They say that you shouldn’t go to the grocery store if you’re hungry. Many believe that this is said because you will be tempted to buy many things that you don’t need, simply because you’re thinking with your stomach, not with your wallet. Well, friend, I’m here to tell you that’s not the most important reason why you shouldn’t shop when you’re hungry. That reason? It’s the one where you have a meltdown in the checkout line because your hunger has grown into anger and frustration. Suddenly, you’re irrational. You’re saying things you’ll regret, both under and over your breath. You, my friend, are hangry.
Recent inclement weather has caused a lot of schools to cancel for snow days this week. Since I work in one of those schools, I get to enjoy a few days of rest and relaxation. Of course, this has had me elated. But today, as I enjoyed my day off, I noticed a lot of people talking about pancakes on various social media. I can only assume the fact that people are gorging themselves on pancakes has something to do with the fact that today is Mardi Gras. I might have to plead ignorance on the connection there, but all of that only served to make me hungry for pancakes.
Conveniently, I live directly across the street from a grocery store. At times, my roommates and I refer to this store as our “pantry.” So I decided to lace up the snow boots (just kidding, I only have sneakers) and get bundled up to trek across the snowy terrain. I knew I wouldn’t have to worry about buying things I didn’t need, in spite of my hunger. I was on a singular mission: get the ingredients needed for pancakes. Oh, and sausage. And milk. Also, I’m pretty sure I’m out of cereal… Wait. I was there to get pancakes!
Which is what I did. But in 10 minutes of moving around the store, searching for the appropriate items necessary to cook a batch of flapjacks, I started to miss the comfort of my own home. But why? I wasn’t gone that long. In the back of my mind, I knew this was the first step to becoming hangry. I was being irrational. But it would be over soon. I got my items and I stood in line to be checked out. Unfortunately, I got behind an older gentleman who was very slowly placing his many, many items on the conveyor belt to be scanned by the store clerk. Which led to step two: impatience. So I did what any self-respecting man with no patience would do. I switched lines.
Here’s the problem, though. There were no other open lines. There was the one I had been in and there was the self check-out lane. At the pantry, there are two of these self check-out machines. But, as is the norm at the pantry, only one of these was working. And the man that happened to be using it was the slowest person I think I’ve ever seen use one of these things. In my mind, the point of the self check-out is because you’re in a hurry. You don’t want to wait in line. You want to scan your stuff, pay for your stuff, and take your stuff. As quickly as possible. Not this guy. It was like watching a three-toed sloth move a 2-liter Coke from his basket to the scanner. But by this point, I figured, I’ve already switched lines once, I’d look like a complete moron if I switched again. So I watched as Sloth scanned his FIVE ITEMS. I also watched the older gentleman pay for his items and leave before Sloth was finished. I could feel the rage building. I’d say that’s step three, but the explosion of rage should be the final step. Three is probably irritability.
I resisted the urge to shout, “Finally!” when Sloth grabbed his bag and left. I began scanning my items and felt a little guilty for thinking of Sloth as sloth-like. The computer attached to the scanner was severely delayed. I’d scan… wait for it… keep waiting… and it would finally tell me it was okay to put my item in the bagging area. But by then, I’d already put my item in the bag. So then it would tell me to remove the unexpected item from the bagging area. I went through this with several of my items. Then I had my meltdown.
I audibly said, “screw this!” and grabbed my bag and moved back to another line, which was now significantly longer than it had been when I was behind the older gentleman (who, by the way, left the store about 10 minutes prior to this). “So much for saving time,” I said, knowing it was far too late to hide my frustration. Then a voice announced the opening of three other check-out lines. I scoffed a bit… but then bolted to the newly opened lane with no customers in it. I tried to be polite to the guy working the register, but I know everything that came out of my mouth was dripping with sarcasm. I do feel bad for that. It’s not his fault I was hungry. It’s not his fault the machine didn’t work right. It’s not his fault I had to try three different lines before I could finally buy my groceries.
The moral of the story? Don’t shop hangry, kids.