The Public Eye

printed 08/14/2020

It has occurred to me that I may be able to make gobs of money and perform a great community service by being helpful in this time of need.

After listening and listening to complaints from one who suffers from Traumatic Grocery Shopping Syndrome, I have seen the need and am ready to act.

I’m starting a grocery store guide service for old guys who are, because of the pandemic, venturing forth into a world heretofore unknown to them, the supermarket.

We all know who they are. They would be the ones who — in the immediate pre-mask months — stand in the middle of the aisle with their carts while gazing blankly at the ceiling with their mouths open.

This semi-catatonic state might occasionally be punctuated by a phone conversation that on his end goes, “Well, just tell me what aisle it’s in then.”

I’m no expert grocery shopper, given as I am to impulse buys — “Ooooh something shiny!” — as well as being a sucker for two-for-one anything — “You bought two bags of kitty litter? We don’t even have a cat!” — and any food-like product that’s orange, crisp and fried.

But I do know things like dairy is always in the back, produce is up front or on the right, and that chips, nuts, pretzels and other building blocks of life have an aisle all to themselves in the middle.

But it’s gotten so bad lately with all the old guy newcomers that my wife has been wearing her nighttime bite guard so she won’t grind her teeth to nubs as Homer, in Aisle 3, for instance, doesn’t block her as he yells in his cell phone, “But I AM reading the label.” Or, “I’m in aisle seven and I don’t see it anywhere. Ohhhhh, the other aisle seven.”

She came home recently grumbling more than usual, and when I asked what the problem was, she said, “There was an old guy staring at the spice shelves for 20 minutes. I needed just one thing. But would he move? No. He just stood there until I said, “Believe it or not, poppy seeds have nothing to do with the male reproductive system.” That got him to turn toward me just enough so I could reach around him, grab the Old Bay and beat it out of there.”

Considering all this, I figure my Grocery Store Guide Service for Old Men has national potential.

We’ll charge just a small percentage of the total bill to lead old guys to wherever their list tells them to go, with a bonus to be paid on everything we prevent them from buying because it just looks interesting.

For an extra 10 bucks, we’ll dress up the cart like a duck blind, or, if he’s not into that, a center console model with outriggers.

I think it will work. But alas, I will not be one of these guides and will remain behind the scenes in an administrative position.

I’m not allowed to shop anymore, possibly because of my last outing, when I couldn’t find the Pupperoni dog snacks. Apparently, Vienna sausages were not viewed as an appropriate substitute. Even at two-for-one.

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