By John Morrow

“I said, do you want to go shopping?”

The question drifted into my consciousness from somewhere in the house, and I suddenly realized that my wife had been calling to me and asking if I wanted to go shopping. I’d been sitting on the porch looking out at the grass. With all my brainpower focused on my lawn, it’s not surprising that I missed the first few minutes of that conversation. I was dealing with critical questions like, “Should I cut the grass today or should I wait ‘till tomorrow?” And, “Should I weed whack, or do the edges really need whacking this time?” I thought I’d better answer her question about shopping right away, before she figured I was just napping or daydreaming about something inconsequential.

“Shopping?” I asked. “Where to?”

I knew this was a dumb question. There is always more than one shopping destination, but this fact is seldom revealed at the outset. My idea of a shopping trip is to identify something I need, get into my truck and drive to a store that sells it, find the item, pay for it at the counter, and drive home. That is shopping. I was pretty sure the type of shopping my wife was referring to was not that. But the grass could wait. And maybe we’d just make one stop this time.

“I’m just going to Bosco. I thought you’d like to come,” she said.

If you have to go on a shopping trip, a big box store like Bosco is about the best place to go. There are lots of things to see there. And don’t forget what I call the “umbrella ladies.” At the end of every aisle you can find a little cart decorated for some reason with an umbrella. I’m pretty sure it’s not going to rain in the store, but then again I’m not an expert on retail marketing.

Underneath each umbrella stands a man or woman distributing little samples of unusual foods. Cruising the Bosco aisles for free samples is sort of an art form. I like to start with an hors d’oeuvre, maybe smelly cheese on a cracker, or a small exotic fruit. Then I move on to the main course where I seek out spicy sausages, fish tacos, or little pizzas. Next, for the third course, I like a sweet dessert – maybe half a cookie or a quarter of a tart. The best dessert though is the chocolate covered berries. They’re so good that if I ever bought a bag I’m sure I’d eat the whole five pounds on the way home. If I’m really lucky, I can top everything off with a teeny, weeny cup of coffee.

“Bosco? I’d love to go,” I said.

A line of pedestrians with overloaded shopping carts marched out the main doors like leaf cutter ants fully loaded and heading home, blocking our way to the parking lot. Eventually I was able to nose through the line, park, and head for the store door. My wife flashed her card to gain entry, and I followed along as her helper.

That’s when I made the mistake of stopping to look at the giant TVs just inside the door. I tried, but struggled, to see any difference between the 4K and 8K picture quality. They looked the same to me. When I turned around to share my new TV expertise with my wife, I found I was alone in the crowd. She had disappeared, but I would be the one described as “lost.” My only hope was to walk down the main aisle with my head on a swivel like an owl hunting for field mice, hoping to spot her among the throngs of shopper packed in like Times Square on New Year’s Eve. As I searched, I make good use of my time connecting with the umbrella ladies.

Eventually I found her, and we made our way through the checkout. I loaded our trunk with a 128-roll pack of paper towels, jars of pickles that are so big we may need to purchase a new fridge, and a four-pack of hotdog relish, each container large enough to last several seasons.

Satisfied with the successful trip, I said, “Okay, let’s head for home.”

And then came the reply, “No, no. That’s just our first stop. This is a shopping trip.”

“Of course,” I said.

John lived in Port Stanley in the ‘60s and moved back 10 years ago after retiring from a career in education. You can find him most mornings sharing coffee and wisdom with friends at a local coffee shop. John enjoys writing about the humour he sees in everyday life.  

 Read other columns by John Morrow, or listen to John’s podcast Laughing At Life.