The Never Ending Grocery Store!

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Seems like we all have to eat for some reason or another.  And, like it or not, we can’t always afford to eat out in a nice fancy restaurant.  So, that means we go to the grocery store!

Well, in Texas, that means you head to HEB.  That stands for Huge, Enormous Building!  And, yeah that’s exactly what shopping at HEB seems like.  You’re there for ever and ever.  I think I’ve seen a few families that are permanent residents in one HEB.  Let me tell you a little about our most recent visit.

c39700160276f1b1f84e731da4fe319aThe first thing you notice at HEB is that the parking lot is huge, I mean really huge! If youconsider that every vehicle parked in that lot could potentially carry 6 people, well, 5 normal people, then you understand just how big the store could be. I mean, there must have been a million parking spaces in front of the HEB we go to!  Still, the HEB building can and usually does hold them all!  These buildings are huge. Did I say that already?  Oh, yeah, I did but did I mention that all the parking spaces are full; at least all the ones within a mile of the front door!  We do finally find one single space and it’s only about thirty miles away; we’re lucky today!  So we start trudging towards the front door.

After a while, we finally get there, and I’m still alive!  We now need a shopping cart.  Fortunately, HEB has about 10 million shopping carts.  Most, but not all of them are brand new since most of these HEB stores are fairly new themselves.  So, I’m looking for a cart and I notice that there are only two near the door!  The other 9 million 9 hundred and 99 thousand and 998 are out in the parking lot!   Where did you think they would be?

So, I choose one of the two and start pushing it towards the doors. The cart I picked has square wheels and is bouncing all over the floor!   That figures!  So back I go to get the other cart.

57607fa2b82deebdc892ddbb5796cb91But there’s a little old lady already in possession of the last cart in sight.  I gently ask her if she wouldn’t mind using one of the scooter carts sitting next to the entry door. I tell her that it’s much easier shopping at HEB if you can sit and drive around. She think’s it a great idea and shoves her cart at me and jumps on one of the electric things and off she goes.  Unlike me, she’ll probably survive her visit to HEB!

Now I notice her steel metal cart hurling towards me and I catch it just as it’s glancing off my shin having already ran over my foot.  Now, not only am I faced with a horrendous walking ordeal in front of me but my foot has been crushed and my leg shattered.  And does my lovely wife give me any sympathy?  No, she’s looking at me like I’m wasting all our time chatting with somebody I don’t even know.  There’s no “Poor Baby, does your leg and foot hurt?” in that look!  I know, I’ve gotten it before.  So, I hobble over with the cart and we begin our treacherous journey into HEB!

I can tell we have a good cart because when the elderly lady threw it at me it went in a straight line.  I clean out all the trash that was left in it by the last family living here and off we go into this enormous store.

Before me is this vast expanse of building stretching for ever and ever to the horizon.  I push the cart forward and begin our journey.  At least we’re going to buy a bunch of groceries instead of just getting milk and bread.  I realize that we might be in here for a very long time but as you know we’re not due to move into our new house for another few months, so I think we can get this done by then!

We start heading down the one main aisle next to the drugs. You do know that HEB sells drugs to anyone that wants them, right?  I don’t know why we’re all not arrested, especially with the amount of drugs I consume every day.  But, we get our stash and head on to the paper aisle.

Here is where your most important and useful products are found.  I’m not necessarily a very neat and tidy person, believe it or not, so, we buy tons of paper towels, napkins and kleenex.  That way I can wipe my hands, my mouth, my nose and other parts I won’t mention.  There’s some other paper products like paper plates that can be really useful if you’re living on PB&J like I do most of the time. And then there’s the essential paper. I won’t go into details about this stuff. You know what I’m talk about. We all use a ton of it and if you don’t, then kindly stay a long ways away from me! Woo, wee!

We’ve got all that stuff loaded and I’m noticing the cart is not so easy to push any more. No, it’s not hard to push, it’s just seems heavier but why, I don’t know. It’s only loaded with paper!

Now we’re on our way.  We turn the corner at the back of the store and look way off in the distance to see a solid wall of food.  Real food. Lunch meats, cheese, bacon in both a bag and a box, there’s milk in cartons and eggs fresh out of the chicken.  And on the other side, I see aisles and aisles of food.  They stretch off into the distance as far as I can see.  They’re numbered with little hanging signs over each one.  We’re at aisle 1 and, oh, off in the distance I can see Aisle 1,032 but beyond that, the numbers just get blurry!
So, here we go.  Off to buy a cart load of food.  We walk and walk and walk and walk.  Three hours later we’re on aisle 6 and we’ve got about 5 things in our cart and I’ve notice none of it is edible! Wow!  That hurts! So onward we trudge.

