Men can shop. I shop. Moreover, I am a highly competitive shopper. This is Guy Shopping, in three scenarios.

Scenario #1

I’m one of those guys who, if shopping “solo,” can zip through the aisles, getting everything on the shopping list. Sometimes I time myself. It’s like a “Wide, Wide World of Sports” event for me. As I exit the supermarket, cart full of groceries, I look at my watch, a big smug — almost “45-ish” smile on my face. I quietly proclaim in a “Howard Cosell-Marv Albert” way, “Yesssss!!


I’m on my game as I begin shopping. First stop — Produce. As I check over the tomatoes, a cougar lady in stilettos, low-cut tank top and stretch jeans — strikes up a conversation about how nice it is to see a man knows how to handle tomatoes. I switch into my TV guy mode, wrap the chat, and move on. Next aisle, it’s the “groupies.” Folks who grew up watching me on TV. They’re blocking my access to the pasta sauce, and other canned goods. I do two or three minutes of my greatest hits and move on.

The deli section is always difficult. There are inevitably two or three people buying a quarter pound of everything. They must taste a piece of each item to make sure it’s quality stuff. Oy!!

Now, I’m trying to make up ground. Taking short cuts through various aisles and BAM — elderly people, crying kids and a Mr. Know- It-All, blocking access. I silently curse their birthrights and smile my TV guy smile.

Finally, finally I’m at the checkout counter. Groceries bags are lined up in front of my stuff on the counter. The “hot and cold” bags are clearly open to be used for frozen food, meat, and so on. I slowly and clearly explain how the bags should be used. You know — perishables into the “hot and cold” bags. Please pack evenly.

I always bring extra shopping bags so I don’t have to lug overloaded bags up two flights of stairs.

Photo: Garry Armstrong

What was I thinking? It’s like I was speaking Klingon. Outside, I repack stuff at the car, loudly cursing the gods. The drive home is slow. Very slow. Probably the same folks who blocked the supermarket aisles.


I enter the supermarket and eyeball the “self check out” section. Do I have the smarts? I promise myself to try. I can do it. Fast forward — I approach the checkout counters, eyeball the “self check out” counter. No! I don’t have the courage. No true grit. Maybe next time.

Note: I omitted the folks who still ask why I don’t have “my people” shop for me. Yeah!

Author: Garry Armstrong

As a reporter for Channel 7 in Boston for 31 years, I was witness to most of the major events affecting the region. I met a lot of people ... politicians, actors, moguls, criminals and many regular folks caught up in extraordinary situations. Sometimes, I write about the people I've met and places I've been. Sometimes, I write about life, my family, my dogs and me. Or what might otherwise be called Life.


  1. Those peppers are beautiful!!! And the tomatoes and cukes look pretty good too! I, too, don’t have the courage required for the self-check aisle, but I have developed some favorite checkers.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Those are local farm stand peppers. The tomatoes were grown by our across-the-street neighbor. I think the farm people polish the peppers in their spare time!

      I can’t do the self-check aisle either. I tried once. It was a nightmare.


    2. Slmret, I also have favorite check out people. One of them – “Barb” — loudly proclaims “Here comes Garry Armstrong!!” when I wheel my cart up to her counter.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I’m all for you doing the shopping. I shopped my entire life, from when I learned to drive until my back broke down so much I couldn’t do it anymore. I’m delighted to have you do it. Thrilled. You go, husband!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I am a utilitarian shopper with the ultimate goal of getting in and out of the grocery store as quickly as possible. I have a grocery list and if it’s not on the list, I don’t get it. I don’t improvise, I’m not spontaneous. When my wife grocery shops, she also has a list. But that’s just the starting point, the suggestions. She usually ends up with many more items than were on the list. But she does most of the cooking, so it’s all good.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ditto, Fandango. “Ditto, you provincial putz?”

      When Marilyn shops, she has the trained eye for “dinner food” (meat, chicken, fish, etc) to re-stock at reasonable prices on our fixed income.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I order my groceries online now and have them delivered as I don’t drive and don’t like asking people to take me to the shops. I don’t like the self serve checkouts either and have never mustered the courage to use one. I was with my sisters in law once and they used one which promptly malfunctioned. That did not help. David used to do the shopping with a list he prepared with suggestions from me. He did most of the cooking until he got sick so apart from the fact that I had to practially beg him to buy fruit and veg it was all good.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. If we could get them delivered, that would be OUR choice, too, but there’s no delivery here. Living in the country. In Boston, you can get anything delivered. Literally anything.

      Garry was a terrible shopper when he took it over, but he’s quite brilliant these days. He knows what we need, remembers where everything is and really can do it all at three times my speed. I check prices and labels. He just buys whatever we have on our list and the few things he remember we need but didn’t make it to the list.


      1. I was surprised to find I could do it as I live in the country too. Strangely the stuff comes from a store in Hobart 60km away but if you are not fussy about delivery times you can get it delivered cheap. David was a terrible shoppper when we were first married. The first time I sent him out with a list for I had written “cold chicken” he brought back a frozen one. I never let him forget it. However, he got very good at it later but it was never quick because he liked to stop and chat to people.


        1. The nearest place that delivers is almost 40 miles away. I am hoping that it comes to our store. They are doing it, but so far, not HERE. I think there’s a chance they may get to it. there are other delivery services, but nothing out this way. this is a really small town … and in the winter, NO ONE is willing to tackle our driveway.

