January 30, 2009

Shopping Cart Olympics

I'm afraid this is not a post about athletic contests involving shopping carts.

These do exist. The Chiditarod, for example, looks to be a real hoot. Teams of human "dawgs" pull shopping carts through freezing-ass Chicago streets for charity, complete with special guidelines for sabotaging other teams. What's not to like?

But no, this is about the imaginary Olympic Games that take place in my head when I go to the grocery store. I don't think I even realized how often I play these games until I saw a funny post by Marie from Mousearoo's Mumblings.

Marie confessed to being a "Judgy Mcjudgerson" because she noticed that the woman ahead of her at the store bought two items: hoodia, and a package of Rolo's candies. Marie questioned the wisdom of this combination.

Marie asked if other folks ever found themselves judging the purchases of others and I thought, holy crap, YES YES YES YES!!!

I am absurdly, ridiculously judgmental about the items people buy. Even though I may smile and make conversation with other shoppers as though I were a normal person, I'm secretly thinking:

"Hey, middle-aged wheezy guy with the large gut and red face and ear hair (ok, so the ear hair isn't relevant, it's just kinda gross)--yeah you, Mr. Good Chance of a Heart Attack on the Golf Course Next Weekend: Do you really need to buy all that bacon and salami and sour cream and chips and full-fat milk and pepperoni pizza and Ben and Jerry's? You think that one head of lettuce redeems that whole basket of junk? Buster, that's iceberg lettuce! It doesn't even count!!!"

You think it's immature and obnoxious to judge other people like that? Wait, it gets worse...

I actually feel competitive about the stuff in my cart. I want to have the healthiest bunch of groceries the cashier has seen that day or even that week.

Do I realize that neither the cashier nor anyone in line gives a rats ass what I buy? Well, yeah, if I think about it rationally. But what fun is being rational when self-delusion is so much more gratifying?

For other neurotic nutballs like myself who want to play shopping cart Olympics, here are some handy rules and tips. Notice that these rules are one-sided rules devised to make it easier to WIN! Because what's the point of competing in anything if you're gonna lose?

1. Judge others by your own standards: As we all know, there are many competing nutritional theories out there; research is often contradictory, and folks of different ages and life philosophies have different goals. So let's say you started on a vegan raw food diet two days ago because of something you read a magazine, and you are chatting with a 96 year old man behind you in line who has fought in 7 wars and still runs ultramarathons. If he has a steak in his shopping cart and you do not: score one for YOU!

2. Don't go to the Farmers Market the same day you go to the regular grocery store. Because you bought your produce there, right, and it was all healthy and organic and local? And now you've got nothing but your less impressive, somewhat processed, "compromise" foods in your cart. So yeah, you know you're going to put organic chard and garlic and local tomatoes in your "Barilla Plus" pasta tonight but how will the cashier and the people in line know that?

Defensive trick: If you are shopping with a family member or a significant other, you can restore any lost Farmers Market credit by working anything you bought there into the conversation. Yes, you will sound like a total jerk, but isn't it worth it to let everyone know that you get better produce at the Farmers Market than at the big chain grocery store?

3. Shop only for yourself. What if a friend or relative asks you to pick up a case of Red Bull, a bag of Oreo Double Stuffs, and a carton of cigarettes? People are going to think you're buying them for yourself!!!! It's almost as bad as when your grandmother runs out of that big bottle of her favorite laxative.

Tip: You can ask the cashier questions about these products to clarify that they're not for you: "My friend wants, um, a package of "Marlboros" but she didn't say what kind. Do they come in different colors?"

4. Special rules apply at super healthy hippy stores: It's no fun to play grocery cart Olympics if everyone around you has piles and piles of exotic produce, dried legumes and unrecognizable grains bought in bulk, cheeses made from the milk of unfamiliar mammals, foreign fermented unpronounceable curds, green juices, seaweed and hemp-based food items, etc. Especially if they remembered their reusable little canvas market bags and you never got around to buying one in the first place!

