People who equate truth with fact are missing the point.

Super Secret Phone Wizardry

I hate buying groceries.

I know. You’re probably surprised.


Alas, it eventually has to be done. By yesterday, my pantry looked like this:

That isn’t the pantry of a family that is in any danger of going hungry, but Brian told me that if I tried to feed him one more bowl of beans and rice, he was going to consider roasting one of the dogs. The refrigerator was just as empty, but my recent cleaning frenzy hasn’t reached the refrigerator yet so you’ll have to go without the visual aid. Nobody wants to look at pictures of sticky, jam-stained appliances.

So, time to buy groceries, which I hate to do. In order to make the agony of shopping happen as infrequently as possible, I do it thusly:

  • I make a menu of a dozen or so dinners and put all the necessary ingredients on the list.
  • I add all the staples we need to the list – peanut butter, toilet paper, milk, etc.
  • I go to the store and gather everything on my list.
  • I go up and down every aisle and put everything I see that is a) not deadly and b) the locusts who live in my house will eat. I gather yogurt, crackers, fruit, pretzels, and everything else I see until the cart is so heavy I can barely push it and/or until it’s so full that stuff is leaping off the top.
  • I crown it all with half-a-dozen loaves of bread and head to the checkout stand.

This morning, I was finally finished loading my cart and ready to pay, and whaddya know? My card was declined.

What the hell? I checked my account balances before I left the house and there should have been plenty of money, and of course, there were half-a-dozen cranky shoppers in line behind me.

Modern technology to the rescue. I told the checker to cancel my transaction and said, “I’ll just stand right over here and figure out what’s going on.”

She looked at me like I had a giant booger on my face and called a manager while I got out my phone.

The customer service manager, when she arrived, wasted no time making sure I knew that she was a bad ass and that I was in her territory. “I’ll have your cart over at customer service when you come back.”

“No, wait. I’m not going anywhere,” I said. “I can fix this. It’ll only take a minute.”

“Ma’am? I will have your cart at customer service.” Apparently she was not only a bad ass, but I’m also hard of hearing because she said this part quite loudly.

Turns out, I can be kind of loud and snotty, too. Who knew?* “Don’t move this cart. I’ll pay for these groceries in just a minute.”

People? She stood there and stared at me while I used my phone to transfer money. Just stared right at me.

What did she think I was going to do? Get my fat, middle-aged self in gear and take off running with my 9,000 pound grocery cart?

Then I started imagining that I had traveled back in time and she was a cave woman and I was using a Bic lighter, but instead of oohing and aahing, she opted to stare and assume I had big plans to burn down the world.

At which point I developed the church giggles, causing the manager to look not only cranky, but like she just stepped in a giant steaming pile is dog poop.

That was a proud moment.

I finished transferring money and said to the cashier, “I can pay now.”

The manager sniffed, “We’ll see.”

Clearly, I was doing some magic, secret, fraudulent something there with my phone. I got away with my criminal behavior today, but I’m pretty sure she’ll have her eye on me next time!

Big surprise, though: my wizardry or magic or whatever I was doing with my phone worked and I managed to pay for my groceries.

I drove home, amazed at how awesomely cool modern technology is (Remember when, if you needed money, you had to go to a bank?) and wondering when we’ll develop something that can remove the paranoid unpleasantness from the personalities of people who have an excess of those qualities.

*Besides everybody, I mean.

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40 comments to Super Secret Phone Wizardry

  • why is grocery shopping so stinkin’ sucky?

    i’d rather have a root canal than go grocery shopping.

    but your pantry?

    looks very clean and organized.

    • Funny thing is, when I was really young (early 20s) and a new mom, I loved buying groceries. I guess it made me feel like a “real” adult.

      Now? It just plain blows.

      And yay for my tidy pantry! I wonder how long it will last. Two days? Three?

  • wondering when we’ll develop something that can remove the paranoid unpleasantness from the personalities of people who have an excess of those qualities

    Oh I’m all over that.

