A Stranger in a Foreign Land?

January 22, 2009 at 10:16 am 4 comments

You know that warm and fuzzy feeling you get when you go some place familiar? There are no surprises, no confusion, everything seems right. The people in Cheers had it right… sometimes you do want to go where everyone knows your name. And even if they don’t know your name, they atleast know your face. At least when you walk in, you don’t feel like a fish out of water.


Last night on the way home from work, I had to stop at the grocery store. I’m normally a Kroger’s girl. But I had an HEB gift card so I thought I may as well do my quick trip there. Honestly, when I pulled into the parking lot, I felt like I was cheating. What had my dear Kroger’s ever done to me? The trip doesn’t start off well. The parking lot (as usual) is packed. At MY grocery store, I’m always in the first 5 spots. So I pull up to a spot about 15 spots back and there is a lady in the next spot over unloading her groceries. I’m not quite sure why, but she has chosen to park her cart in the empty parking spot and walk back and forth to her trunk. Besides the fact that this is completely illogical, it’s also rude! So I sit there with my blinker on. (Because if I had passed this spot up, I’d have to drive at least 10 more spots… no thank you!) She finally wheels her cart over to her trunk (not because she’s being courteous, but because her cases of water are too heavy to carry.) I pull in and get out. She turns to me and says, “Would you like to take my cart?” Okay now lets not kid ourselves. She wasn’t asking because she thought they may have run out, she was asking so she didn’t have to put it away. She was politely telling me to take this away for her. I smiled my biggest smile and said, “Well thank you! I’d love your cart”  and made my trek inside.


I walk in and as I do, I notice big boxes of firewood outside. I remember Stephen mentioning that we should get some more. But now I’m inside. And there are mobs of people coming through the “IN” door. I’m new here, is this the type of place where I can walk out the IN door? Should I leave my cart and run out and get some? But someone may steal my cart… and if I just had to walk across a bumpy parking lot listening to the awful cart-rattle, there was no way I was going to give it up. I stand there for a second, thinking it over. I turn around and an old man is staring at me annoyed because I’m blocking his way to the berries. At my grocery store, I’d hold my head up with confidence. Say, “Excuse me sir, I need to get around you. I need fire wood.” But not here, I’m on his terf. Defeated, I walk on and ignore the fire wood.


Next stop, avocados. I prefer the smaller ones since they are cheaper. I had perfect access to the large ones, but at $1.69, I decided I’d make my way to the small ones. Standing there was a girl with her mom. She was probably a junior or senior in high school but looked like she was 25, wearing an elegant cardigan and a sleek, short haricut. I heard her saying, “Regardless, I don’t expect you to be one of those helicopter moms. You’re just not that way Mom. You are much more mature and you trust me.” I stared for a short second and the both looked at me. “I, uh, need some avocados,” I sputtered out to this grown up girl. She looks at me and bursts out, “Oh my! I didn’t mean to block you. I apologize ma’am.” MA’AM? I’m a ma’am at HEB? Oh dear God, we aren’t in Kansas anymore Toto!


The rest of my shopping trip was similiar. It was unfamiliar. I had to back track numerous times since I’m not used to the layout. I was frustrated. As I walked up to my cashier, he greeted me with a smile. What? Happy employees? This really wasn’t like my Kroger! He’s scanning all of my goods and I look down on the counter in front of me. I see a shopping list, so of course I read it. (I should have taken it for proof, but see below for an abridged version.)


Shopping List

-Potatoes (these are just past the veggies, on your left. Just get a few (3) big bakers)

-Milk (skim)

-Olive Oil (this is on the aisle with all of the baking supplies, call if you need help picking)

-Bread (whatever kind you like)

Thanks honey! Call if you have any questions.


I smile as I realize that this HEB isn’t much different than my Kroger… men don’t know how to shop here either!


Entry filed under: Chelsea, Getting Old. Tags: , , .

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4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Lindsay  |  January 22, 2009 at 6:12 pm

    High school boys make up the majority of the employees at the Clear Lake HEB…the probably thought you were hot…and still hates his job.

  • 2. Jimbo  |  January 23, 2009 at 11:22 am

    I LOVED this post! I think being comfortable with a store/shop is even more important when you’re talking about grocery store shopping. They are all organized differently and vary wildly in produce/meat quality, customer service, and product availability (oh yeah, and price). I HATE going to a different grocery store than my normal one…so much so that I will drive an extra five minutes to avoid doing it.

    By the way, do you do any grocery shopping at Walmart?

  • 3. Chelsea Hurst  |  January 23, 2009 at 11:31 am

    Oh goodness no! I try to stay away from Walmart. Their lines and overabundance of loose children are really off-putting. By the time you get to the front of the line, all of your stuff is room temperature.

    *Just so we’re clear, “loose” is referring to children running unsupervised… not skanks. Although, there are a good number of those as well. Also off-putting. Oh wow, this has taken a wrong turn… umm.. I’m done…

  • 4. What The “Hip” Kids Do… « Roots and Rings  |  June 10, 2009 at 11:55 am

    […] old for my age. I’ve had plenty of posts about being old… see here or here or here or here or here… (there are more, but I’ll stop) so I’m not going to prove to you why […]

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