The Ghost of Grocery Shopping Past

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Booksie Classic

I am loving Home Delivery and have for years, due to my Disability. Here's what I remember about the Good Ole Bad Ole days before Home Delivery and the Microwave/

The Ghost of Grocery Shopping Past


By Alexander Guinevere Kern


Copyright, 12-29-2020



Today I want to talk about Grocery Home Delivery.  And DoorDash, Grubhub and stores like these.


Here’s what my Life Was Like, back in the Ancient Days, in the 1980s - 1990s - shopping with Children on a Snowy Evening after an 8-10 hour day at the office:


Since for my office work, I donned dresses, pant-suits or skirts and blouses (no pants allowed) once I got home I had to re-dress myself; two pairs of wool socks and leather boots, wool or corduroy pants, T-shirt, turtleneck , sweater, wool coat, scarf, gloves and hat.  The children had the same, child-sized. All of this “dressing for the weather” took an hour AT LEAST. Those in snowsuits suddenly had to go to the bathroom.


The car had to be filed with gas. Everyone and everything was arctic - the temperature typically below 32 degrees, The Evil Weather God delivering an icy wind which cut your cheeks with a grater, caked your gloves with snow and ice after scraping off the car's windshield, meanwhile waiting for the car to warm up. The chill wind hit my skin as if I was wearing a silk slip. I might as well have handed the wind my winter clothing, for all the good my wardrobe did me.


Roads icy, wind blowing like it was trying to put itself out - and it is night time before I can leave - I worked for slave wages 40 hours per week, with an hour commute both ways.  After 5:00 pm, I had a long drive to the Babysitter's so I could pick up the CHILDREN, dress them warmly, locate them in their car seats and tool on home, about 25-35 miles per hour, the snow sometimes so deep one could not even see the lanes. This is before grocery shopping.


Since it is dark, one can often miss black ice, which means skidding, slippery swirling in a circle, veering off the road and other undesirable effects. Radio is on, children are screaming.


Arriving at grocery store, park where there is a space. Space is sometimes FAR away from the store, since back then everyone worked 9-5:00 pm. Unloose the children. Holding hands, we Slip and Slide into the store. I grab a frozen cart. I can no longer feel my nose or fingers. I am exhausted, the children are greatly fatigued. (Children often have ear infections, sinus infections and colds, which kept me up all night.)


We wade into a sea of people in various colors and prints of down jackets, ear muffs, scarves, wool coats, dirty snow boots, wet floor and clanging carts. Up and down the crowded aisles I trudge, the kiddies throw their hats and mittens into cart, still sniffling. Baby bottle leaks. More requests to use the restroom. Tantrums ensue.


After a grueling hour, I find all the necessary larder and drag us all to the LONG LINES at the register.  Eventually it is my turn. I place all the items on the conveyor belt, trying to pry little fingers away from the candy strategically located at the register.  Some of the items are VERY heavy and I was chronically anemic so it was NOT fun.


I pay for the foodstuffs, and roll the cart AND the children to the car. I have to load all of the provisions into the car after situating the kids in their respective car seats. It starts snowing, if it had not already. My hair floats around my face, mixes with my snotty nose, escapes my stupid-looking wool hat, gets in my eyes. My glasses fog up.


I drive home, unload all the children, then the 8 bags of groceries, and have everyone remove their icy, snow-packed boots and leave them at the front door.  My Darlings shuck off their winter garb and toss it into ONE wet pile.  I place the bags on the table or counter and rush to start dinner, in the spring or summer, ofttimes still in my high heels and office suit.


I even made lasagna and Shepherd’s pie and other wonderful dinners from scratch - and there was no microwave; it had not yet been invented. The children run around screaming.  My feet, hands, back and brain ache.  A few crumpled dollars are in my blouse pocket.


I am beyond tired. Sometimes my vision took on a glittery surreal view of all of this work load and psychically removed my emotions from the effects of yet another massive energy depletion - when I had no energy to begin with. And we won’t start talking about my lone cleaning off the table after supper, next to scrape the plates, store the leftovers in good ole Tupperware, and stuffing the dishes into the dishwasher.  Instead of drinking a glass of wine, reading the paper or a novel or the daily newspaper, I am giving my children baths, reading stories, helping with homework, etc. Strange oddities float in the bathtub. I dared not ask. One child washes the baby's hair with soap.  Another its eat.  One kid tosses a plastic Octopus into the toilet.


