The American Grocery Experience Of Doom

The wife and I have a weekly tradition as of late, where we spend our early Saturday afternoon–or occasionally Sunday, schedule permitting–doing the weekly grocery shopping along with whatever other errands are required by life in 2022. We started the practice maybe a year or so ago, when we finally got tired of having our online grocery pickups bungled magnificently by just about every store offering the service.

I’m not talking simple mistakes here, like they forgot to include the Lucky Charms, or gave us whole milk instead of skim. No, no. On more than one occasion we were given someone else’s entire order and let me tell you, when that happens at the curbside pickup, and you get home with John Doe’s pimento cheese and Diet Shasta, the store will be quick to tell you to feel free to keep it. Keep in mind, they never have any idea what happened to your actual order, but I imagine John Doe at home in that exact same moment, scratching his head over the roll of braunschweiger we just had to have that week.

The straw that broke the camel’s back for me, though, was the canned sausage gravy.

Yes, you read that right. Canned. Sausage. Gravy.

I had never seen such a thing in my life. Didn’t even know it existed. Perhaps in all the days I’d wandered down whatever aisle one might find canned sausage gravy, my mind shut its existence out completely, attempting to protect me from the obvious trauma of having to come to terms with such an abomination. Whatever the reason, I found out all about it one Sunday afternoon, when we were given a bag with four cans of John Doe’s tinned, glutinous horror.

That was the moment I swore we’d never do an online grocery pickup again.

The Puddinette and I now have a delightful weekly date, where we occasional have lunch and then hand select our groceries for the week. However, as we were doing so last weekend, a feeling of doom tiptoed its way up my spine. First we happened upon this display in our Costco (which, I will be honest, is the only store I’ve ever genuinely enjoyed visiting):

It’s October, Costco. This is not okay.

Should seeing a full display of Christmas-themed treats really have surprised me on October 22? I suppose not. The way most retailers operate these days, we’re only about five years away from Christmas being an 11 month rotation. Soon, January will be the only month without Christmas goods, during which they’ll use the floorspace to push 5 pound tubs of Muscle Mass Maker 2000XX! on everyone hitting the gym in temporary service to their New Year’s resolutions.

But that’s not what most distressed me this past Saturday. No, no. For that, we go to Aldi, where I found this display of atrocities:

Bratwurst. Potato. Chips.

Bratwurst. Chips.

They only question swirling in the chaos of my mind as I stood slack-jawed before these boxes of outrage was, who has been sitting at home, thinking, “Man, I could go for a brat right now, but damn, that’s a lot of work. What if I could get that delicious bratwurst flavor on a crunchy, convenient potato chip? That’d be the best.”

I will tell you who. No one. NO. ONE.

No one wanted these. Ever. In the recorded history of mankind, not one single person has ever sat alone in front of a football game manifesting bratwurst-flavored chips into existence. This is capitalism run amok, people, and someone needs to put a foot down.

Now then, if you need me, I’ll be hiding in my cave, emerging only twice a day to shake my fist at the sky.

The rest of the time I’ll be thinking about whether or not Bratwurst chips would make a good Christmas gift.


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