          Liked by 1 person

    2. Tas, with Marilyn’s help, I’ve become more savvy over the years about shopping. I’ve come light worlds since my bachelor days.


        1. it’s all about traction. It took Garry a while to figure out what we usually need, develop a pattern to get to the right parts of the store without wasting a lot of “driving time” — and regarding it as a sport. It’s his version of NASCAR driving.

          Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m Scenario 1. My average weekly grocery shop is around 20 minutes. I stay clear of self service too 🙂 There’s even a system now where you pick up a scanner when you enter and scan everything yourself before putting it in the trolley. Will I get a discount for doing everything myself? No? Screw that, then.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Shopping is definitely being dragged kicking and screaming into the 21’st century.

    I regularly use the self-serve checkouts – the queues are invariably shorter, and in Aus they have modified the system several times so that errors are quite rare. In the process they have made it a shoplifter’s dream!

    Those so inclined who don’t give a damn about anyone but themselves can now practically walk out the door with a trolleyful of stuff almost without paying a cent. Devious people will buy avocados for the price of carrots, or Macadamias for the price of peanuts (literally!)

    I pay (for all groceries i select!) via just a swipe of my credit card and save a fortune on the built-in loyalty card program (which has given me $40, $50, and is about to give me another $40 store credit in the last 3 months alone!) The card loyalty program knows what i buy regularly and sends me emails showing me a personalised list of special items each week.

    I can foresee the not-too-distant future where you will buy your groceries from home by selecting each item via a Virtual Reality headset and either have them delivered to your door or pick them up yourself in a drive-thru. (Or have your driverless car do it for you while you watch netflix/Internet TV).

    Walking through aisles pushing a massive trolley will soon be as common as riding your horse (or buggy) to the general store.


    Liked by 2 people

    1. Our self-service is a nightmare. One item comes up as “needs scan” and you are stuck there. You can’t pick up your stuff and shop elsewhere, either. You HAVE to wait. I tried it once. NEVER again.

      They do NOT deliver groceries here. No one has a self-driving car. A lot of people still drive 20 year old cars. Not a wealthy neighborhood and many people can’t afford a car loan.

      All that stuff may be available in Boston or New York, but I guarantee you, it won’t be available here. We don’t even have buses or taxis.


      1. Sometimes you forget how spoiled you are compared to some when you live in a big city – in a resource rich, technologically progressive nation. 😐



    2. Okay, Bob . So you CAN use the self-serve section. I get it!! I can just see the satisfied smile on your face. But, Bob, remember — somewhere there’s someone faster than you in the self serve checkout. Someone just waiting to build a rep by checking out faster than you. LIVE by the self serve check out, DIE by the self serve check out. Boot Hill is full of fast self serve checkout guys….


  7. I found out the hard way that if you try to tell the bagger his/her job, you are in for a mess. Some of them get really tetchy. I asked one girl to please put more than four items in each bag, and she took it personal, her face dropped, and by the time she was done two of the bags were so heavy i could barely lift them.

    My husband had never gone grocery shopping in his life, but one November I had pneumonia and he offered (it was that or starve) to try. I gave him a list, and off he went. Three hours later…he said, I don’t know how you do it, I was all OVER that store. I looked at him in surprise. “Well, first I had to get the eggs. Then I had to find the mustard, and then back to the dairy for milk, and…” I looked at the list. I had written the stuff down as I thought of it, and he took that to mean it was in order. No wonder it took him nearly three hours!

    20 years later I just hand him a list and he whizzes right through. He’s even learned to inspect the fruit and ask clerks where such–and-such is. And he goes to HIS store, not mine. Good for him.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. This really had me chuckling as I so clearly remember those days. My kids hated shopping with me as I chatted up most who came my way or offered incite when asked regarding recipes they thought might work. In those days, I had recipes at the tip of my fingers. But with children leaving and growing up, no need, so now I must resort to a cookbook since the quantity is so vastly different. My son remembers those days and thusly can get through the entire supermarket from end to end, getting all on the list in less than 10 minutes. I marvel since going to the grocery store was a way of interacting with my fellow humankind and I regarded it as a treat to see everyone that I didn’t have enough hours in the day to catch up with. How times have changed 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. A lot of people still regard grocery shopping as “sociable” time. I did. I think Garry has days when he does. It depends on who accosts him and whether they are interesting to talk to. Hannaford is “the place” for everyone to meet.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Mary-Lynne, I’m thinking about asking our supermarket to put up a marquee, announcing that I’ll be shopping, available for interviews and photo ops.


    2. Covert, I actually enjoy shopping solo. Really! It’s a social event. I enjoy chatting with people. It’s a friendly atmosphere. Our local supermarket is staffed by folks who’ve worked there for years (Excluding those meathead packers). I sometimes query people for “advice” about certain things and they love sharing their opinion. I even have a rep as a guy who can get those screaming kids to shut up. It’s all in the smile.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. “My people” would be my wife on a good day. Otherwise, we go together. Sometimes I’ll go it alone, but rarely. I have never had anyone flirt with me over the produce. Lucky you. But Garry, wouldn’t a cougar at our age be like about 80 years old? Now, I’m not saying an 80 year old can’t be attractive, but still….

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Emilio, hard to tell about cougar’s age with all that makeup. They must be Norma Desmond’s friends.


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