Whenever I go to the grocery store, I am the designated driver for my wife, Sue, who likes to say, after I get lost in the beer aisle, that I put the cart before the horse’s aft.
So I was grateful to get a food shopping demonstration from my granddaughters Chloe and Lilly, each of whom was recently a “customer in training.”
That’s what it said on the sign above their little carts, which are designed to let youngsters shop with their parents and grandparents and stock up on ice cream, cookies and other goodies that they would consume exclusively if only their parents and grandparents would let them.
In addition to Chloe, who is about to turn 7, and Lilly, who’s 3, the supermarket expedition featured me, Sue and our daughter Lauren, the girls’ mommy.
Everyone had a cart except yours truly because, I am sure, they were afraid I would stock up on beer, munchies and other goodies that I would consume exclusively if only my wife would let me.
One thing I noticed about the kiddie carts was that they each had four wheels that all went in the same direction. This is never the case with regular carts, which have wheels that go north, south, east and west all at the same time.
If cars were like that, you’d have a fender bender every day and your insurance rates would go up so much that the only mode of transportation you could afford would be, of course, a shopping cart.
As we navigated the store, an older gentleman came around the corner with his cart and said to Chloe, “If I had known you were going to be here, I’d ask you to do my shopping, too.”
Chloe, whose cart was already half-full with items that included cereal and oranges, which Lauren put in there instead of ice cream and cookies, smiled and replied, “I’m shopping with Mommy.”
I said to the guy, “She’s a customer in training.”
“She could teach me a thing or two,” he said, adding: “Where’s your cart?”
“I’m a bad driver,” I explained. “Training wouldn’t help.”
Lilly, meanwhile, started to load up her cart with sweets.
“She’s trying to sneak them in,” Lauren told me. Then she said to Lilly, “Put them back.”
Lilly grumbled and handed them to me so I could restock the shelf.
A nice lady passed me in the aisle and said, “You’re doing a good job. Maybe you could work here.”
“It would get me out of the house,” I said. “But I’d get fired for eating the profits.”
The store was filled with so many customers and their carts that it looked like rush hour in a construction zone. I was afraid tempers would flare so much that there would be a drive-by shouting.
But everyone was very nice and accommodating for the girls, who routinely cut off other shoppers in an effort to keep up with Lauren and Sue. I tried to play traffic cop, though even if I had a whistle, it wouldn’t have done any good.
Finally, we got to the checkout area, where the girls brought their carts so the contents could be rung up.
“You’re a good shopper,” a cashier named Ann told Chloe.
“Thank you,” Chloe said as she handed Ann several items for scanning.
“Are you going to pay for them?” Ann asked.
“No,” said Chloe. “Mommy is.”
Lilly went with Sue to another cashier, a young man named Eric, who said she did a good job.
“I know,” Lilly told him.
On the way out, Sue said to me, “The girls are better food shoppers than you are.”
“You’re right,” I admitted. “They even made sure I didn’t get lost in the beer aisle.”
Jerry Zezima writes a humor column for Hearst Connecticut Media and is the author of four books. His latest is “Nini and Poppie’s Excellent Adventures.” Email: JerryZ111@optonline.net. Blog: www.jerryzezima.blogspot.com.