If you have ever gone grocery shopping at a Market Basket then you know it can be compared to any of the most brutal contact sports out there. It seems it is especially competitive at the new store in Oxford, Massachusetts.
Living in Barre, we have very little options for a real grocery store. A trip for groceries means at least a half day excursion. Minimum twenty-minute ride each way (yes we do measure distance in time not miles.) A real stock up trip is a good half hour to forty-five minute drive.
Our store of choice is Market Basket. We do not have any close by, but their prices are so well worth it that it becomes a road trip for the day. We were traveling north to New Hampshire, but when the new store in Oxford opened we started going there. It’s not that much closer, but there is a Home Depot in the same plaza.
Today, as usual, the parking lot was full. I mean Christmas time drive around until someone leaves full. We found a spot to park and readied ourselves for the experience. Having not looked at the flier that the store nicely mails to me each week I had no idea what was on sale, so we headed into battle unprepared. Shopping cart pitted against shopping cart. Coupon clippers pushing their way to the item that will save them a dollar. Screaming children, arguing couples, brand loyalists climbing for the must haves, are all obstacles the grocery shopping athlete must overcome. It is dangerous and injuries can be career ending. However, the ultimate goal is to make it to the checkout with carriage overflowing, reusable shopping bags ready to be filled, and debit card flying high. So in we go.
It was as expected, loud and crowded, but we maneuvered with the best of them. As I swept the dairy section for needed items, Jim guarded the carriage, only making a move ahead when it was clear to do so. We met at the end and planned our next move. Divide and conquer. He made his way through the mob at the deli and I took the carriage into the aisles. He met me two aisles along just to reconnect and confirm our plan of attack. Then he headed back to the deli and I forged ahead through cereals, pastas, and ethnic foods. About thirty minutes later he met me in the cookie aisle, victorious with his spoils. Our last hurdles to overcome were frozen foods and produce. The end was in sight.
The freezer section was quick and easy, but the produce section; that is an extremely hands on type of battle. All fruit and veggies must be picked up, inspected, thumped, squeezed, and bagged. It’s time-consuming and you must hold your ground. Move an inch to grab a plastic bag and your spot is taken. Best to have your bag with you while you eye the seven types of apples, wait for the perfect time to pounce, then grab and fill. Returning to your partner only when your hands can hold no more. So that is how we approached produce today. He was spotted by someone he knew and together they stood while the women gathered. It may sound primitive but it worked. When the carriage could hold no more we pushed our way to the checkout and victory was at last ours.
We left the arena approximately two hours after arriving. Exhausted but proud of the way we made our way through the course. Vowing to return only on a weekday when everyone else is working. Knowing in our hearts that will probably not happen and we will again compete on a Sunday.