So in this case: You get bonus points for shopping at the same place as these uber-healthy, gastronomically adventurous creatures. This means you get credit for everything healthy in THEIR carts too, just because you shop at the same store. In this case, the cashier is not the imaginary judge who will award you your medal; rather, it is all the people "out there" who might be hypothetically impressed that you shop at such a virtuous establishment.

5. This last tip is so obvious I forgot to include it the first time and had to re-edit: Don't play the game when you've got too much crap in your own cart! We all have those days when we deserve some junk, or at least manage to talk ourselves into the idea that we deserve some junk. Just like an Olympic athlete doesn't need to enter every event, an Olympic Neurotic Competitive Shopper gets to sit out a few contests and freely toss Snickers bars or Pringles tubes or whatever into the cart. No one will notice, right?

Does anyone else feel either Smug or Sheepish about what you put in your cart? Do you notice what anyone else is buying?


  1. I actually dont. Definitely now (Im so so focused on getting in and out with minimal toddlertantrums OR without my snapping at her and having other mothers give me THAT LOOK. as if they have nevah EVAH done it before :)) but even before.
    I was never one to give a rats arse what others ate.


    as a kid, however, I did all the time.
    as we waited in lines which FELT like eons Id look around and decide with whom Id rather go home...

  2. Hilarious post Crabby!!

    What I always wondered was, how come they put the produce part at the front of the store because by the time I put my fruity pebbles in the cart, that ends up on top and my celery and carrot glory is all hidden. hrmmph...I'm writing a letter demanding change!

    Have a great weekend!

  3. ROFL - Oh. Wait. I'm a Judgy McJudgerson, too!

    As far as what's in my cart, don't care what people think about the contents, as I'm getting enough strange looks for organizing my groceries by department at the checkout, and not for the large quantities of chocolate chips, butter and whipping cream... I hope.

  4. Heh...I do.
    I play "match the cart". When you see an aisle with a few people in it not near their carts it's a little game for me to try and match the cart contents to the person, or guess which thing they'll go for on a shelf. Usually you can tell the granola peeps from the cheetos and ice cream peepe. Evey once in a while there's a complete mismatch tho. Which of course leads to more imaginings of why.

    I always feel silly at the till as I dislike grocery shopping so we try and get as much as we can in one monthly shot so our cart is overflowing. If they call for a second cart when they rebag our stuff at the till I know all the other judgy mcjudgesters are giggling up a storm :)

  5. Oh yes, I look, I judge. And I've been judged. The shame! The SHAME!

    I had a guy call me a hippie because I brought my own grocery bags and had bought, as he put it, "twigs and grass".

    I still chuckle about that. Wish I would have looked in his cart. I'm guessing pork rinds and large amounts of American cheese.

  6. I won't play unless someone else engages me. If for example, my basket is full of fruits & veggies and yogurt with the exception of ONE indulgence food, and someone comments on how I "almost made it" without buying junk food, I will make a sarcastic comment about their food (and it's usually really mean. But they shouldn't comment on other people's foods).

  7. Ok, ok, I admit it, my guilty secret is that I have become a processed food snob. I look at all those prepared things, and I turn up my nose, and go, you could *make* that!

  8. I love checking out what other people are buying! There are a lot of students where I shop - very easy to identify them. I like to try and guess what everyone's having for dinner that evening.

    One bloke the other day had all the ingredients for lasagne except tomatoes - he was with a mate and told his mate he didn't need any as he didn't put them in lasagne. I was intrigued...

  9. I don't do this on a regular basis, but occasionally when I see someone who looks like a heart attack waddling, I find myself counting the bags of potato chips and other processed food in their carts (and trying to hide the bag of potato chips in my OWN cart!!)

    I spend most of my time trying to make sure my CartSmart bag is covering the handle where I place my hands..... I know - I'm a germ freak.

