Grocery shopping has definitely become a different experience since I had Caroline. When it was just P. and me, we couldn’t have finished a gallon of milk in a month much less a week. So once a week, Caroline and I head to our neighborhood H.E.B. for a big shopping trip.
H.E.B. has been so kind as to provide all sorts of things to make shopping “easier” for moms. The Wiggles car/cart that you can borrow for $1.00 is a fab idea except that it really holds a very limited amount of groceries which lest we forget, is the reason we’re at the GROCERY store.
They also have a racecar cart that is the SUV equivalent of shopping carts. Trying to maneuver this thing through the aisles while being directed by a donut eating toddler requires super human strength, dexterity and patience. You can guarantee you’re going to take the skin off someone’s heel before your trip is over.
Once we’ve loaded up with groceries and go to pay, we encounter the Buddy Buck. The Buddy Buck has quickly become the bane of my existence. Caroline is obsessed with the Buddy Buck. Our whole trip has become a running commentary on when we’re getting the Buddy Buck, how many Buddy Bucks, is the Buddy Buck machine working today.
The Buddy Buck is a fake dollar with a picture of a grocery bag taunting you with his smug grin on the front of it. The Buddy Buck goes into one of those toy machines with the grabby thing (technical term) that grabs a toy and drops it down the slot. My problem with the Buddy Buck is twofold.
1. To play the game I have to get Caroline out of the cart and she has to “DO IT MYSELF” which takes forever when you’re looking at a cart full of groceries that are melting in the hot Texas heat.
2. Eight out of ten times the Buddy Buck machine isn’t working so I have to deal with the toddler meltdown caused by the unfairness of life.
And just so you know, when the machine is actually working and you get the prize, the “toy” is a plastic bubble thing with a number sticker. Caroline puts that #8 sticker on her chest like it’s an Olympic medal.
Gulley was at the store last week and she was telling me about how she’d had this epiphany of sorts that she just needs to be patient with her boys, that grocery shopping is a slow process that requires donuts, balloons, and Buddy Bucks. She was feeling really proud of her newfound attitude when she spotted another mom pushing a cart with a little 2 year old girl pushing her very own Little Tikes cart through the store following the mom. Gulley said the mom was loudly saying “Oh, you’re right, we DO need cheese. You are SO SMART” or “That’s SO SMART, we are out of peanut butter”. She said the whole process was unbelievably slow and painful to watch.
Gulley told me this whole story on the phone later on that day and said she couldn’t believe the patience of that mom. So Gulley asked me “Would you load up your Little Tikes shopping cart and bring it to H.E.B. so that Caroline could follow you around and shop?”
I thought about it and told her yes, yes I sure would…if it were the Apocalypse.