Journal Express, Knoxville, IA

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November 14, 2013

Five steps for a quick trip down the aisle

As chief dietary consultant and food preparation specialist in my domicile, I am responsible for the procurement of foodstuffs and other assorted provisions to ensure continuous familial sustenance within our humble abode.

In other words, I do the grocery shopping.

I’ve been at my post for decades, rising from the ranks of grocery greenhorn to that of food aficionado. They don’t give PhDs for grocery shopping proficiency, but if they did, I’d practically have my bachelor’s degree.

Years of experience have fostered finesse in the aisles – a necessity when one is attempting to traverse the narrow passageways on a Saturday afternoon. The space becomes a virtual obstacle course as responsible and competent shoppers are forced to dodge errant children, navigate around the free sample lady and make evasive maneuvers in order to steer clear of the cute newlywed couple arguing about crunchy or smooth in the peanut butter aisle.

The underlying problem stems from inexperience. Many of the cart-wielding folks loitering near the Hamburger Helper display are unfamiliar with the universal grocery aisle rules of etiquette. They are rookies intermingling with a league of professional shoppers, and they are holding things up.

Conquering the produce section and beyond can be a frustrating drain of one’s time and energy, so in hopes of helping everyone get home a little sooner on Saturday afternoons, I have put together five basic rules to help streamline the shopping process. Those of us who have been there, done that, understand it is important to be there, do this. So, please do.

1. Become one with the cart.

Your cart is nothing more than a large metal obstruction on wheels, capable of blocking access to produce and product, causing undue irritation to any and all super shoppers in your vicinity. Think of this steel box as an appendage of you, young grasshopper. When you separate from your cart – even for the briefest of moments – you double the space consumed within an aisle. Never abandon your cart, and by all means do not leave your cart on the right side of the aisle while you cross over to retrieve a box of macaroni and cheese on the left. This serves the purpose of blocking an entire aisle. Blocking the aisle is beyond a shopping faux pas – sort of like crossing over to Vader’s dark side, and we all know how that little reunion turned out.

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