Romance in the Grocery Store

grocery heart

Once upon a time I was a young person and I used to go out on dates.  I even (don’t tell my kids) used to go out on romantic outings with their father.

Now, we are 22 years into our marriage and a few weeks shy of a whole year into Coronapocalypse.  We rarely leave the house except when I go to work and one of us goes to the grocery store.

Last Sunday, both of us were growing moss on our north sides.  We were down to what I call “Zombie apocalypse food,” which is when I stand in the pantry and say things like, “boxed mac and cheese can’t go bad, can it?” followed by, “What would happen if we mixed it up with evaporated milk?”  We decided to go to Publix to solve both problems at once.  We decided to go together and call it a date.

As soon as we got to the store, we split up, each with our own carts.  A normal couple might have coordinated – you handle the vegetables, I’ll get the dairy, etc.  A newer couple might have strolled the aisles together, hand in hand.  But we didn’t do either.  We both wandered around and did our own thing, occasionally running into each other and making the same tired jokes we always made when we shopped together.  “Hey, Old Man.  Get out of my way.”  “Excuse me, Lady.  I think you put something in my cart.”

Except for confirming that we did, in fact, want to get two of the delicious looking tiramisus in the front, and that we wanted both white and purple onions, we didn’t talk about what we were buying.  When we loaded the groceries onto the conveyor belt, they added up to somewhere north of $320.00[1].  Despite that, and despite our lack of coordination, the only overlap was bananas. 

That’s right.  Assuming we each put $160.00 worth of groceries into our individual carts, without asking the other person what we thought the household needed, the only thing we both though the household needed was bananas.[2]  That’s how differently we shop.  Mike has a tendency to buy processed food: snack foods; ice cream; condiments; flavored, dried, and salted whatever.[3]  Cans and boxes and plastic bags.  I tend to buy ingredients: things that are tied to a specific meal idea, or that can generally be combined to create meals in the future like cans of diced tomatoes.

At first glance, it seems like we are incompatible shoppers, but I prefer to think that we are complimentary shoppers.  We complete each other’s shopping experience.  “You had me at Triscuits.”  We’ve been together so long – at this point half of my life – that we don’t have to talk about who is going to get what.  He buys our guilty pleasure items, the crackers for my cheese, the desserts for my dinners.  It isn’t some rom-com trip to a farmer’s market where we steal kisses over barrels of organic broccolini and craft pickles.  But it’s nutritious and fills our larders.  Our kids’ pediatricians haven’t given us any dire warnings if we continue. 

It’s comfort food, and these days, I’ll take comfort over just about anything. 

[1] $12 of that was carpet cleaner because of the dog’s habit of peeing to express his displeasure when we lock him out of a room, $4 of that was catnip so my daughter can befriend the feral cats near my office, and $8 was tiramisu.  $16 alone was ground beef. 

[2] And spaghetti, but I’m not counting that: I knew he was getting spaghetti because I saw him, but I purposely added the kind with protein in it because my daughter is a vegetarian and needs all the extra protein she can get.

[3] Not to stereotype, but he shops like a frat boy with unlimited credit.

If you enjoyed this and want to read more like it, visit Lori at her website,, on Twitter, or on Facebook.   Her newest book, a Foreword INDIES Gold Medal award winner, “If You Did What I Asked In The First Place” is currently available by clicking here.

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