Lady, Please Don’t Cry On The Summer Squash

There are many existential, philosophical debates during these frenetic, technologically progressive times. One of the most poignant, perhaps, is: What’s the saddest thing you could have in your shopping cart at the grocery store?

For me there was only one answer: The half pie, of course. The half pie has held some combination of reverence and mystique for me for years. I mean, let’s face it, you’re not going anywhere with that baby but in front of your TV. I have to say, I admire its honesty, as well as that of the person buying it. We’ve all bought things exclusively for ourselves (hello, I’m not buying Halloween candy on October 1st because I’m really, really prepared), and when the cashier rings us up and comments, “WOW, you must be having a HUGE PARTY,” we laugh nervously and in an attempt to validate the story end up inviting her to come, only to spend the rest of the evening hiding in our apartment with the lights out and hoping Hi My Name Is Jody Ask Me About Our Double Coupons will just go away. Or is that just me?

So, the half pie. Unequivocally the saddest thing you could have in your cart, right? But then I posed the question to the peoples of my world and heard tantalizing add-ons like cold sore cream, a big box of cookies and a case of Slim Fast…and then:

Kate: A single slice of birthday cake, of course. While you stand in line and sing quietly, “Happy birthday to me…”

Me: Oh, man, that’s good. And you get caught shoplifting one candle because you didn’t want to buy the entire pack.

So now I open the question up to you, internets: If you can top our ideas for the saddest thing you can have in your shopping cart, I’ll declare you king or queen of (ironical) supermarket sadness. And then I’ll send you pictures of me buying the items, sobbing in the produce section. It may not be pretty, but who would turn down a free half pie?

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12 Responses to “Lady, Please Don’t Cry On The Summer Squash”


  1. 1 Dutchess of Kickball June 25, 2008 at 8:39 am

    This one is really tough but I’d have to say anti-diarrhea medicine AND a stool softener, because you know you have some real problems then.

  2. 2 Alicia June 25, 2008 at 9:24 am

    After a long week at work, I just wanted to curl up with some margaritas and a movie…it wasn’t until I was walking home that I realized I had gotten a bottle of tequila, a pint of Ben and Jerry’s and that Hilary Duff movie with Chris Noth in it. I wasn’t sure if Chris Noth was enough to overcome the rest of the saddest cart ever.

  3. 3 Noelle June 25, 2008 at 11:49 am

    I once sent my boyfriend to buy baby oil at 3AM. (The cat got caught in a glue trap.) That was probably the weirdest thing ever.

    And once I had to buy five boxes of non-lubricated condoms, but that was to protect wireless microphones. That was probably the most embarrassing thing ever.

    The saddest products at the grocery store are the sale items, dented cans and day-old bread. But buying them isn’t that sad.

    Half pies are a pretty sad purchase. But even worse are when people take one beer from a six pack and buy it individually. It says you’re not even going to party by yourself. You’re just going to drink a beer. Also, it leaves the rest of the six-pack looking lonely and broken.

  4. 4 Lara June 25, 2008 at 12:36 pm

    Oh, the half pie! I’m not sure anything tops its sadness…although Alicia’s answer is pretty hilarious.

    I think the happiest supermarket purchase was…shit, never mind. It was a Target purchase. But it was the day I bought a LOT of condoms (was handing them out as part of a costume/character thing at a theme party) and also some new sheets (just because they were cute and caught my eye on the way back from the condom aisle). The cashier smirked and said, “Have a good time” as I exited the check-out lane.

  5. 5 Pants June 25, 2008 at 12:59 pm

    I’ve purchased birth control pills, condoms and a whoopee cushion. But I think that’s funnier than sad, at least in my world.

  6. 6 courtney June 25, 2008 at 1:55 pm

    One time my boyfriend bought a box of condoms, a bottle of whipped cream, and a bouquet of flowers. When the cashier gave him a funny look, he just said, “It’s EXACTLY what it looks like.”

    As for the sad purchases, I’m going to have to agree with you on the half-pie.

  7. 7 Heather June 25, 2008 at 2:10 pm

    I always feel pathetic when I go to the store and get:

    1 frozen pizza
    1 pint of Ben & Jerry’s
    1 jar of hot fudge
    1 bag of Double Stuf Oreos on which to snack until it’s dinner time

    I just feel like people are looking at me going, “Poor, poor lonely, PMS girl.”

    I’m not sure any of this tops the sad slice of birthday cake with the shoplifted candle, though!

  8. 8 Allison June 25, 2008 at 4:33 pm

    I think half a pie and/or one slice of cake may win in the sadness category. Does that include a birthday card and balloon for yourself as well?

    I always feel sad for myself if I’m having a busy week and I buy like 5 frozen dinners. Oh yeah….weeks worth of dinners in one shot. It shows I’m fancy and I have a vibrant social life! Especially when then only other thing included in that purchase is cat food.

  9. 9 kate June 25, 2008 at 4:47 pm

    I always feel dumb buying drinks and TP. I’m like, “That’s right, I’m just hydrating and peeing tonight!”

  10. 10 mbbored June 25, 2008 at 5:23 pm

    Box of M&M ice cream sandwiches, tube of cookie dough, bag of caramel filled Hershey Kisses and a romance novel at 1 am on a weeknight with mascara streaks running down my face.

    Did I mention my older brother was so inspired by me getting dumped by my fiance that he proposed to his girlfriend the day he heard? The night I found out about his engagement was the night I switched from not eating, to only eating junk food.

  11. 11 stefanie June 25, 2008 at 8:53 pm

    I don’t know… It’s hard to top the single piece of birthday cake. Also, am I the only one here who is unfamiliar with the half pie?? Maybe I just don’t stroll through the bakery section that often, or maybe it’s a uniquely east coast phenomenon.

  12. 12 Craig August 22, 2008 at 1:48 pm

    Ok, so I’m a little late joining in the fun here, but I can see this a couple of different ways.

    I can remember going to the store and leaving with mixed baby organic spring greens, goat cheese, whole wheat pitas and black bean burgers. This may not seem sad to you, but from a guy’s perspective, it’s kind of pathetic or at least a sign that you’re old and turning into someone you probably would have mocked not too long ago. (I was purchasing ice cream along with the rest of that, and that should have made it better, but they were “Skinny Cow” ice cream sandwiches, so…even worse)

    Alternatively, there is also the “my wife left me alone for a weekend” cart which includes cookies, frozen burritos (or chimichangas), tortilla chips, multiple two-liters or twelve-packs of soda and possibly ice cream. The closest anything can come to being green and allowed in the cart is if your beverage of choice is Mountain Dew.


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