Two heads better than one

Two people, one cart and a very big grocery store; three key ingredients in a big batch of annoyance.

Two people, one cart and a very big grocery store; three key ingredients in a big batch of annoyance.

In every couple one is the cart pusher and the other is the seeker.

Unless, of course, you’re one of those in sync duos that are joined at the hip and sensibly and methodically go up and down every aisle together. Alas, Darcy and I are not that kind of couple.

We’re independent zigzag shoppers, weaving our way through the grocery aisles as inspiration strikes us. Rarely are we both struck by the same inspiration at the same time. I’ll remember I’m getting low on Sleepy Time tea just as Darcy realizes he would like some apples and perhaps a package of those red licorice twists. Without a word to each other off we scatter like a couple grocery bags in a breeze.

On my way to get the tea I pick up a bag of rice, a box of pasta, a jar of olive oil and a package of paper towels. Now might be a good time to point out that Darcy has the cart. So there I am with an armload of groceries and nowhere to put them.

I start walking down the ends of the aisles peering up each one in an effort to find the elusive man with the cart. Finally I catch a glimpse of him doing the same thing at the other end of the store. Only he doesn’t recognize me on account of all the groceries piled up in my arms concealing most of my head.

Spinning quickly on my heel I start to sprint to the next aisle where Darcy should soon reappear, only to collide with another shopper and drop the paper towels. I apologize to the shopper who kindly picks up the package and rearranges it on top of all my other groceries. All I can think is thank goodness I didn’t drop the glass jar of olive oil. That would have been unfortunate.

I mumble a thank you from behind the paper towels and the shopper says, “You know, they have these newfangled inventions for people in your condition.”

“Really?” I ask, wondering exactly what my condition might be.

“Yes, they’re called shopping carts.”

I smile politely, though it’s not like the shopper can see me what with my head behind the paper towels and all. The shopper wanders off chuckling at his wit. Now I’ve lost Darcy’s trail and have to start the search all over again.

I’m thinking about the witty shopper and his parting words of wisdom when a thought occurs. A radical, inspirational, shop altering thought. Just because Darcy and I are shopping together doesn’t mean that I can’t have my own cart. It’s not as if there’s a one cart per household limit. Astonished at my rare flash of genius, I set my groceries down, fish a quarter out of my pocket and head for the entrance to get my own set of wheels.

The look on Darcy’s face as I push my own cart towards his confirms that I am indeed breaking new ground.

“I have revolutionized couple shopping,” I inform him, as our carts nuzzle noses.

“But we only need a couple dozen things,” Darcy protests. “What do we need two carts for?”

“Even better! We can each take a dozen items and go through the 12 items or less check out!”

“I prefer the self checkout,” he replies. Darcy’s love affair with the self checkout and my loathing of it is the subject of an earlier column.

“There you go! You can go through the self check out and I can go through the regular one.”

It’s not until we get home that we discover an unforeseen glitch in my revolutionizing two cart shopping plan. As we unpack the groceries we find we have two bags of rice, two jars of olive oil, two boxes of pasta, two sacks of apples, two boxes of mandarin oranges, but to Darcy’s great dismay, only one bag of red licorice twists. And we both forgot the milk.

Shannon McKinnon is a syndicated humour columnist from the Peace River country. You can read more of her writing by visiting