    • Someday, maybe technology will take us there!

      Nah. That would be no fun. What would we blog about if there weren’t annoying, self-important grocery store managers in the world?

  • You… you transferred money with your phone? What kind of witchcraft is this?

    Just kidding. I don’t know what I would do if I couldn’t check my e-mail, read blogs and check my account balances from my phone.

    • I know, right? It’s like I can command the lightning!

      Seriously, sometimes I kind of forget that most people aren’t quite as technologically savvy as us blogging/social media sorts. But yeah, I’m WAY dependent on all of my portable abilities now!

  • I hate grocery shopping more than any other domestic duty; I’d rather clean the cat box AND the toilet. Luckily I’ve never dealt with jerks such as the ones you did, though.

    And yeah, your clean pantry is impressive!

    • I’m hoping my tidy pantry lasts more than a few days, but I doubt it, especially since it’s full-to-bursting now!

      And yes, I hate to buy groceries, but I hate almost all things domestic. I probably hate cooking the most. The kitchen is a very boring place when I’m in there alone!

  • Maybe if you had grunted a little, pointed to your phone and said “Me strong magic woman. Me make money appear on magic card and POOF! Meat go with me!” Then again you may have been kicked out of the store.

    Maybe she was jealous that you could use your phone like that and hers was still in a box in the car and weighed 50 lbs.

    Maybe she stubbed her toe on the way over.


    Maybe she was just uppity because she was never picked to play kickball and she got the promotion at Super Save a Bunch and those other mean kids didn’t.

    Whatever the case may be you handled it much better than my usual tongue sticking out and saying give it a second, olga, I’ll be right there.

    • Oh, my God, you killed me! “Meat go with me!”

      Too funny!

      And yeah, she was damn lucky I was in a pretty good mood this morning. My husband was all impressed that I was as polite as I was. That just isn’t how it usually goes with me!

  • i, um, love grocery shopping. like, unhealthily. it’s like a fountain of opportunity.

    lookit what i could make with this!

    why, yes! yes, i WOULD love to buy some overly priced exotic produce and whip it into something exciting!

    please, sir, may i have that $40 strand of saffron? surely it will make a paella for the gods!

    but then my card gets declined for not-phone-fixable reasons. damn.

    • What’s saffron, and why the hell is it so stinking expensive? Is it made of diamonds?

      It’s a good thing I know you because otherwise, I would have no hope of ever eating the exotic foods you will someday prepare in our big, airy beach house kitchen.

  • Ant Judy

    Skip to comments link at the top of the page. Who would ever do that? Miss the good stuff? Dumb.

    • Were you reading on an iPhone? The mobile site gives you that link at the top of the page.

      And seriously, some of the comments are better than the posts. Read Jenny’s comment a few comments up. Hysterical!

  • Damn your pantry is clean! While it might be bare, I wish mine looked like that!

    I hate, hate, hate grocery shopping. Unfortunately, I pretty much have to do it every week.

  • thenextmartha

    I hate grocery shopping too. If I could I would hire someone to plan the meals and shop for them. How nice would it be to just pull from my pantry everything I needed. Like magic. Our card gets declined often when my husband travels and uses it out of state. I have a back up card just for this reason. The one time it happened at Walmart? I was not happy but surely I was in good company.

    • See, I used to have the credit card in case the debit card was declined, but when I quit working we decided we’d both stop carrying it unless we traveled. That has worked well because honestly, with just one income it’s a struggle and credit card bills would be a nightmare, but damn, it’s hard to be that careful!

  • Ahahahahaha: “What did she think I was going to do? Get my fat, middle-aged self in gear and take off running with my 9,000 pound grocery cart?” SUCH a hilarious visual. I can just imagine trying to escape w/ a 9000 pound cart WITH a wonky wheel. It’s insane… but it just might work!

    I like our grocery store – it has a great, well-devised “check-yourself-out” system (you scan & pack while shopping, then click the scanner in and pay & escape without ever having to interact with a human. Pure bliss, I tell you).