After another two hours or so, I’m starting to get hungry!  My wife is still running at 90 miles an hour but I’m lagging way behind her.  I think all my energy is about gone.  So, I relinquish the cart and head toward the sandwich place.  Yeah, they got one of these in here.  Not only sandwiches, but pizza and Chinese food and Mexican food and about every other kind of international food you can imagine.  I think that’s all here because you never really know who’s going to start starving from being in HEB for so long.

I get my sandwich and wolf it down along with a drink.  Now I’m somewhat rested and energized so I go to find my wife.  We are smart shoppers!   After seeing the size of HEB and a few other stores we bought cell phones so we could eventually find each other over these vast distances.  So I call her and ask where is she?  By now she’s gotten quite a lot of shopping done so she tells me she’s on aisle 892!

There’s no way I’m going to make it that far in this store.   I’d have to pack a lunch or dinner or both and then I’d probably die of old age if I had to go find her.   So, I ask when she might be back towards the electronics which just happens to be close to where I”m at.   She says she’ll be there shortly and for me to stay put.   I think she knows that dying of old age in this store is a real possibility for me!

Anyway, I’m standing by the electronics department watching a new movie on one of their HDTVs which is about twice the size of mine at home.  I also notice they have a fancy DVD player hooked up to it.   It must be one of those with multiple DVDs because this is about the second or third full-length movie I’ve watched.

My wife finally shows up with the cart and I noticed it still hasn’t much real food.  I startfe5a56bffe4ee21e5360664fac795824 whining about no treats, you know, candy, cookies and vital stuff like that.  Oh, she’s got my cereal (but none with a prize) and bread and other stuff but none of what I consider essential.  Fortunately, we’re right next to the candy and cookie aisle.  Now finally here’s an aisle that’s worth walking.  As I stroll along this magnificent aisle, I’m grabbing stuff right and left and throwing it in the basket.  Of course I don’t notice that my wife is also stuffing everything I’m throwing in the cart, back on the shelf!  I finally get to keep one bag of candy and one bag of cookies!  Boy, what happened to, “When I’m grown up, I’m going to eat all the candy and cookies I want!”

By now it’s getting late in the day and we really need to find our way out of here and go home.  I already had lunch here and I really don’t want to eat supper here to, although I am getting kind of hungry again.  All this food around you can make a person feel that way easily!

We start towards what I think is the front of the store where there are supposed to be checkout lanes.  After wandering through the clothing aisle, the camping aisle and then the sporting goods aisle we finally glimpse what appear to be checkout lanes!  Hurray!  We have lived this long, we can make it a few more minutes getting checked out.

Except, none of the checkout lanes are open!  Not a one!  Oh, wait, there’s this group of checkout things telling me I can check myself out and there’s not a soul around them.  Well, I’ll be darned if I’m going to have to go running around this enormous store and then have to check myself out in front of all these fine people.  No, that just doesn’t sound decent!  Better yet, I want some customer service and I’m going to get it!

Off in the far distance, I think I see a little light on one of those poles that check stands have so you can tell if the person standing there is really working or just being annoying by looking like he or she should be working!   We trudge in the direction of the light and after a long while we notice that sure enough, it is a live checkout stand with a live person working there!   We also notice she’s got forty other people standing in her line waiting.  Some have aged seriously while in this line and I believe that one family has had a new addition born right in the check stand line because it’s screaming it’s head off and I want no part of that.

About that time, I see another light pop on and I do a marvelous 180 degree-dead-on-one-spot spin-turn with that humongous cart brimming with groceries and head likety-split for that new checkout stand.  I’m moving like I never moved before, expending all my stored up strength and energy to get to that checkout stand before anyone else!  I’m gonna’ do it cause I’ve had enough of this place and I want to go home!  This is my break for freedom!  Hallelujah!

And suddenly, zoom!  Something goes flying by me at 90 miles an hour after banging into the back of my heal causing me to scream in horrible pain.  I can’t imagine who let someone drive a race car in this store and just who thinks they can run over anybody they want to get to a checkout line.

As the pain slowly subsides from my now crushed heal (the one on the good foot), I raise my head and see a little old lady driving one of those electric carts right up to MY checkout lane.  She notices the pain in my face from her crashing into my heal but is there any sympathy?  Again, no!

She quietly turns towards me and says, “Thank you for telling me about these wonderful electric carts.  I got all my shopping done in only 10 minutes because they go really fast!  Oh, and you know I get to go to the head of the checkout line when I’m in one of these!  Isn’t that so nice!”

Later that evening, we finally get checked out.  I paid over $200 to go through an ordeal I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy!  I need to find a smaller store.  I don’t think I can survive another trip to HEB.

Oh, yeah, after we get home and put away all those groceries, we decide to go out to eat.  Isn’t that the way everybody does things?

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