  10. It's true, the supermarket can be a "war zone!" Definitely a mixed bag of experiences, at least in my world.

  11. Hilarious post. I always feel righteous when the cashier doesn't know what something is...or I have to help him/her tell if it's cilantro or parsley.

    I'm probably a bad person for that. lol.

  12. When I'm standing in line at the checkout I will often notice what others around me have in their carts; what else am I going to do while I'm waiting around. And yeah, sometimes I do find myself comparing the contents of the cart with the person buying them. What is the skinny person buying? That overweight person should not be loading up on white bread and potato chips...Kinda hard not to when you're standing around with nothing else to look at.

    And yeah, sometimes I am conscious of what's in my cart, wondering what other people think. I always tried to tell myself that no one was looking at what was in my cart, but now I know people are and I can justify my paranoia...Thanks!


  13. I don't really look at people's carts, but I do look at what the person whose groceries are on the conveyor belt in front of mine look like. But I don't really judge them on their choices. I just like to guess whether they are buying for just themselves, them and a partner, or a whole family.

    I judge MYSELF on what I put in my cart. Some weeks it's filled with frozen foods. Some weeks it's filled with produce. I usually feel guilty when it's mostly frozen items.

  14. Huge confession....I worked as a cashier in the grocery store for about two years and I totally had the same thoughts in my head while checking out 300 bucks worth of peoples groceries!! Things like, oh gross, you are totally buying actual LARD, and the occaisional snicker to myself because a man is buying tampons. Which now makes me ultra paranoid at the check out and the store and makes it easier not to "slip" and buy a box of ding dongs.

  15. On #4, do I get extra points for having made my own denim shopping bag? In 1977 and it's still good?

    Out here in the country when you see someone buying nothing but meat and packaged goods you are required to consider it a fifty per cent chance that they really do grow all their fruit and vegetables and freeze and can it.

    (Then there are the people who bulk shop. I was entertained last month when I was behind a couple with a shopping cart full of nothing but meat. They had six children with them, and I wondered how long it took them to eat $300 worth of meat.)

    Mary Anne in Kentucky

  16. So I'm not the only one who does this, hooray! Also, I had to re-edit to include the obvious: there are plenty of days when I've thrown too much crap in my own cart to play!

    Geosomin, I love the idea of playing "match the cart!" Will have to check that out next time I'm at the store.

    And whobody, that's fascinating/disturbing about the fact that cashiers actually DO notice!

    Mary Anne, you indeed get TRIPLE credit for bringing a handmade vintage shopping bag to the store. If it's denim and 40 years old, it must be a true Hippy Classic!

  17. When I was a wee lass in my 20's, I used to buy 'buffer' products to mask the real reason for my shopping trip for condoms or tampons.

    Now I don't even mind going to the 20-something male checker for my ladythings; but I feel sheepish buying tortilla chips or ice cream.

    Also if we're having a week where it's necessary to re-stock the pantry with different varieties of crackers, we usually won't be buying other indulgences because it's irritating to see that much wasted money in my cart.

  18. I buy online. So its not so much about the other shoppers as it is about the delivery guy, who really doesn't give a rat's arse about what I'm eating, or in what quantities. So I still find myself asking him stupid questions like "Has the quinoa been replaced with anything?" to try and score points.

    I am SUCH a loser!!!

  19. God will get me for this since I’m a huge supermarket Olympics player. I find that I play the game way before the checkout line though. I'm interested in all parts of the store and really get the game started in the pharmacy aisle. Thinking what awful disease this person is trying to cover up and award a point vale on how bad I think it is. I also award point for the various garments that individuals will come to the store in. Definitely 5 points for anyone caught with curlers in their hair. Midriff showing around a 40 inch stomach, on purpose, 10 points. If there is someone that is so large they allow only one cart through the snack aisle, a whopping 50 points. Of course they are usually on motorized scooters where their girth seeps beyond the midway point. Anyone reaching 100 points before leaving is crowned winner for that visit.

