Random Musings for November 17th – Shopping A La ‘Cart Voyeur’

I often investigate products offered on grocery store shelves, and covertly take pictures for this blog and my DFD! gallery on Facebook.  I’ve had a few double-takes, curious stares from store employees, and even nervous managers seeming to follow me as I snap away and mumble or laugh to myself about ridiculous B.S. on food labels.  Occasionally my young daughter will make one of them just about jump out of their apron by yelling loudly down the aisle at me, that she has spotted another “POISONOUS FOOD!”  We may have our mugshots taped to the sides of a few cash registers…

As personal as grocery shopping is, there’s a lot of nosiness going on in there.  It’s not just funny remarks from cashiers about your choices of guilty pleasures like sweets or booze (they have the best stories from the conveyor belt confessional – why are we so chatty when it’s time to pay?).  I find that I’m doing it too, to a lesser degree.   I’m kind of a cart voyeur, a buggy bystander – I can’t help but look at what other wandering life-managers are choosing – I’m curious about what they’ll make with their selections and why.  It’s like an extrovert’s version of peeping through the blinds.

 

What’s that guy gonna do with twenty 2-liter bottles of orange soda?  Does he not know that he’s upping the odds of a throw-down at his family reunion (or whatever gathering it is where he plans to chug all that bubbly chemical refreshment)?  What’s up with all the frozen pot pies?  Does this lady live alone and work long hours?  Or perhaps have a gigantic teenage boy in the house?  Does that mom realize that her well-meaning sugar-free pudding choice may still give her kidlets the crazies thanks to red dye 40?

I’m not going to judge or preach to folks, like I said, grocery shopping is a very personal thing.  That would be as wrong as the idiot in a Target checkout line telling a mom with a fitful child how to raise her kid “right”.  Uh-uh, nooooo ma’am.   And I try to keep my curious glances to a second or two (although more if they have this in their cart…sorry, but they’re asking for it).  I’m sure I’ve gotten my share of looks from others when they spied my End Times stash of Snapea Crisps.  The fact is, I’m just as drawn to people’s choice of shopping outfits as I am to their food choices – shopping is just a whole fun event for me.

But the very act of shopping with our carts in public view gives us the opportunity to really think about what we’re putting in ours.  We are comparative by nature, and we often co-opt others’ ideas.  For me, shopping is a learning experience, especially when my child “investigates” food ingredient labels with me, Stossel-style.

One day, maybe we’ll either be shopping for all groceries online to be delivered, or there will be some other inhuman automated process for procuring our Ho-Ho’s and flaming Cheetohs in private (or bulgur wheat and spirulina, if you like).  More empty buggies will be showing up in random places about town (a boon for the derby set?).  And that will be a sad day for moi.  I’m already bummed when I see someone reading something obviously engrossing, on a shiny tablet.  I miss seeing the book covers and knowing what is going on inside a stranger’s brain just for that moment…

As you prepare for the upcoming feasting, I hope you’ll find this list of “Badditives” helpful.  Print it old school style, or bookmark it – it actually looks great on a tablet.

Psssst…hey you…What is the most interesting thing you’ve seen in someone’s shopping cart?

Comments
8 Responses to “Random Musings for November 17th – Shopping A La ‘Cart Voyeur’”
  1. Steph says:

    Flavored dinner sodas?! Now I’ve seen it all! I’m always peeping in other people’s carts, too. I find it fascinating.

    • Indie Mama says:

      🙂 I know, I gotta wonder just how they flavored them! I will do some investigative shopping in Target this weekend, I think… Have a wonderful Thanksgiving week!

  2. Melissa says:

    Try as I might, I still buy things that have ingredients from the “badditives” list. It’s a slow jump from the processed food train for us so there are still some things I haven’t eliminated yet. We’ve never been juice drinkers and I catch myself gawking at a shopping cart full of giant bottles of red Hawaiian Fruit punch with a few screaming kids handing off the sides.

    • Indie Mama says:

      I know what you mean. A slow jump is totally cool, as long as we’re moving away from overly processed foods…I hated wasting what I already had, and I can’t donate half-empty containers to food banks. It’s much easier if you just change one thing at a time…and as you’re shopping in the coming weeks, you’ll find replacements as needed (and as they go on sale…I am addicted to coupon/sale matchups). And I’m convinced that more food manufacturers will offer healthier alternatives, if they’re listening to their consumers at all. More folks are demanding healthy foods, and if food manufacturers lose just a tiny percentage of their market, it’s a devastating shift for them. That’s why is more important than ever to ask questions, and “vote with our dollars.” I hope you and your family have the best Thanksgiving! 🙂

  3. Athena says:

    I’ve never been a fan of processed foods. It has always made me cringe to watch college age kids walk around with the cart full of chips, frozen pizza and beer. *shudder* Don’t they give a thought to how that diet will effect them in 10 or 20 years? My exhusband is already fighting high blood pressure as a result of his horrible eating habits as a teen and he’s not even 30.

    But the next time I go shopping, I’m going to start looking for something odd and random in someone’s cart, haha!

    • Indie Mama says:

      Yeah, we think we’re going to be that healthy forever when we’re young. And then comes along your Thirties to betray you and slap you in the face. And then laugh at you. While holding your old skinny jeans over your head. PS – I cannot wait to hear about the absurdities you’ve spotted in shopping carts. 😉

  4. Corey says:

    oh how I do this too. 🙂 oh and When I used to teach Weight Watchers, it was hilarious to see on of my “clients” catch sight of me in the grocery store and run the other way. They were so scared that I would be looking in their cart. LOL

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