I’ve learned the geography of the local grocery stores reasonably well, which I consider impressive because (a) I am directionally-impaired, (b) I regularly go to three different places with three different layouts, and (c) I am not a veteran shopper when it comes to anything outside the canned food section. However, some of the things that Clancy wants me to get while I’m out are a bit tougher to nail down. I don’t even know what category they fall into some of the time. Does evaporated milk, which Clancy puts in her coffee, go under coffee accessories? With spices? With sweeteners? With regular milk? That sort of thing.

This is made more difficult when I can’t see very well. Last night when I went shopping, I was wearing my contacts. My contacts are hit-and-miss, but have been missing a lot more recently than they’ve been hitting. For some reason, my right eye in particular stays blurry. Not prescription-out-of-date blurry, but a whole new level. If I put my left-eye contact in my right eye, I can see better than I can with my actual right-eye contact. I think it has to do with the fact that they are torics and they’re not adjusting appropriately. When they adjust is when they hit and when they don’t adjust they miss.

Anyway, being able to only see out of one eye when exploring the hinterlands of the market is quite challenging. I have to look twice as close at everything just to be able to read it. Text doesn’t jump out at you when you have to squint to read it. I am thinking that next time I go shopping, I will just wear my glasses.

One thing that is always helpful when cruising the supermarket is to have a really good confused expression. I’ve got this down pat. I never know when to give up and bother an aisleperson to ask to locate something. I don’t know how busy they are. But if you walk around with a good confused expression for a little while, they’ll find you! Incidentally, eyes made uncomfortable with contacts and the squinting that bad contacts require really helps you out in this regard. You can have the confused expression even when it’s not your intent.

I got help with the evaporated milk, which was next to the flour (who doesn’t like a nice helping of flour in their coffee?). The final thing was whole strawberries. I searched high and low for any sign bearing the words fruit, berries, strawberries, or even other frozen goods and found nothing. Where do strawberries go? Or, for that matter, where does fruit go? I first looked in the vegetable section and had no luck. Then I looked in the frozen meals section and found only frozen meals. The strawberries were, oddly enough, with the potatoes. No idea why. Why not with the vegetables? Yeah, yeah, I know that strawberries are not vegetables. But you know what else they aren’t? Potatoes.

Category: Market

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4 Responses to Aisle Navigation

  1. Peter says:

    Not long ago I had quite a time trying to find Q-tips at the supermarket. They weren’t in the health and beauty section, nor in the paper products section near tissues. It turns out that they were shelved among diaper and formulas in the baby products section. I don’t know what percentage of Q-tips are actually used on babies, but I’ll guess that it’s very, very low.

  2. Sheila Tone says:

    Peter, if it truly was a supermarket, they would normally be in the health and beauty section as well as the baby/child section.

    Shopping is hard work and goes better with experience. Men love to deride women for supposedly liking it, but it’s a bewildering chore for many men.

  3. David Alexander says:

    Re: Q-tips

    From my personal observations, Q-tips are generally found in health and beauty sections of big box stores and supermarkets…

    Shopping is hard work and goes better with experience.

    Maybe it’s because my mother used to lug me around the supermarket with her as child, but I don’t view shopping as something that’s magically difficult. One may be unfamiliar with a store layout, but once you’re used to a certain chain of supermarkets or big box stores, the layouts are relatively similar,and it simply becomes a matter of going and getting everything on your list and choosing best quality items that are offered (e.g. avoiding rotten fruits/vegetables or questionable meat/poultry/fish).

    I got help with the evaporated milk, which was next to the flour (who doesn’t like a nice helping of flour in their coffee?)

    Evaporated milk is generally used as an ingredient for baking. My mother and other Haitians of her generation swore by its use for baking macaroni and other forms of pasta for years.

  4. trumwill says:

    I’m not even sure most condescending men would suggest that women like grocery shopping. Neither Clancy nor I are particularly shopping-oriented whether it comes to groceries or retail goodies. Well, I guess I like looking at computer stuff and she likes looking at real estate… but we both hate shopping for clothes.

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