What I learned from the grocery store line

Have you ever stood in line at the grocery store and checked out the items the person ahead of, or behind you, is purchasing? Or have you ever looked down at your own groceries all laid out in a row and suddenly realized it’s not the most healthy food you could have chosen?

While someone could be shopping for someone else, or a party or a business, I know a few of us out there can’t help but notice a lack of fruit or vegetables or an excessive amount of junk food such as pop, chips, cookies, etc. In fact, I know I am not alone because on a few occasions I have heard someone voluntarily explaining their purchase as if they too have just realized they have nothing green or healthy. Then there is even the odd time the  cashier makes the comment like “having a kids party?”

Regardless of all of the above, one could say you could learn a lot about a person from what he or she eats. I would like to believe I can tell if someone is a mother or a bachelor, a healthy eater, someone who works a lot, or even the experienced chef or the new cook by the ingredients or lack of.

On occasion this interesting habit some of us have even leads to informative discussions with complete strangers waiting their turn with us. For example, I have learned a ton about food in this exact place such as; some food products are made of plastic, some are all dies and chemicals, others claim to have real fruit yet if you read the ingredients no such fruit exists. I have also learned great things like how to choose the best oranges, the difference between three bump and four bump peppers, how to chose the best melon and so on. Then there is the time one notices someone has two or more of something and then finds out there is a  special they missed somewhere or someone announces you get more air points if you buy two.

For those of us who happen to have our young children with us, well that adds a whole new element to the line. I have always found this “standing still” at the till particularly hard for my two high energy boys. I find getting them to help unload the groceries is fun for the short time it takes. However, then they are checking out the chocolate bars that kids just love to ask for. I am amazed at how many times someone will intervene and help distract them by asking them questions.

Bottom line, while standing in the grocery store waiting to pay for your items can sometimes be frustrating and tedious especially if you are in a hurry, it can also be a place to meet great people, learn a lot about food and or course check out everyone’s food choices, including your own as they are laid out for the world to see.

Shannon Hurst writes the weekly My Town column and is the correspondent for the Three Rivers Report.