Intorvert’s Guide to (COVID) Grocery Shopping

By: Grace Mastroianni

I LOVE shopping. As long as I have a full battery, I’m able to, quite literally, ‘shop ‘til I drop.’ I can always find some cool or interesting thing that I just have to have, or something that I think would be perfect for someone else. But there is one type of shopping that I have a rather profound feeling of dislike for…

Grocery Shopping.

As an introvert, I am not overly fond of crowded spaces full of angry, hungry people. But because I’m such a special snowflake, I am also a six foot tall walking hazard. When paired with a large metal cart on wheels, I basically turn into the clumsiest, directionally challenged battering ram in history. You can probably imagine how well this works out in a crowded store. And the worst part is that this is how I react to normal grocery shopping, too!

Pandemic grocery shopping, though, is ten times worse. Especially in a Market Basket.

The once dreaded chore of food shopping has quickly become everyone’s favorite activity during quarantine. What that means is that every single person is leaping at the chance for a jaunt around the store, and that leads to an absolutely packed and hectic crowd. 

At the very beginning of this trip, I walked away for a moment to grab an item off our list, but when I wandered back to where our cart had been, there was nothing there. 

I, a rational six-foot giant, did what I normally do in these situations, which is to scan from my higher vantage point for my mother’s very blonde hair. Almost instantly, I spotted a blond woman wearing a huge green coat. 

While moving through the crowd, I debated yelling out to her, but decided that was probably poor store etiquette. So, right as I was about five feet from my mom, she turned around, and I’m immediately hit with this thought.

‘My mother is most definitely not pregnant.’

And then being my awkward self, I just stared at this poor woman for about a minute before I turned on my heel and walked away. 

I found my not-pregnant mother about three aisles away.

Upon reaching the produce aisle, I was pretty much ready to leave humanity and retreat back to my home. Halfway through the vegetables, I stopped while my mother was consulting the list. After a couple of minutes of standing, I heard an ‘excuse me’ from behind me. When I turned, I was greeted by a tiny old man in one of those motorized scooter carts.

Me being the friendly, albeit oblivious, giant that I am, assumed that this man needed help reaching something. 

This was a terrible assumption.

While I was trying to figure out what was needed of me, he just kept repeating ‘excuse me’ to me, getting angrier and angrier until I finally understood that he wanted me to move. 

Whilst I was trying to apologize for my obliviousness, he began ranting loudly about how rude some people are in the store and how they need to learn when to get the hell out of someone’s way.  

As an introvert, the number one worst thing that can happen in a crowded place is to be yelled at by a stranger. I then had to go hang out by the potatoes for a couple minutes, shell-shocked. 

And the worst part of this absolutely AWFUL trip was that as I was slowly losing all of my sanity, these two guys had the privilege of witnessing every stage of my breakdown. I kept running into them every 5-10 minutes, and each time I ran into them I would look just a tiny bit crazier. By the end of the entire trip, I had the worst luck in joining their checkout line. And, based on the furtive glances I received from my new pals, I looked very much like a mad woman. 

My purse had been moved to the cart, my jacket had been tied around my purse straps along with my scarf, my hair was out of its clip, my sleeves were rolled up as far as they could comfortably go. I looked haggard. I had lost whatever small amount of sanity that I had left, and just stared them down. 

Within my gaze they witnessed a poor woman defeated by society’s cornucopia of crazy, and had the good sense to turn away from its depths. 

When I finally was able to return to my car, I had absolutely NO ENERGY left. What had started out as a nice trip with my mother had very quickly turned into my worst nightmare. In proper introvert fashion, I then proceeded to take a seven hour nap. If any lesson may be taken away from my misfortune, it is this: stay away from people who enjoy grocery shopping. They are, most likely, complete and total sociopaths.

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