Archive for the ‘ Foodtown (and other supermarkets) ’ Category

I Hate Me, Part 201,641

As much as I denigrate Foodtown in my many Tim vs. Foodtown stories* (riveting stories of one man’s constant battle against an entire town of food), they do make really great fried chicken. Getting back from tour I wanted to treat myself to some, I picked up three breasts (please control your snickering) and two wings. A breast and a wing for lunch (for two days) and one cut up in a salad for dinner. The woman behind the counter handed me a larger than normal box and I didn’t think much of it until I went to pay for it. Pow! Twenty six dollars ($26), at $5.99 a pound that’s over four pounds of chicken made up of 3 breasts and two wings. I took a look and Good Lord, it was like mutant Flintstone sized chicken breasts. The chickens they came from must have been the size of a Volkswagon, however it was tasty. I’m guessing it was a terrifying experiment in deliciousness.

*[These stories will be retold in a  minor motion picture starring George Wendt.  They will also be made into; a series of flash cards, a breakfast cereal, a bumper sticker and a pair of pants]

chicken breast in comparison to a small mule

chicken breast dwarfing my step-daughters hand (this was also to be our family christmas card photo)

I Hate Me, Part 225,881

Food Townasaurus Rex

Day off and I had to go to Foodtown to fill in the stuff that was forgotten on the weekly list. My wife who usually writes the list has handwriting that could be charitably described as “hard to read”:
Me-This says “Pearches”, do you mean “peaches” or “pears” or filet of Perch
(I get fixed with a stare that says “idiot” before the word is said)
Carrie- You idiot (“idiot” is said slowly, it’s savored) that doesn’t say “Pearches” it says Bounty…paper towels
Just before I complain about her chicken scratch I remember that my handwriting, at best looks like someone taped a pen to a dogs paw and set him off at a piece of paper, illegible scrawl and some chew marks.
I got to food town and as I was getting some milk I saw an old woman struggling to reach the half & half:
-Here let me help you with that
+I want the Foodtown half & half
(grabbing a pint) Here you go.
+I want a quart not a pint
-The don’t have Foodtown quarts how about Farmland?
+Feh, that’s garbage, are you sure there are no Foodtown quarts?
I’m sure (regretting that I offered to help you)
+Well a pint doesn’t help me
-How about two pints?
+(stoney glare)
-Hey, there’s a guy who works here. Maybe he can help.
I flee.
As I was finishing I went to use the restroom. So I parked my cart which was full of food in a spot that wasn’t in anyones way. Two minutes later I came out and my cart was gone. Christ, I wasn’t gone that long so I start looking around and a woman with a cart came up to me:
+Oh, was this your cart?
-Yeah, I parked it over there while I used the restroom.
+Oh, I thought it was abandoned
-Abandoned? There was food in it
+Oh yeah, I guess there was.
-…Soooo where did you put my stuff?
She walked over to the gourmet cheese section and in the middle of the wine infused goat cheese and the twenty dollar slabs of Pecorino Romano was my food just sitting there in a pile; box of cereal, paper towels, 3 frozen dinners, 1/2 gallon of milk and a couple of yogurts.
+Uh…I guess you want your cart back
-You would be correct.
She grabbed her stuff and left. Of course when I got to the check out she was in front of me. I just tried to act invisible.

I Hate Me, Part 119,014

After two days of not going to Foodtown, we needed apples so back I went. Foodtown had some shitty apples, it was like mush with an apple skin around it. Now as many of you know from my many apple based novels (including my most recent The Quantonium Gambit: A Red Apple Mystery featuring farming detective Hiram “Red” Apple) that I’m a red apple man. Not so much green apples, they look unripe and I’ve heard they’re full of poison. Anyhow to make a long story even more boring, I went to Whole Foods for apples. They have a good selection of apples (red apples) and although they’re a little pricey, where else can you get apples the size of pumpkins. It was also dinnertime so I went to the hot food carved meats section. They seemed understaffed and the guy in front of me was amazingly indecisive. Here’s the set up, it was about 7:30pm and they didn’t have a lot left; roast turkey, macaroni & cheese, carrots, mashed potatoes, and for some reason chicken wings. The guy was asking for things that weren’t there, like he would shame them into magically producing what he wanted. “mmmmm roast turkey…. Yeah, you don’t have any of that pork loin do you…. Yeah, that’s good stuff” “No sir, we ran out. I’m sorry” “Yeah… that’s too bad ‘cause that pork loin was real good…You don’t have any pot roast there do ya.” I left before I caved in his head with a soup ladle. So I went to the hot food buffet, Whole Foods usually has a good Chicken Tikki Masala. Unfortunately by this time of the night the serving dish for the Tikki Masala was just sauce. Restock the Tikki Masala pond with chicken or shut it down! I also had to pick up some decaf tea for my wife. I know that tea is a now a super specialized item but all I needed was basic Lipton’s decaf. Carrie had bought a decaf tea that was apple cinnamon flavored that tasted like flavors of food that astronauts would eat (“Try this space goo, it’s should taste like apple cinnamon” “rrrrRRRRaaaaaLLLLffffkoffkoffkoff…uuuuhhhh” “well, we have to tweak the flavor nodules a little”). Whole Foods doesn’t carry anything as pedestrian as Lipton’s. Maybe they bleach their tea bags, or filter their tea with orphan tears, I don’t know why. So it was kind of a workout finding regular decaf tea. Yeah, this rutabaga vermilion tea doesn’t have caffeine, but does it taste like tea? How about pine needle and offal tea? I finally found some normal decaf and the long national nightmare was over.