  20. ha, yes, i do!!! whenever i buy a cart full of fresh produce and fish, etc. i think 'i'm gonna be the healthiest shopper this cashier has seen all day.'

    i also group my items by type as i place them on the conveyor, then judge the bagger by how competently they group things in bags... and am invariably annoyed every time i go to the one grocery where the bagger decides to put about half the items in bags all by themselves. and the rest in completely illogical combinations.

  21. I have to admit that I have judged what people have bought in the check out lanes, though it doesn't stop me from buying ice cream and such. Since I tend to cook most things by hand, it's sometimes incredulity at how much processed stuff people are buying. But then I just remind myself that I'm little big of a food snob, and not everyone has the time.

    I remember reading a thread on the Straight Dope (a message board) a long time ago where someone was ranting about a really fat guy who was buying donuts at dunkin'. And there was so much vitriole that came out, with people blasting someone for buying donuts when they were already large. I try to think about that when I start judging...that I don't know if maybe they've eaten healthy all week and this is their one treat, that kind of thing. Doesn't stop the judging in my head, but it helps put it in perspective...

  22. One summer when I was in college I worked as a cashier. At a drug store, much less entertaining, so I rarely noticed what people bought.
    Except for the time a man came up to the counter and said, defensively, "Don't laugh!"
    Then he put down on the counter a contraceptive and a pregnancy test kit.

  23. Good point. Leth, about the unfairness of judging a person's lifestyle based on one purchase!

    And I don't think I judge fat people differently, unless it looks like a danger-to-health situation, but I do need to be careful about this!

  24. I must be abnormal. I do not pay attention to anyone elses cart and pretty much don't care who looks at mine and is secretly judging me. I swear I can tell my own doctor secretly judges me about my weight when I go into her office and probably scoffs at the idea that I'm doing 9 hours of workouts a week...I should be a size 2 for all the working out I do and I eat really healthy so if my own doctor judges me by just looking at me I have no hope for the average person and I simply do not care. LOL

  25. Merry, that's so funny! I went to the pharmacy one time and bought a set of paper bags and some anxiety meds. I bet that pharmacy tech was laughing inside...

  26. I don't judge, but I can't help but notice. Especially if it's something really odd like K Y jelly and a cucumber, you've gotta wonder.

    I myself get noticed because I walk to a local grocery store at least four times a week to load up on fruits and veggies. Because my husband got a temporary crown on his tooth the other day, I was buying stuff like Jello pudding snacks and ice cream. The check-out guy said "Hey, this isn't the kind of stuff you usually buy!" and I had to explain myself

  27. Im so guilty of doing this!! And I honestly do feel 'proud' as I push my little cart around containing mass amounts of produce, whole wheat bread, skim milk, egg beaters, turkey bacon, Kashi cereal...etc. I can't help it!

  28. This post is fantastic. When I go grocery shopping with the men in my life we each use our own hand baskets and unload them onto the same conveyor at the end. This way the cashier can see my healthy stuff before it gets mixed with their stuff.

  29. I did that when I first quit drinking...anyone with more than one bottle of wine in their cart automatically became an alcoholic, lol! Mostly now I just marvel at people with carts filled to the brim, thinking "how can they afford all of that crap?"

  30. LOL! Great post!
    Yeah, I always feel secretly shameful when I put my load of groceries up on the belt.

    However it is never guilty enough to make me put back that tub of Reduced Fat CoolWhip!
    (I swear i make a relatively healthy desert with it! Strawberries and Reduced Fat CoolWhip! I swear!)


  31. Crab, (hope you don't mind me calling you Crab)
    I think fat people judge fat people more brutally but that judgement is coming from someone who's been fatter and made judgements. I have never been a thinnish person judging a fattish person about their food. Only a fattish person judging a fatter person about their food and shaking my head and condemning the food industry for making that kind of crap to begin with. Not to mention grousing about the BIG BOX stores stocking that crap.

