There comes a time in life, like it or not, to acknowledge whose son I am. Marketing was a day my mother’s mishegoss was on full display. Schlepping packages was much more colorful than merely carrying them. From many a stick-ball game I had to absent myself to lug the groceries up three flights in our walk-up apartment.
I think she found a perverse joy in her aggravation. Has anyone before or since haggled at the checkstand? I haven’t tried except to drop that word, haggle, and see what reaction I get. Usually a laugh.
As far as I can recall she confined her excursions to the A&P and a once-a-week ten block walk to a kosher butcher. She was under his spell, convinced he held the best cuts especially for her. Where I saw splattered blood on his apron she probably saw roses blooming. The shop is alive in my mind with its chicken feathers, sawdust floor and strands of fly paper.
I find myself shopping at no less than six markets. Mumsie would be proud. Gelsons is now having their grand-opening in our neighborhood. I ventured in yesterday to mingle with the 1% and case the joint. I expect they will be my place if I’m trying to impress a visiting dignitary.
Smart and Final, which I call Finally Smart, is my choice for Good Earth Sweet & Spicy tea. I can also be found at the 99 Cent Store. Nothing is beneath me. They carry a low-carb cereal called Twigs as well as honeydew when in season. It is the very same melon Costco offers for three times the price.
The big-box store supplies most of our provender. It’s a great challenge eating a dozen plums before they go bad. But I can’t resist the bargain. If I were shameless like Mumsie I’d start selling them off while waiting in line or go door-to-door when I get home. On the other hand one never knows when the Mormon Tabernacle Choir may drop in for an after-theater snack.
Ralph’s market gets the lion’s share of whatever Costco doesn’t stock. They also carry low-carb bagels and Carbmaster yogurt with a small fraction of the carb content compared to the regular brands.
The sixth store to provide a small chunk of comestibles is Trader Joe. When I run in for one item I invariably end up with six. They have the world’s largest selection of guilt-free junk food. In addition T.J. can be counted on for quick frozen dishes and the best mushroom soup in town.
One might ask, what about Whole Foods and the farmer’s market. If I ever reached for an over-priced tomato my inner-mother would slap my hand. She didn’t know from organic or local produce. If one must choose between pests or pesticides (for half the price) I’ll go with chemicals and wash the carcinogens down the drain. Indefensible as it may be, blame my mother and leave me alone.