I hate shopping in all forms but I LOVE standing in line at the grocery store. I like few things better that seeing what other people pick up and place on the counter to be rung up. It’s a very voyeuristic habit of mine. I see what they have and imagine what kind of person they are and what kind of life they lead solely by the items they place before the cashier.

I think we normally go about our day mindful of our own business and oblivious to the small things we do that would appear strange to other people watching us. I know that when I’m in my car rocking out to the radio, singing at the top of my lungs, I’m completely unaware of anyone or anything other than the road and my tunes. But put me at Wegmans on a Saturday afternoon and I am a world-class anthropologist quietly observing and analyzing your tribal rituals. Of course, I’m completely taking these people’s live out of context, but I play the game all the same:

Young Woman buying ten pounds of red meat with about a dozen individual Lite yogurts: Just moved in with her boyfriend. Trust me, in six months that meat will be replaced with chicken and turkey and those yogurts will increase to about three dozen.

Middle-aged Woman shopping alone with 7 boxes of cereal, 5 gallons of all different juices, and a small Haagen-Dazs container of Chubby Hubby: Stay at home mother of 4 picky eaters who uses grocery shopping as a means to get a few hours to herself and hides that container of ice cream in the back of the freezer behind the peas and carrots for late night binges when the kids are asleep.

Man with a gallon of 2% milk, assorted yogurt, Motrin and a box of assorted tampons: a thoughtful and considerate boyfriend whom the girl should consider herself luck to have instead of thinking about the last bad-boy boyfriend who previously broke her heart.

Older couple with premium groceries and assorted imported food items: empty-nesters living it up after years of raising children who hated the food their parents fell in love with on their honeymoon to Italy that was a lifetime ago before kids and responsibility sucked the household food budget dry preventing the purchase of such beloved items.

Man with 2 boxes of KY, a box of condoms, and a meat tenderizing mallet: I really don’t know, I don’t care, and quite frankly, he freaked me out sufficiently that I took my basket to the next cashier over.

Oh, the things I do to amuse myself. Simple pleasures. Of course, I realize that the last guy could have a perfectly reasonable explanation for his purchase, and of course I realize that I could be completely wrong about everyone in line. But I’m a serious looky-loo in that situation and I enjoy it and anything is better that looking at those damn tabloid magazines. Jeez, I sound like the worst perverted lolcat:

“Im in UR food xking owt UR nawteez”…

So the next time you’re at the grocery store buying your stuff, just know that I’m out there. Watching. Taking note. And imagining your life’s story…

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