    I take a tarp to throw over my cart contents. Anyone caught looking at my cart contents pays for it later in the parking lot.

    I liked Judgy McJudgerson. Is that person going to have a reality show?

  32. I rarely judge other folks carts, I'm too worried about them judging what's in mine. Now I realize I was right to worry...great.

    And, you are right, the cashier really could not give a rats butt what's in anyones cart..I worked at a grocery for years.

  33. "I always feel righteous when the cashier doesn't know what something is..." I have this happen occasionally. They never know what a rutabaga is.

    And oh yes, I am silently judging you. I'm not playing the game; I'm holding up the signs: 9.2, 4.5, 7.6, 2.1....

    My husband usually does the grocery shopping, and he comes home with junk and I pitch fits about it, but it doesn't do any good.

    And for some reason he likes buying tampons and stuff because it makes him look really feminist. Chicks dig that, I guess.

  34. Hmmm. I'm more likely to worry about other people judging what's in MY basket than I am to judge other people's. (Yeah. Because I'm the center of the universe, don'cha know.)

    And what embarrasses me is in direct proportion to how I feel about my body on any given day. Feeling fat? I'm embarrassed to buy ice cream (because ya know, I'M FAT). But I'm also embarrassed to buy "diet" food, because I'm afraid people are looking at me thinking, "Well thank GOD that poor fatty is buying diet food. She needs it!"

    Oddly, when I'm thinner, I'm actually MORE self-conscious about what I buy because being more conscious of my body makes me think I'm fat.

    But you know what I'm really embarrassed by? No matter what weight I'm at? Trashy magazines! InStyle, People, Cosmo . . . I have a deep unhealthy love of those magazines, and I won't go through a line that has a male checker when I buy them.

    Hm. I didn't realize I was such a neurotic basket case! Ha!

  35. Love this one!

    I've developed a special system of loading my items onto the conveyor so that the "worst" foods go first and into the bags before being spotted. I intentionally leave all of the produce, skim milks, and whole grains (along with a carefully selected bottle of red wine - which will last a couple of days - NOT!) get piled up at the end where everyone can see!

    And yes, I LOVE having to tell the clerk that those are "organic yukon golds" or "brocollini".

    Geez. I really need a life!

  36. I look, but then I remember that things are not always as they appear.

    I hate how when I go shopping, I occasionally get the nodding approval and smiles as I am placing all the veggies and chicken on the checkout belt, but if, instead, I am placing whole milk, butter, cheese, peanut butter, sausage, and even cookies up there, people judge. I'm so fat, right? I don't have any business buying those foods, right?

    Wrong... I am buying them for my chronically ill, 29-pound 3 1/2 year old who was born with medical issues and who needs as many calories as she can get. But even if they were for myself, who's to judge but me?

    So when I see that fat woman driving a motorized cart with ice cream and chocolate pudding in her cart, I remember that she might be buying them for her sick husband who just went through chemo and can't stomach anything else.

  37. Oh, I love it!!! I used to be a cashier at a grocery store in college and let me tell you that I totally judged what people put on my conveyor belt. Most of the time I was good about keeping it quiet but a few times I'm pretty sure my face gave it away.

    And also, am totally cracking up at MizFit's "ps". That's what MY kids do.

  38. I don't judge, truthfully I'm not even concerned about what other people have in their cart. But I do often wonder what others are thinking about my own cart and always feel a little odd when I run into the store on Friday evening to grab a frozen pizza and some cookies. I often forget that stuff at the regular grocery trip and since Friday night is my night off from cooking, if I don't already have stuff we can toss together for pizza, I go grab a frozen one. So I know what people are thinking because I AM fat but I really don't care. Let 'em judge. It's my body and I'll put what I want in it whether it's healthy or not.

  39. I never notice what other people have in their carts. Hell, I never notice other people except as obstacles to avoid. I have shaken my head at myself, when I am in the checkout, wondering why I picked up stuff, but never enough to not buy it.