There was almost NEVER a man in my life. And the ones who had something to do with those children did not pay child support or alimony.


That was THEN. Joy after joy, drudging after drudgery, pain after agony, exhaustion after exhaustion. I did not have a TV.  No MTV existed. I did have an answering machine eventually. The recorded calls from credit collection agencies were ignored. My mailbox was full loaded with their nasty letters anyway, demanding immediate payment or they would seize my children.


Now I am retired. I go online to Pavilions and order all my groceries. I get discounts from my card. The next day a man shows up at my door with all my groceries, nicely bagged and organized and drags them onto my foyer. I have even ordered ONE tomato or ONE pepper and some industrious and underpaid Pavilions employee went down the aisle and placed it in a plastic bag and tied it. They even sell booze and beer. They sell flowers.  Yesterday I received ONE garlic bulb, in a plastic bag, which was THEN placed in a large, regular shopping bag. The Delivery man handed it to me, one eyebrow curiously lifted.


I pay $5.95 for delivery.  They will NOT accept tips, no matter how hard to try to get them to accept it. All I have to do is put away the frozen stuff and leave the rest of it lying around until I get to it. They come rain or shine, even in 105 degree weather. I live on the second floor. The Delivery Saints bring up all my supplies in blue crates, stacked one upon the other inside a large shipping cart. Yes, they wear masks and hand the bags to me or shove them across the foyer.


That is all there is to that business. WHY didn’t we have this luxury back in the 70s, 80s and 90s?? What a difference that would have made in my dull, depressing, poverty-striken, pathetic life!   I was fortunate to get 5 hours of sleep before I got up and did it all over again! And again! And again!  It was Death on the Daily Installment Plan!


Now If I am hungry and need immediate ice cream, I go online and order from DoorDash’s dozens of offered restaurants ANY food items you can imagine and I have it within an hour. In fact, I can order groceries and Pavilions will bring them that evening!  They’ll even go to Mickey D’s or Convenience stores or pick up your medication!  My pharmacy will even deliver my meds!


Amazon owns me. I thank God every evening Bezos doesn’t run out of cat food.  I do not care WHAT I order, that Amazon package is on my doorstep in two days.


Remember Malling at Christmas time? Driving around for an hour, trying to cheat other drivers out of an open parking space? While it is raining, thundering, tornado warnings or snowing? The Mall so hot from our collective exertions that I had to pile all of the children’s coats and hats, and all the Christmas gift bags into the strollers and make the tired kids WALK for hours?


Me, either!


Life is good! I am retired! I still see wobbly Seniors coming in here with their grocery carts packed FULL, their cane stuffed on the side of the cart, after walking across the street to Target and dragging all those bags back here.


Ah, technology. How I hate it. Until I need food.


I want a NAP! Now! And there is no one to stop me!

Submitted: January 01, 2021

© Copyright 2021 RexMundi555'.-. All rights reserved.

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Add Your Comments:


Serge Wlodarski

Times have changed. I don't remember the last time I used cash.

Fri, January 1st, 2021 1:55pm


Serge! How great to see you! Happy New Year! Love your stories! My daughter recently took me to pick up two cats - and I futed around in my purse for the $100. The lady and my daughter looked at me as if I were deranged - she said, "NO ONE PAYS CASH ANYMORE!" I felt like a Relic, a Daft Doyenne, something used and old and given away at a Flea Market. LOL!

Sat, January 2nd, 2021 12:03am


Dear Unstoppable1 - my brother would agree with you. He not only can cook, he loves to grocery shop. He wants certain cuts of meat, fresh vegetables, etc. I do get deliveries from FarmFresh, so I have a few REAL vegetables brought to my door. Pavilions is not bad and at my age, I don't much care. I AM disabled, so Delivery is a godsend. As for the Government spying on me and my purchasing power and my credit card numbers - well, Sir, SOMEONE surely is, because every day my EPIC browser picks up about 200 Data Miners. At one point I printed out ALL of the Data Miner companies listed and they ALL had legit business websites. They will sell your data to anyone, governments, advertisers, pretty much anyone who has the moolah. If you have roamed around the Internet, they've got your stuff. They know much, much more than what I Iike on my apple pie or what color Sketchers I purchase. Alas.

Sat, January 2nd, 2021 12:10am

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