Sunday, June 22, 2014

You Get What You Take: Bad Choices = Bad Results

While at the grocery store this morning, it was impossible to not notice the woman in front of me, partly because more than half her body weight was made up of fat. While that's a common enough sight here in America, it's still disturbing. The other reason was that she was asking for a subtotal after every item rang up and she had about fifty of them. This of course dragged out her food buying process at least an extra fifteen minutes.

It was likewise impossible to not notice how she prioritized what she was buying, based upon the order of which she put them on the counter to be checked and bagged.

Case of soda? Check.
Box of garbage sugar cereal? Check.
Cans of pork and something I've never heard of? Check
Frozen, breaded corn dogs? Check. 
Bags of chips? Check.

Most of the other food items she bought, I didn't recognize. Cans, boxes, plastic containers all sporting lables I've never bought and honestly don't remember ever seeing on the shelves. But then I've always tried to keep prepackaged, processed food to a minimum and since I was raised that way, I don't even see most of that stuff as being "food". 

Finally, she reached the last few items in her cart. She seemed slightly anxious as to whether they were going to push her payment over the acceptable price limit: What were these last items?
Raw tomatoes, fresh mushroom and bunches of beets.

As she approached the $80 mark (I'm assuming her cut off point) you could see the tension on her face. Brow crinkled, she struggled between fresh vegetables and a giant portion of bakery cake she suddenly extracted from the front section of the cart where people typically put their valuables such as children, purses and raw eggs.

Cake in hand, her face puckered as she looked back and forth between the produce items and the white frosted full day worth of calories. I shifted my weight from one foot to the other and resting my elbow on my cart, propped my chin on my hand. The checker waited. I waited. The five people in line behind me waited.

After another infinite moment of what must have been gut wrenching effort to judge the value of the items left, the woman plunked the cake down on the conveyer belt and glancing around, skooted one bunch of beets near it. $80.24 showed up on the screen. Those were her final items.

She breathed a sigh of relief that her fat insurance was safely bagged and tucked back into her car and started making jokes. "Only three items to put back, I did good this time."

I worked hard to keep my face emotionless. Meanwhile the rejected nutrition make it's way back to the "return cart" pile.   

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