  40. I don't really watch what other people put in their carts but I feel guilty if I have something not so good in mine :)........like the healthy food police are going to write me a citation ;)

  41. This is so funny!
    I used to be SO JUDGMENTAL about grocery carts! But I saved the worst judgments for myself. The scary thing is, this actually came from something i saw on TV when I was in my early 20's, and it stuck with me for years. Some TV host went around a grocery store with a skinny, bitchy model, sabotaging unsuspecting customers and TAKING "UNHEALTHY" food OUT OF THEIR CARTS!!!!!
    It was supposed to be funny, but it was awful!

  42. When I first saw the title of this post, I thought others had caught on to one of our favorite college games, where we pushed each other around campus in a shopping cart and the team with the fastest time won. I don't remember what the prize was, but it probably involved alcohol.

    Anyway, I rarely even notice what's in someone else's cart unless they're ahead of me in line and taking for-ev-ah about it. I do wish, though, that cashiers wouldn't comment on my purchases. No, I don't want to talk about my food, thanks. Just scan it.

    My big shopping sport is simply trying to get down the aisles. I don't know why people insist on blocking entire aisles with their carts, but if there's a way to do it, someone will, even if it means parking the cart at a truly bizarre angle. They must think only certain people deserve a chance to select a pasta sauce.

  43. I am mostly judgmental about people who, in this day and age, STILL WRITE CHECKS. grrr. Especially when they don't start looking for their checkbook/pen/glasses/etc until AFTER everything is run up. double grr.

  44. I'm definitely judgmental in the checkout line, and keep it to myself. More often than not I'm just wishing that people had better nutritional habits.

    A grocery store is worthy my patronage ONLY if they have a good produce section and knowledgable produce manager. I do actually talk with them; they like the interaction too.

    Taking the whole judgmental thing one step further: if you give me a grocery store receipt, I can pretty much tell a lot about you. It's kind of fun (in a geek sort of way).

  45. Yessir, I am one of those who doesn't notice other peoples' stuff until I'm bored in line. But I am super aware that others may be judging me.

    When I go to the pricey food store I only get certain things. I'm skinny so I always go to a male cashier who's less likely to judge me for buying produce, tea and tempeh.

    When I go to the big, cheap grocery store I actually get sick kicks out of being obviously fit and having a cart bursting with Little Debbies, chips, etc. (They're mostly for my family. They're trying to cut down.) I feel like if people are going to judge me without knowing the full picture let them be extremely perplexed and entirely wrong.

  46. Holy cow, Crabby - I thought I was the only one who did this (and your rules are pretty much like my own)! It's long been a secret "game" of mine where my judgemental side comes out - although i would NEVER say anything like that to anyone, and usually don't even think it... but pull out the grocery carts and there goes my internal commentator!

  47. I've never really done the judgment thing except for very fat people who have nothing but junk in the cart, I usually do a double take, then feel sorry for them.

    Me, I'm not real happy when all I have is a half gallon of gin and 2 bottles of cream sherry and 5 or 6 packs of cigs in a basket, and it's all for my Mom, but I accept that's just how it is. I don't feel a need to say anything, but if the clerk gets the short Marlboros and I can say "No, my Mom refuses to smoke those, even if they are a better deal", because it's true. But people can think what they think.

  48. I try not to - especially since maybe they're buying the fattening stuff for other people and good stuff for them. That's how it is in my house - hubby refuses to eat healthy. Besides, I teach psychology (most of us don't learn from teh teachings though). Used to do it all the time when I was younger though.
    I have my own special vice of road and shopping rage (hate traffic of any kind and get pisssssssssy).

    Oh, crap. I just realized that I do judge cashiers and people in front of me that are especially slow. My game is trying to take as less time as possible in the lane (swiping my card before the cashier is done so that it processes right away). Dang. Thought I was doing good on the non judgmental part! We're all Judgie Mcjudgers in some way I guess.

