Random Rants

I Don’t Understand Grocery Stores

  • February 13, 2010

My mission today: pick up some lemonade–not just any lemonade, I was armed with a pair of specific brands from which to choose.

My arrival at the hub of all things that are wrong in the commercial world was uneventful: I scored a decent parking space, no one tried to run me over as I crossed the raceway that fronts the store, and there was a nice stack of carry baskets to hand as I entered. My feeling that I might escape undamaged began to fade a bit, however–not long after I located and entered the aisle labeled “beverages.”

Lemonade is a beverage, isn’t it? For that matter, so is soda, beer, bottled water, and tomato juice. You wouldn’t have known it from the contents of this misleadingly-labeled aisle. From what I could see it was stocked with only the weird to-drink stuff nobody wanted–what the hell is a “new age beverage,” anyway?

Okay, I reasoned, this is clearly not meant to be easy. First I need to figure out what KIND of beverage they believe lemonade is, and look for it in an aisle associated with that sort of product. Hmm…it’s mostly water, but there is the “bottled water” aisle and no joy. Juice! It’s mostly lemon juice. Hie, there’s the juice aisle!

Strike two–no, make that strike three, since I already tried the water-that-isn’t-a-beverage aisle. Oh, they had juice of every kind there, make no mistake. They also had two different kinds of “organic” lemonade, but neither variety was on the target list.

This was starting to become puzzling, indeed–then I recalled the few times I’d ever made lemonade it was from a frozen concentrate. Frozen stuff is over there, let’s check it out!

The brands I was supposed to choose from, I soon discovered, don’t come in a frozen version. Strike four, and I had entered unknown realms.

I’d now been on the hunt for a ridiculous length of time–especially for what was supposed to be a side trip–and I should have been home long ago. I decided I wasn’t going to leave empty-handed, and that organic stuff was starting to look pretty good–hey, any lemonade in a storm! The quickest route back to the juice section, conveniently enough, would pass through the aisle of beer-that-isn’t-a-beverage. It was a hard thing to swallow, but I steeled myself for the ordeal. As I strolled happily past the stacks of lovely Saranac and Guinness and other beer-that-isn’t-a-beverage that also isn’t crappy-fizzy-yellow-pisswater-that-passes-for-beer-in-America, I happened to glance to my right.

Orange juice in a refrigerated cabinet. Grapefruit juice, too. Could it possibly be?

YES! There, snuggled up against the cheeses and mocking me for daring think it might have been anywhere else, was the very brand of lemonade I’d been sent to procure! So this was the place for drink-that-is-mostly-juice-that-isn’t-a-beverage-that-needs-refrigeration.

How silly of me not to have known all along.

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