Have you ever really paid attention to the things people buy, and in what combination, when you are at a grocery store?

My first realization that this could have any entertainment value was several years ago when I suddenly realized that I was in line with a bag of water balloons, strawberry jello, whip cream and panty hose.  Wait… it gets worse… I was sixteen and when I got to the counter, the clerk made the comment, “Fun time planned for tonight?”  I laughed, having pretty much no clue what the meaning of his comment was until I got home that night and explained to my mother what was said.

OK… everything except the pantyhose were for my little brother’s birthday… the panty hose were because my mom tore the only pair that she had left and needed me to get her another pair for work.  I was the one that had to go to the store for her and buy them.  Not something that is fun for a teenager that is already having problems getting in with the girls at school.

Since that time, the process of watching what other purchase has been a hobby of mine.  Not something that I dedicate a lot of time to, but I do make it a point to pay attention to others in line when I am at the checkout counter.

There are varying classes of these buying mistakes that people make.  I am sure that 90% of them are purely coincidentally, but I am sure that there are those last 10% that are as the result of some sinister plan.  Some act of creative fetishism that springs beyond the scope of the normal.

I will cover some of the things that I recall seeing here.  I will also try to give one or two possible reasons for the purchases to be made in that combination.

  • The Nervous Vegan -   I recall a time when I was in line behind a woman who had a shopping cart full of fruits and vegetables.  She also had some other minor kitchen items as well, but towards the end of her unloading her cart and the only reason that I even took note of her in the first place was the event that raised my eyebrows.  She lifted a bag of cucumbers out of the cart and placed in on the belt.  A moment or two later, she placed a tube of KY Jelly on the belt and immediately covered it with a magazine.

OK… So maybe that one was a little too obvious.  Who knows, maybe there was a logical reason for the two items that had nothing to do with what I, and maybe you, were thinking.  Maybe she was going to make cucumber salad that night and also had plans with her beau.

  • The Heavy Metal romantic -  Sometimes what I see is a little less clandestine.  The person buying the items is pretty much telling the world what he or she has planned right of the mark.  Like the person I saw in a Super WalMart in Gilroy, once.  When I got to the counter, there was a gentlemen who was, based on the clothes and the piercings, obviously a little bit into the punk/rock/etc scene.  His selection for that days purchase was a pair of silk boxers, an AC/DC DC, bottle of cheap wine and a box of condoms.  There is little doubt was this guy had in mind.  Let’s just be glad he was playing safely.

I tend to find the most amusing things I see like this are in the mega stores.  The places like the Super WalMarts, Heartland Target Stores and the like.  You have so much selection in these places that it is just a matter of time before you see something that makes you laugh or just really wonder.

  • The Would Be Babysitter – Of the ones I have seen, this is my favorite, unfortunately while I can recall most of what this person bought, I cannot recall what store it was at.  The person in front of me had what looked like all the makings for a fun day at a children’s day care.  Lots of coloring books and crayolas.  A few toys and some balls.  Even a couple “whiffle balls and bats” so that we could tell that there was a “Whiffle Ball” game in the near future for someone.  Then, when I saw toward the bottom of the flatbed he was pushing, I noticed about 100 feet of nylon rope and at least two sets of the electronic dog collars.  You know, the ones that shock the dog if it gets too far from the house or to stop them from barking.  If you were to ask me… they are perfect items for a Daycare.
  • The Evil Bartender – Saw this in a Von’s grocery store a couple if years ago shortly before New Years Day.  A young lady had a cart full of liquor and mixers for what looked like it was going to be a great party.  Rum, Vodka, Tequila, then there was the fruits and other items.  At the end, when the cart was almost empty, she placed two bottles of Drano on the belt, some cat food and a bottle of bleach.   I am not sure that this is a party I would want to attend after all.
  • Dangerous Lonely Housewife – Again, at a Von’s.  Lady in front of me buys a Ladies Home Journal, Us, People and another rag, then puts a bottle of Vodka, lemons and beer on the belt.  Why is it that I had mental pictures of this lady sitting on toilet, doing shots and reading her magazines, all while crying about something that happened to her.
  • From the “Honorable Mention in Love” category – Saw a guy once with a frozen pizza, six pack of beer and a “I’m Sorry” card.
  • From the “How not to say I Love You” Category – Again in the grocery store… guy buys a butcher knife, box of plastic garbage bags and a dozen roses.  I read the news papers for about a week after that one, looking for something that might have fit the image I had in my head.

These are just a few items.  I am sure that, when you think about it, you will see these.  If you never did before, hopefully this article will fire up that funny little section of your brain that will now start making these associations when you see the person in front of you in line at the store.  Now you might take note and realize that there might be something more to THAT story!

If you happen to run into a situation like this or something that you would like to share, please do so.

Samuel Wright
Writer / Father / Listener / Philosopher
I am a starving writer living in the backwater of California, in a place known mostly for Buck Owens and Valley Fever called Bakersfield.

This site is my release. A place for me to talk about things that annoy, please, or excite me.