  49. Oh Crabby,

    I am very judgmental.

    I'm really working on it, but still.

    But, the grocery store--usually, I just want to get through the torture of shopping as quickly as possible. (I am a rare breed of woman who truly loathes shopping--clothes shopping even--I know, I know!) I stick to my list, and zoom on through.

    The checkout line, I'm usually reading stupid magazines that are "beneath" me in day to day life.

    But, the one thing that does throw me into hyper-judge mode is people with gihugic orders who use 50 bazillion plastic bags. They sell canvas bags at the store for $1 (so if you forget your bags, you can at least buy a couple).

    I NEVER forget my canvas bags. Plastic kills wildlife and wastes resources. Paper's no better. Love the Earth people--she's your Mama!

    And you thought YOU were judgmental, oh crabby one...

  50. I'm less worried about how other shoppers judge me than the supermarket's own virtual intelligence system.

    Just today, I purchased a bottle of wine, some aged cheese and a package of hair scrunchies.

    In turn, the machine spat out a coupon for $5.00 off KY Lube.


  51. Funniest post I've read tonight. LOL thanks, I needed the laugh. I can so relate. Thanks for the tips. Have a great weekend.

  52. I realize I have now revealed the true extent of my immaturity, but at least a few of you occasionally stoop to my level.

    And Camevil, that is too funny about the KY coupon! They must have determined from the wine and cheese that you were all set up for an amorous evening... but the scrunchies are a puzzler. I'm sure there's some way of using scrunchies in an erotic scenario... perhaps I just don't get out enough.

  53. I'm certainly observant of what other people are putting on the belt behind me, but I'm not (always) judgemental about it.

    Instead, I like to try and guess what they're going to make with their groceries. Like the lady with pasta, sauce, and garlic bread is probably making a spaghetti dinner. And the one with a big roast, potatoes, carrots, and onions is probably making pot roast. And the guy with 6 tubes of Jimmy Dean Sausage, 2 bags of frozen hash browns, 4 pounds of bacon, and a carton of egg beaters...well, he's trying. See? I judged him a little.

    I SO had this experience in the grocery store this week when a lady from my Weight Watchers meeting was in line behind me with bottled water and frozen veggies while I was buying stuff for TACOS. Oops!

  54. I shop at a "healthy hippy store" of sorts (Trader Joes.) And I buy our entire week + of groceries for our family of four there because I am such a fan of their store. But I am always inwardly embarrassed because the other customers are just buying like one meal's worth of food and my cart is heaping to overflowing. I could swear I detect evil eyes from the cashier when I'm not looking, then smiling and beaming when I'm looking.

  55. Usually I'm so busy piling my stuff onto the conveyer belt I don't have a chance to judge, but sometimes as I'm waiting to get rung up (I buy A LOT) someone will pop in behind me--a liter of soda, some boxed up sugary snacks, big hunk of meat, etc.--and yes, OF COURSE, I feel smug. But I'm the same woman who judges the other urine samples left in the doctor's office when they are much yellower than mine:-)

  56. Cranky, I hate it when you write something and I feel as if you wrote it specifically with ME in mind! And I'd really like to say that it's only about what's in the shopping cart....but (ok, I've improved I can honestly say I don't do this anymore) I used to also judge what was behind the cart as in: "fatter than me" and "thinner than me" as if I was some sort of gold standard for where people should be. Ha ha!

  57. I thought Crabby was talking about me when she wrote this post ;)

  58. My wife and I joke about this. When she shops, she is easily distracted. By sales and other people's carts. I detest shopping, so I invariably have a list. I walk into the store, buy what's on my list, and walk out. I try my best not to get distracted by what other shoppers are doing. Its all I can do to keep up with what I need, and keep my kids from killing one another during the process...

  59. i've never done this before ... but now that i've read this? i'm so going to be looking in other people's carts the next time i'm at the grocery store.


