JERK OF THE WEEK: Memorial Day Grocery Shopping at Giant
One of my good friends hates holidays. He despises Thanksgiving, Halloween, and even Christmas. "There's just too much stupid s*** you have to do on them," he once told me. "I'd rather just go to work, quite honestly."
I never understood his mindset until recently. My girlfriend and I have to spend each holiday with both of our families, so we typically make a 50-minute drive up to her parents' house, hang out for a few hours there, then drive back home, grab a few things, and then make our way to my parents' house, which is about 10 minutes away. We typically spend another couple of hours there, and then we go home. By the time our day is over, we're exhausted. It's fine to hang out with family, but being in a car for more than two hours and conversing with people for another six can be pretty taxing.
My girlfriend had a brilliant idea for Memorial Day. "Why don't we invite everyone here?" she asked. "That way, we don't have to drive around the entire day."
It sounded like a great plan to me. Of course, that meant that we had to prepare for the holiday. So, the Saturday before, we planned a crazy evening that was comprised of having dinner at Panera Bread (**) and then going grocery shopping. How we recovered the following morning, I have absolutely zero clue.
(**) I need to note that Panera Bread has really been pissing me off lately. They've omitted something in my order the previous three times I've gone there. The first occasion, it was the croutons with my tomato soup; after that, they failed to give me my side bread; and this past Saturday, it was the lettuce in my Bacon Turkey Bravo sandwich. "Maybe people just don't like you, Walt," my girlfriend said. Maybe...
We scarfed down dinner and then made our way to the grocery store. Acme was right across the street, so I was surprised when my girlfriend made a right out of the shopping center. I was confused.
Me: We're not going to Acme?
Girlfriend: No, we're going to Giant.
Me: Why Giant?
Girlfriend: Because Giant isn't as stupid as Acme.
I had never been in a Giant before, so I was a bit anxious. I hate trying new things - when Obama promised "change," I hid under my bed sheets for months - so I knew that this grocery-shopping experience could be difficult. But as I quickly discovered, my trip to Giant would spark a new Jerks of the Week entry for the following reasons:
1. The Salad Bar:
First of all, I had trouble walking into Giant. My girlfriend told me to grab a big shopping cart, so I retrieved one and headed toward the sliding door - except it wouldn't open!
"Walt, that's the exit," my girlfriend said.
See what I mean about new things being extremely difficult? At any rate, one of the first items that piqued my interest while walking through Giant was a sign I noticed when my girlfriend was picking out fruits and vegetables:
"The Best Salad Bar in Town!"
Holy smokes. The best salad bar in town ... right here in Giant!? I never knew this. Why have I been going to Saladworks this entire time, when the best salad bar in town has been right here all along? I mean, sure, it would've taken me some time to figure out where the entrance was, but for the best salad bar in town? It sure as hell would've been worth it!
I wasn't hungry after my Panera Bread meal, but I still wanted to try this "best salad bar in town" just to see if it lived up to its reputation. Unfortunately, I didn't even get the chance. Why? Because the "best salad bar in town's" hours were until 8 pm, and it was already 8:30.
What crap! How can the "best salad bar in town" close at 8? The "best salad bar in town" should be able to distinguish itself from Saladworks by actually staying open past 8. Giant is 24-7, so why can't the "best salad bar in town" be 24-7 as well? Or why can't it stay open until 10, at least? Crazy people like me eat late, so the least the "best salad bar in town" can do is accommodate us.
Alas, I cannot confirm if the Giant salad bar is indeed the "best salad bar in town," but I vow to give it a try one of these days. And when I do, I sure as hell will know where the entrance is.
2. Cocoa Puffs Sale:
Unless my girlfriend happened to make me breakfast on a particular morning, I've eaten Cocoa Puffs for breakfast every single day in the past two years. I'm not exaggerating. Each time my girlfriend goes grocery shopping, she brings home two boxes of Cocoa Puffs, just for me.
Would you say that I'm coo-coo for Cocoa Puffs? Maybe. But then again, I'm coo-coo for a lot of things, so that's not saying much.
At any rate, we walked down the cereal aisle and passed by my precious Cocoa Puffs. Without even thinking, I placed two of the larger boxes into our cart and continued forward. My girlfriend stopped me.
Girlfriend: Put those back.
Me: Put the Cocoa Puffs back!? Why!?
Girlfriend: Because the smaller boxes are on sale. Look...
She showed me the sign. Indeed, the bright orange letters said that the two smaller boxes were on sale for a two for $5 special. The larger boxes, meanwhile, were $3.49 each.
I reached for the smaller boxes, but it occurred for me that it might be prudent for me to do the math. We were talking about buying Cocoa Puffs here, so this was serious business.
So, the smaller boxes are 11.8 ounces, while the larger boxes were 16.5 ounces. Multiply 11.8 ounces by two (for two boxes) and you get 23.6 ounces - compared to 33 ounces for two of the larger boxes (16.5 ounces x 2). Now, divide the 23.6 ounces by $5, and you get 4.720 ounces per dollar. As for the larger boxes, 33 ounces divided by $6.98 ($3.49 x 2) gets you 4.723 ounces per dollar.
Wow. So, this so-called "sale" for the smaller boxes is actually a worse deal than just buying two of the larger boxes at normal price. What a rip-off. What a f***ing rip-off.
