The Grocery Shopping Experience

January 2, 2024 at 2:16 p.m. Pat D'Amico

In view of my advanced age and the fact that human beings have to eat, it’s safe to assume that I have spent a good measure of my life in grocery stores. Lately the experience has taken a slightly downward course. I remember when almost every checkout lane had a cheery, twinkling light on the top, a real person at the cash register and a box boy (or girl as the case might be) at the end, ready to place my groceries in free paper bags and whisk them to my car. There was always a customer service stand but nary a self-service lane in sight.

There is also some sneaky shrinkage going on. The products on the shelves look exactly the same and the prices are relatively the same but the boxes, cans, bags and plastic wrappers are smaller, so we are getting less for the money. As a case in point: My English Muffin occupies a lot less territory on my plate than it used to.

My minor annoyances tend to inspire poems. They require my brain to put things in their proper prospective and I entertain myself mightily, so here goes:

My grocery cart is full. It’s heavy, but I wheel it.
My purse is on my person so someone doesn’t steal it.
I pull up to a check stand but, alas, there’s no one there.
They wave me to self-service as if they do not care.
Since I am old and wrinkly and I’m taking up their space,
(I also can implant a helpless look upon my face)
Some person will take notice and open up a slot.
They’ll scan my groceries quickly and I’ll pay for what I got.
I cannot see a box boy. I am looking near and far
And so, I’ll end this poem as I am loading up my car.

You are packaging your products
In bottles, jars and boxes:
I wonder if you really think
Your strategy outfoxes
Anyone who’s shopping
With a working pair of eyes
And notices the relevance
Between the price and size.

One visual Fact has ensnared my attention
Regarding your bread and its present dimension:
My sandwich, I’ll note, is decidedly dinky.
When retrieving my toast, I am burning my pinky.
The conclusion’s baked in and I want you to know
That despite buttered words, it’s less dough for the dough

“Bread and Butter Economics” was previously published in 

This photo of Pat D’Amico, longtime contributor to Northwest Prime Time, was taken the day of her 70th high school reunion. “I kept my mom’s house in Bellingham and the renters are wonderful. My daughter snapped the picture while I was looking around with great pleasure,” says Pat.


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