By Jerry Zezima
The Stamford Advocate
In nearly 38 years of marriage, I have found that food shopping is a matter of putting the cart before the horse’s behind. This explains why I am the designated driver whenever I go to the supermarket with my wife, Sue.
It also explains why I had the same job recently when I stopped and shopped at Stop & Shop with my granddaughter, Chloe.
The difference is that Chloe likes to go food shopping with me, whereas Sue would rather leave me home or, if I must accompany her, ditch me at the deli counter because, as she has always known, I am full of baloney.
On our most recent visit to Best Yet (we refuse to shop at Worst Yet), Sue asked if I wanted bananas.
“Yes,” I replied. “And do you know why?”
“Why?” Sue wondered warily.
“Because,” I announced triumphantly, “they have appeal.”
Sue sighed and said, “I don’t know why I take you shopping.”
Still, the supermarket is the only place where she doesn’t want me to get lost. If I wander off with the cart, or linger in the beer aisle, or get into a traffic jam in the frozen food section, which creates so much tension among shoppers that I am surprised there hasn’t been a push-by shooting, Sue will come looking for me and exclaim, “There you are!” when she finally finds me.
I am not much help at the checkout, either. I’ll just stand there while Sue pays for the groceries, which she also bags because she is afraid I’ll drop a watermelon on the eggs.
Things went much more smoothly when I went food shopping with Chloe, who’s almost 3. According to her daddy, Guillaume, who accompanied us, Chloe is obsessed with Stop & Shop.
She also likes other stores, including Costco, which she always spells out, saying, “C-o-s-t-c-o, Costco!”
Recently, we took her to Dunkin’ Donuts, another favorite. As we were leaving, she found a piece of paper in the backseat of the car.
“Look, Poppie!” she said to me. “A receipt from Costco!”
Then she spelled it out.
But for Chloe, Stop & Shop is the place to be. That was amply evident when Guillaume pulled into the parking lot on a brisk Saturday afternoon.
“Stop & Shop!” Chloe exclaimed, spying the supermarket sign from her carseat.
After we got out of the car, Guillaume put her in the child seat of the shopping cart, which I got to drive.
“We’re going to Stop & Shop, Poppie!” Chloe informed me.
“Yes, I know, Honey,” I responded cheerily. “We’ll have fun.”
Did we ever. As I maneuvered the cart through the fruit and vegetable section, Chloe picked up a packet of strawberries.
“Strawberries, Poppie!” she said. “They’re red!”
Then she turned around and dropped them into the cart.
“We really don’t want strawberries,” said Guillaume.
That made no difference to Chloe, who picked up a packet of blueberries.
“They’re blue!” she said as she dropped them into the cart, too.
I steered the cart through the next aisle.
“Bananas!” said Chloe. “They’re yellow!”
I pointed to the apples and said, “What are they, Chloe?”
“Apples!” she squealed. “They’re green!”
“And how about these?” I asked.
It went on this way for the next 45 minutes. When we got to the checkout, Chloe said, “Number 5, Poppie!”
We were, indeed, at checkout number 5.
Guillaume bagged a few groceries, including a pineapple but minus the strawberries and blueberries, which he put back when Chloe wasn’t looking.
As we rolled back out to the parking lot, Chloe said, “Bye-bye, Stop & Shop!”
When we got back in the car, I said, “Poppie drove the shopping cart. Did I do a good job?”
“Yes, Poppie!” Chloe said. “You did a good job!”
And I didn’t even make any banana jokes.
Copyright 2016 by Jerry Zezima