetable oil, popcorn.
At the end of my grocery binge I left the store having only shattered one jar of tomato sauce on the floor (that happened immediately upon entrance… nice to get out of the way first), having only to ask one woman furiously stacking steel cut oatmeal if they still sold my favorite ‘Spearin Risotto (they did, I just didn’t see the first, second and fourth times I looked), and having only to pick the Chili Lime Cashews up 27 times after Baby tossed them from the cart. I left the store, reeling from the deficit left on my gift cards, shivering in -18 degree wind that froze my nostrils together when I inhaled through them, and without vegetable oil or popcorn.
Looks like I won’t have those two things for the next three years. That is the amount of time I feel the money I spent on groceries should last. Unless I continue to refuse to eat them the actual groceries will not last that long, but in three years I will have recovered from my sticker shock and then will get vegetable oil and popcorn.