  60. i just have shopping cart rage.. stupid people taking up the entire isle! get out of the way!! :)

    and Camevil's KY coupon.. I get formula coupons EVERY time i'm at the store, even tho my lil one has never even tasted it... kinda irritates me. But the KY? that's too funny! and Crabby.. where's your imagination with the scrunchy?!?

  61. Ahaha. I don't care so much what other people eat, but I'm curious as to what meals they're planning on making with their food. Especially people who don't have a lot of groceries. Say, a jar of peanut butter, a carton of eggs, some apples and a loaf of bread. Are they going to eat all that together in one dish? Are they buying it for someone else? The possibilities are endless!

    (Can you tell I used to write lots and lots of fiction? :D)

    But I'm not going to lie, I feel awesome when I go to the grocery store and only pick up really healthy stuff hehe.

  62. I used to be a CVS cashier and I totally judged what people bought. I always cracked up after someone bought birth control and I told them to have a "good night."

  63. Yup, count me in the "neurotic nutball" category. Never used to be a cart voyeur until recently. I even wrote about when it all began here. Now, I can't help it. What else is there to look at waiting in line? Trashy tabloids?

  64. hilarious... are you sure you werent in our local walmart ? :)

    gp in montana

  65. I'm an early 40's veteran of the southern California triathlon scene, and I try not to be too judgemental, but sometimes you just can't help it. When someone unloads a massive cart of TV dinners, Sara Lee, chips, dip, Wonder bread, Oscar Meyer, American singles, icecream, Ho-ho's etc., and four 2-liter bottles of Diet Coke, there should be an 'Athlete Dispensation' for one (1) slap up the side of their head.

  66. LOL Crabby. I think umm...you might need to have your meds adjusted slightly, and for the love of whomever you choose, please be sure to forward this one to the professional counselor of your choice - I have a list of mine that I can send if you need it. :)

    Seriously - I JUST discussed this with my wife, as I was standing in Costco the other day and found myself casting judgment on the large person ahead of me (keeping in mind that I too am a large-ish one), thinking, "Umm...yeah do you really need that case of Pepsi and the gigantic sized bag of Ruffles?"

    Thanks for easing my conscience. I feel much better now, and much better equipped. :)

  67. too funny! I do look at what other people buy, and I have extreme paranoia that people are looking in my cart and judging me! lol

  68. Haha, I did this today! The mom with the Squirt in her cart. The other mom with the Ritz crackers in her cart. I was so proud of myself for sticking to the perimeter of the store and buying tons of organic or all natural products. You can't help but feel a little self-righteous as you stand in the line, blocking the woman behind you from putting her items on the conveyor belt because you're busy inspecting the ingredients on the last-minute dark chocolate bar potential purchase. You of course put it back because it's not organic cacao.

  69. I find myself keeping myself getting irritated with all of the "bad manners"....people stopping in the middle of an aisle holding up traffic on both side without a care in the world. I am weird that way! :)

  70. I'm really judgmental about other people's carts, especially when I shop in the store near me where a lot of food stamps get used. It KILLS me to see people with foodstamps buying tons of soda, fake juice (like Capri Sun pouches), and processed foods. I just want to be like "look at my cart! Get some produce!"

  71. Now I have all kinds of new games to play at the market - I like the cart match game. Usually Super Wal-Mart on either the 1st or the 15th is a great place to go feel better about yourself and the food you buy. I see carts piled high with frozen pizzas, breakfast sandwiches, ersatz soda and the like. I gloat with my cart of veggies. Of course they're hiding the ginger snaps and wine underneath, but they don't count since you can't see them. Right?

  72. I shop only at TJs, farmer's market, a local "hippie" grocery, and sometimes I go elsewhere (Whole Foods or some non-vegetarian hippie grocery), for meat or fish. I rarely buy produce, so it's always grains, cheese, meat, dairy, etc. I wonder sometimes what they must think, but produce is EXPENSIVE at these shops.


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