Now, I know what you're thinking... "Walt, it's just 0.003 ounces per dollar; what's the big deal?" Ha! I'll tell you what the big deal is. First of all, 0.003 ounces per dollar of Cocoa Puffs is no laughing matter. We're talking about Cocoa Puffs, after all. Second, you can't just announce that you're having a sale when what you're really doing is gipping the customers of 0.003 ounces per dollar of Cocoa Puffs. It's completely unethical. Imagine if I came to you and said that I'd sell you a 50-inch LED HD TV for just $250, and when you paid me the $250, I gave you pieces of dog poop instead of the TV. It's basically the same thing.
You know, with this Cocoa Puffs sale scandal, I'm beginning to doubt the validity of the "best salad bar in town" as well. From my experience thus far, all I can determine is that Giant is simply trying to cheat its customers. The best salad bar in town? It's probably the worst salad bar in town.
3. Shopping Cart Tactics:
The customers at Giant didn't annoy me as much as the alleged Cocoa Puff sale, but they still pissed me off. They were constantly in my way when I was wheeling around the shopping cart. I had to maneuver through them quite skillfully, and I was actually proud of how I was driving the cart.
There was one instance that sticks out. Two old ladies were walking down the aisle at the same time. I tried squeezing the cart through because they were way too slow for my taste, and I managed to tap one of the old ladies. I didn't say "excuse me" because it was a light tap, and besides, old ladies like those should've been in bed already.
My girlfriend criticized my shopping-cart driving skills.
Girlfriend: Walt, you just plow people over with the shopping cart!
Me: No, it was a light tap!
Girlfriend: It wasn't a light tap! You knocked them over! And what about all of those other people you hit?
Me: What other people?
Girlfriend: Like, everyone! You never say excuse me. You just barge through everyone. Maybe that's why people don't like you!
Argh, stupid people. Why do they have to get in my way? Meh, maybe she's right. Perhaps my rudeness is why I don't get croutons in my soup, bread with my meal or lettuce in my sandwich. But would I accept those things for the simple price of being courteous to people? Not a chance.
4. Junior Fruity Pops:
I left my money at home, so my girlfriend was footing the bill for this grocery trip. So, when we got to the ice cream aisle, I had to ask her to get something for me.
Me: Junior Fruity Pops!
Girlfriend: No, Walt.
Me: Come on! I want popsicles so bad!
Girlfriend: Walt, they have 11 grams of sugar. That's too much.
Me: Come on, 11 grams is nothing. That's literally just 11 grams more than zero grams, so it's basically sugar-free.
Girlfriend: It doesn't work that way...
Me: And look, it says 60-percent Vitamin C. That means I could eat two and I'd have more than 100 percent of my Vitamin C for the day!
Girlfriend: Ugh... fine.
I gleefully placed the box of Junior Fruity Pops in the cart. My girlfriend saw how happy I was and remarked, "You and your Junior Fruity Pops... I'm going to call you Junior Fruity Pop from now on."
The nickname's fine by me as long as I get to eat them. Oh, and the verdict is that I'd give Junior Fruity Pops a B+. They're fine themselves, but they came in just three flavors: cherry, grape and orange. Where's the lemon and lime!? I need lemon and lime to complete the rainbow of popsicles; otherwise, it's all a waste of time.
I told you I was coo-coo for other things.
5. Leaving the Store:
The cashier caught my attention. She was some blonde girl named Alyssa. She was just mediocre-looking, but I made note of her because of how pissed off she looked. She appeared totally over her job and didn't crack a smile once.
I figured she was just frustrated about working at a Giant on a Saturday evening when she could've been out drinking with her friends and then banging random dudes and catching various STDs at the end of the evening. But then, I noticed the bagger. He was this goofy-looking dude who fumbled the bags he was trying to put our groceries into. He was an absolute mess. I then noticed his name tag, and it all made sense:
Who in their right mind names their child "Serkhan?" I imagine the thought process was like, "Honey, I want to name my baby boy Serkhan so that he's beaten up at school every day, develops no confidence and ultimately has to work at a grocery store on weekend nights where he sucks at his job." I imagine those very words were said.
"I can't believe his name is Serkhan," I said to my girlfriend as we were loading the groceries into the trunk of her car. "He sounds like some super villain like Serkhan, the Monstrous, or Serkhan, the Devourer, or Serkhan, the Dragon Speaker."
"Walt, hold this while we drive home," my girlfriend said, interrupting me. She handed me a carton of eggs she bought.
My heart sank. As you may remember from my eggs entry in Jerks of the Week, I'm terrified of buying eggs because they might hatch. What would I do if a baby bird, a baby snake, or a baby rabbit hatched out of one of the eggs? Would I set it free, or would I have to keep it? If it's the latter, would I have to set up vet appointments? What would I feed it? Where would I keep it, since I don't have a cage? There are quite simply too many complications surrounding eggs.
While we were driving home, it dawned on me that these could even be dragon eggs. Serkhan, the Dragon Speaker's eggs, more specifically.
Crap. Here I am worrying about the "best salad bar in town" and saving 0.003 ounces per dollar of Cocoa Puffs, when my real concern is taking care of a baby dragon. I knew we should've gone to Acme instead.