Paper or Plastic?


Grocery shopping is a necessary evil. We need food to survive; therefore we must go out and purchase the food. While at Publix last week I began unloading my items onto the conveyor belt. The bag boy politely asked, “Paper or plastic?” As I answered his question I saw the cashier out of the corner of my eye. She had a somewhat shocked look on her face. I didn’t pay much attention to her due to the fact that I was battling with my children over who was going to place the items on the belt. One kid was under the basket, one was standing in the basket helping me unload, and the third was reading Soap Opera Digest.

When I go shopping, I don’t just pick up a few things. My cart usually looks like I am preparing for the Apocalypse. Living in a house with five people causes you to buy a variety of items. It is not uncommon to see all or some combination of the following items in my cart; diapers, beer, wine, panty liners, bathroom wipes, KY lubricant, Tums, Pepto Bismol, anti-itch cream, drain cleaner, batteries, lighters, rubbing alcohol, and sometimes Preperation H.

I have never paid much attention to how I unload the cart. I am usually trying to keep my kids from stealing candy or scanning the cart to remember what item I had forgotten. Before having children I would get embarrassed if the cashier saw me buying condoms and beer, or panty liners and bathroom wipes. I would  hide the items under other things, perhaps a magazine or spread them out as to look less conspicuous. When the cashier picks up the magazine and sees the condoms, I am pretty sure she doesn’t think you are going home to have a water balloon fight. I am at the point where I refuse to be embarrassed for buying personal items. If I am buying beer and condoms together, it just means I’m going to have a good time and I’m not stupid enough to drink without protection. I know what happens after I have a few beers, and I am in no way interested in having another child.

When I got home and began to unload the groceries I figured out the puzzled look on my cashiers face. I finished unloading everything and found one lonely brown paper bag . When I opened it I saw the following items; KY lubricant, batteries, and a bottle of wine. I assumed at that point that the cashier thought I would be using those items together. To be honest the batteries were for my son’s remote control car, however I give the girl points for imagination.

It made me stop and think about the judging eyes of my cashier. We have all had a cashier give us a dirty look  from time to time. Perhaps when you run into the store with your kids to buy beer and diapers. Why do they look at you with such disdain? I can’t have a beer while diapering my child? It’s not like I came into the store drunk with my children and bought more beer and forgot the diapers; now that is a reason to give a dirty look.

So from now on I will make sure and tell the cashier what I will be doing with all of the items from my cart. “The KY is for me and my husband. I need the panty liners because I gave birth to three kids and I pee my pants when I sneeze. I have children with allergies and need creams, ointment and disinfectants. We are very hairy people and the drains get clogged all the time, so Drano is a must have item. I have frequent heartburn and three children-sized hemorrhoids, so I need a lot of Tums and Preparation H. I need a lighter because I love to light candles, and I need the batteries for my vibrator.” Plastic bags will be fine, thanks.


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