    Have you considered having groceries delivered? I often dream of doing that.

    • Ohh and I just read your about the author” page and guess what? I’m studying sociology too AND I also have 5 tattoos! Twins separated at birth, haha.

    • Oh, I would LOVE to have groceries delivered, but it’s pricey around here. I guess it’s not a big-demand service out here in suburbia.

      I use that self-checkout thing if I only have a few things, but if I have lots of stuff, it’s really difficult.

      • Larisa

        Sorry that delivery is too expensive. Here in Seattle Safeway will deliver for free if you buy $150 of stuff–which it sounds like you do. I *love* getting groceries online and doing the shopping in 15 minutes in my jammies after my son goes to bed. The only problem I have is if something is not on my past-purchase list I forget to add it to my cart and then I have to go to a real store.

        Kudos to you for the meal planning! That is a challenge I have not mastered, so I will spend $100 on groceries and then stand in the kitchen going “how come I don’t have any FOOD?”

  • I hate grocery shopping.

    I make a list. I buy the items on the list as quickly as possible and then leave. This drives Mark insane.

    “You didn’t buy any snacks!”

    “Did you write snacks on the list?”


    “Then no snacks.”

    Plus also? Your pantry is way too organized and clean.


  • Meg

    Cute. Sadly I’m sure these days they get lots of declined cards and have to put back lots of carts of groceries.

  • Well, when the boys were little I was always saying “thank god for Fresh Direct, because without them, we’d all starve.” Because “Fresh Direct”? Is a giant grocery store that carries nearly everything & that you order online, like sitting at your computer at 2 AM in your PJs with a baby attached to your boob, and they deliver it all to you during a scheduled, guaranteed 2 hour window (& by the next day if you order by 11 pm.) Really, truly, they kept us from starving because grocery shopping with newborn twins in tow? Wasn’t going to happen.

    Even now I get about 1/2 our weekly stuff through them. Because now at the grocery store? If I take the boys they fight like cats & dogs all over the store, and Jacob screeches like a banshee & everyone there gives me the fish eye like “can’t you control your kids?” And you know what? No, no I can’t.

    • Ugh! I so remember the years before Carter went to school, when I had to shop with him in tow and he acted like…you know, Carter. And I got the stink eye on every aisle, and it was a total nightmare.

      Trying to imagine that he was twins and it’s breaking my head.

  • Too bad the check out people at your store where being cranky a-holes today, but please, like they have never had a glitch in their bank accounts before. Plus, is that anyway to treat your customers! Geez people.

    • To be fair, I look like a criminal, what with my hair in a ponytail and my plastic sunglasses and my mom-style clothes and all.

      It’s a wonder they didn’t handcuff me, really!

  • No way…she DID NOT say, “We’ll see.”
    I would have flipped!

    By the sounds of your loot, you won’t have to go back for a while!

  • LOL! I can so relate to hating to grocery shop, I too plan 2 weeks of food and leave with a cart that is almost impossible to push out the door. What cracks me up is when someone cuts me off in the store when I have my 2 ton cart in motion, don’t they know that it’s like cutting off a moving train, there’s no way I can safely stop that cart.

  • i had a similar thing happen to me at kroger last year. i was so freaking annoyed!! now? i insist my husband take over the grocery shopping.

  • That is one clean pantry, girl! Impressive. For some reason mine can be filled to bursting and no one thinks there’s anything in it to eat.

    • Oh, they ALWAYS think there’s nothing to eat. If they stare into the refrigerator or pantry long enough, I ask them, “What do you think, a Big Mac is going to sprout if you stare hard?”

  • Ummm…you may be supercool and techy modern, me? If I’m outta money at checkout, I’m outta luck at check out.

    I’m the cavelady waving the club whilst you’re the new age racquel welch in the fur bikini waving the bic lighter and stealing my food.


  • I absofrickinglutely had grocery shopping. I like to pick my own stuff, but I hate the entire experience. So I send the hubs. He hates it too, but at least it’s not me going.

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