A never-ending process if I want to eat

It’s the first of the year; I should be happy — thrilled to be alive — right?

While I’m excited to be alive, it’s just another year of some of the same ole, same ole.

For instance, I generally like grocery shopping. I like pushing a cart up and down the store aisles. I like tossing things into the cart. The part I’ve come to despise is the checkout process, or should I call it THE ORDEAL of checking out.

Finding a line that isn’t too long is one thing, but getting the cart up to the conveyor belt is another thing all together.

I hate those plastic carriers that some people leave right at the front of the conveyor belt on the floor. I have to move them before I can push my cart all the way up. If I don’t do that, I’ve been known to drop a few things into the void. It seems that the can of peas or the bottle of ketchup never lands in the carrier; that would be too convenient. No, it has to bounce off the side of the basket, hit the floor and then roll or skid to someplace that’s totally inconvenient.

Once, a can of tuna rolled not to the cart just behind me, but to the cart behind that. That woman was totally engrossed in her cell phone and didn’t notice the incident. So I had to get the man in between us to move his cart so that I could squeeze by and then try to reach the tuna.

Or what’s even worse is the end of the aisle displays. Why? I understand the point of checkout sales and all of that, but really, I’m more inclined to throw the bags of tangerines or bars of breakfast whatever than I am to purchase this or that.

To me, it’s as if they really don’t want me to get to the point where I can put my groceries onto the conveyor belt and eventually pay for them. It’s as if I’m supposed to see the carrier basket or the point of sales stuff and decide to return to the store and do some more shopping. If that’s the plan, it’s not working. I don’t buy more, unless it’s a giant candy bar to eat; they’re handy, they’re right beside my basket, and by this point I’m ticked off and want to devour something.

And then horror of horrors comes when there is the point of sales display along with a stack of baskets! The world is against me at this point!

The general routine of putting the items in the basket just to have to put them onto the belt is annoying.

I really, really, really miss the days when all grocery stores allowed the customer to just push the cart into place behind the cash register and the clerk took them out of the basket and put them into a bag or a courtesy clerk did that.

Quincy now has four grocery stores and only one offers that service.

I also like it when they bag my groceries. Yes, occasionally I find when I get home that the bread or avocadoes are under the large tin of tomatoes, but not very often.

Three of Quincy’s four grocery stores offer bagging services.

So, so far I’ve put things in the cart, more than likely take them out of the cart, and then take them to the car where I take them out of the cart again and put them in the trunk. Then when I get them home, I take them out of the trunk and into the house. But I’m still not done. That’s when I have to put everything away.

So how many times have I handled the apples or cans since I first walked into the store? A lot.

I realize I’m not the only one who has to do all of this. I get it. But I’m tired of the whole process. And I was just thinking the other day that I remember when Quincy’s largest grocery store stopped taking things out of my cart and insisted that I do that part myself. I also recall that prices didn’t reflect that change. Okay, so they’re suddenly doing a little less in the way of customer service, but I still have to pay the same???? Yes, I’m actually still upset about something that happened 20 years ago. It’s my right.

What it all comes down to is that I do have choices. I can go to the grocery store that takes things from my cart and bags them, or I can do everything myself, or choose the stores where it’s partly done for me.

I’m still back at square one, however, getting those darned plastic baskets out of the front of the checkout line and somewhere else …