Other than watching the garbage truck flip the trash into its top in front of my house on Saturday mornings, going grocery shopping was the highlight of my life. When you’re young grocery shopping is amazing, mostly because it’s not your money. I used to find going grocery shopping therapeutic before I was the one paying for survival. Now whenever I go shopping I get pissed off knowing if I don’t do it I’ll die. I yearn for those older days when grocery shopping was a treat. Take a journey with me back to those days will ya?
The most unusual thing when I was a kid when it comes to grocery shopping is that my family didn’t stick with one specific store. There was Shop Rite, Acme, and Marazzo’s. All three were very different stores. All three had their charm. Shop Rite was gigantic and always had movies playing near the register. I remember my dad stopping for a smoke outside Shop Rite once and I went running into the street because I was so impatient. Somewhere out there this could have made a great anti-smoking campaign. Acme was the newer one to come around. What was great about Acme was it was opened 24 hours a day. When I was older I would never go shopping before midnight there. It was always 2 or 3 in the morning. I loved seeing creepy people buy middle of the night cheesecakes. Finally there was Marazzo’s which was more localized. It was owned by Sam Marazzo who once nearly screwed up my birthday because the cake my family ordered was not made. He did eventually come through and I’ve had fantastic birthdays ever since.
(I spent this last year alone watching the Snow White movie and eating fruit. You be the judge if I’m sarcastic saying it was fantastic)
It never mattered which store I was at, I always managed to cause mayhem. Going with the garbage truck theme, one game I would play with my sister was called garbage man. We would hang on the side of the shopping cart like a garbage man does to a garbage truck and jump off and grab food. Why was I obsessed with garbage when I was a little kid? Is this why I don’t own anything nice and everything I buy is used?
Another game I played had no name. It was simply grabbing large sticks of pepperoni from a barrel and sneaking it into the cart then hoping my dad didn’t see until we got to the check-out. A few times he didn’t and he’d laugh and buy the pepperoni. It was weird how obsessed with pepperoni I was when I was a kid. I remember eating it almost every day. I would also bite my coat collars a lot. When coat collar was bitten so often it actually smelt like pepperoni for years after. I wish this was not true.
(Who would ever need to buy this much pepperoni? This is why people are fat)
The only intrusive thing I ever did that would annoy me if I saw a kid doing today was running down the aisles and sliding on my knees. Remember though, this was back in the early 90s. People were still smoking in grocery stores so running and sliding without wheezing was seen as a miracle. Once I almost slid into the evil lunch aide from my elementary school, Mrs. Casa. She was a Spanish woman who for some reason spoke like an Austrian S.S. Officer. “Lunch is over. Please close your lunchboxes” was her catchphrase the children would all repeat. I think Mrs. Casa was smoking a cigar when I saw her in Shop Rite. I’m probably mistaken because my young racist mind always assumed she was related to Fidel Castro.
I think my sister was the one who ruined the grocery shopping fun. Once during a race at Acme I took a commanding lead. I turned the corner then looked back expecting to see her there. She wasn’t. I heard a crash then went to investigate. I looked down the aisle and saw her standing above a broken pickle jar. Glass was everywhere. Pickle spears fluttered on the ground or whatever it is pickle spears do. The manager came over and did managerial things and my sister has been so afraid of pickles ever since that she’s a lesbian now.
Now the most fun I ever have at the grocery store is finding something I like on sale. Why does it always come down to money to have a good time?
Share with me, do you have any fun stories about grocery shopping as a kid? Or did you have some other special place like the dump your parents would take you to for fun?