Ode To a Grocery Store


Ode To a Grocery Store

It’s a rare thing when my wife and I shop for groceries together. In almost 24 years of marriage, we have learned there are things that make us a stronger couple, and there are things that tend to throw a few wrenches into the machinery of our wedded bliss. Grocery shopping is a very large wrench. But alas, while our son was at little league umpire training last night, we decided to maximize our time together and head to our local grocery store. My lovely, better half tricked me by saying we only needed “a couple of things.” I have fallen for this gambit before, but it has been a long time since she used this ancient magic. Well played honey, very well played. To be honest, it was a pleasant experience and we divided and conquered our list and were out of there in on time at all. During this trip and while flying solo looking for unsweetened coconut milk, I started to have a think on our town’s only primary grocery store.

If I was a grocery store aisle, what aisle would I be?

Stay with me here. Just as there are different people with different personality types, I’m certain we all have our favorite aisle’s in the grocery store. I could point you in a host of different directions to find all kinds of great books on the subject of personality types. Personality Plus by Florence Littauer is a personal favorite. It’s an easy read and doesn’t take itself too seriously. The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman is a book that saved my marriage, even though I read it years before I ever met my wife. It helped me decide what type of man I wanted to be at the ripe old age of 24. As a personal coach, I could go on and on about books that cover this topic. But back to my coconut milk (I was today years old when I learned there are 2 types of coconut milk…The ‘keep refrigerated at all times’ kind and the kind you don’t need to refrigerate until you open it kind) story. I began to chuckle inside at my coconut epiphany or CE as I will refer to it going forward and this really got my mind racing about my question mentioned above. What aisle would I be If I were a grocery store aisle?

There are so many choices. Chips and junk food aisle, produce, greeting cards, frozen foods, breakfast cereals, canned veggies, wine, wine, wine, a few others, and wine. Knowing me like only I do, I think the kind of aisle I would be is the deli. First of all, it’s a great word. You almost can’t physically say deli without smiling, at least a little. Second of all, it is the closest thing a grocery store has to an actual buffet (unless they have a salad bar, but that’s not a real aisle. That’s just a thing in the middle of an aisle. No cheating!) because of the sheer selection of stuff you can get. Meats, cheeses, grocery store made yummies. I am a great fan of Busch’s chicken salad. Large tub for me please! The aisles in my grocery store all have signs telling you what is on or in each aisle. The deli just says, “Deli.” I like that. You may know what you want walking up, but something may grab your eye and you leave with multiple items. Also, everyone just kind of knows what to expect when walking up to a deli. No directions, no exactness. Just deli. I like that a lot. I like the idea of picking and choosing what you want and don’t want. A little of this, a lot of that and none of those. The next time you go shopping, ask yourself what kind of aisle you would be. What would others say about your choice? Would they agree? Does your choice say anything about your personality? Maybe. Maybe not. Truth be told, this little visit into the weirdness of my mind isn’t so much to have you think about grocery stores and aisles as it is to allow yourself to have fun, relax and smile a little, even when you are doing something that isn’t your first or second choice of things to do. I made the best of it and we had a great time today. My wife is my best pal, my roommate, consigliere, and greatest person I have ever met. We are thick as thieves and laugh together as much as anyone. We have found the millions of things we love to do together and the 1 thing we don’t. Even in that 1 thing, I still found time to smile, have a good think, laugh some with my best pal and turn my CE into a great time. Sometimes we have to let the world do its own spinning. All the negative stuff will be waiting at the automatic doors for you when you leave. Why not smile and have a little fun? Not bad for a deli aisle, wouldn’t you agree?

Steve Gwisdalla is a Dexter resident and owner of BetterPlace Consulting. He is a coach, consultant, head deli counter clerk and the guy who cleans up the mess on aisle 5. If you have an aisle that needs cleaned up in your life, reach out to him at steve@betterplacemgmt.com

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