I Hate Me, part 307,115

and again, Foodtown

Websters defines Scat as “Sexual practice related to shit.”. Monmouth County defines Scat as Special Citizens Access Transport” commonly referred to as the senior bus. Today was Scat (2nd definition) day at Foodtown (While every second monday is Scat (1st definition) day at Prongs and Such over in Monmouth Beach). The Scat bus let off a bunch of seniors who acted as sort of a “Slow Gang” running slow motion roughshod throughout Foodtown. Look, I’m happy when the elderly do stuff for themselves. It’s heartwarming and it gives me a brief glimmer of hope that if I live that long I’ll be able to slowly toddle through the store cursing the President over the high price of prunes. The horror began in the produce section where I got stuck in the middle of a sheep pack, five old women who just seemed to be sightseeing through fruits and vegetables, “Oooh look, yams”, “That’s not a yam, that’s a squash”. I finally escaped down a side aisle, near the self service soup. Aauuugh! Another log jam, this time four elderly people who seemed like prehistoric animals stuck in a tar pit, were discussing but not buying the soup. I saw a hole in their defense and tried to slip through but was blocked by an impossibly small woman. Not a midget or dwarf, just very very tiny. Like she was of normal size once, but time and life just shrank her. In my soft non-threatening voice “Excuse me ma’am, could I get by.” She responded in a voice that sounded like a frog who gargled whiskey while smoking “Alright, Hold your horses, I’m movin’”, and indeed she was moving but her tiny legs made her progress non-existent. I finally got all my stuff and made it to an empty register. So I’m thinking alright, this is ending ok. I forgot our Foodtown savings card so I gave the checkout girl our phone number so they could credit my purchase. As I’m giving the girl our phone number, she’s looking oddly at me. The kind of look that says something like “Hey, your beard is made of shit”. So I give her what for me is a big smile and quickly stare at the ground. After I bag everything and go to pay I get the same “shitbeard” glare. Now I’m genuinely puzzled but I just shook it off and went to the car. After I loaded the car I caught reflection in the side view mirror, my lips and teeth were covered in blood. I must have bitten the inside of my upper lip and didn’t notice it, so by the time I got to the checkout counter my lips, teeth, and part of my beard were bloody. I hadn’t shaved in a couple of days so I must have looked like hell. Unshaven, unkempt hair, messy clothes, and a bloody mouth. It’s clear I can’t go back for a while, unless I’m in disguise.

A Quick Run to the Store (the forgotten ring of hell)

I had just cooked a bunch of chicken on the grill and I thought there was a bunch of Tupperware to put it in. Of course not, five tops and no containers. So a quick run to the store was in order, I wanted to get home in time to see the Mets lose (something they’ve unfortunately become very good at). As I’m pulling in to the store a jerk is speeding down the wrong way in the parking lot, and gives me the stink eye (grrrrrr). I grab a basket, head down an aisle and I see a tiny little kid carrying a basket full of food. Jesus, this kid is strong. Nope, it’s a midget (or a tiny person, I’m not sure what’s correct at this point) and of course he catches me looking at him and I get a look that says YouNeverSeenAMidget,YouAsshole. I back out of the aisle and try the next one, I’m stuck behind a guy who’s weaving and slow and eating a giant bag of chips, an eat and shop guy. Oh yeah, he’s a fat guy wearing a way too small shirt for a mixed martial arts school. Now I’m a fat guy as well and the first goddamn rule of clothing is, Non Embarrassing, Loose Fitting, Coverage. (A good example: many years ago I found a really cool Funkadelic-America Eats It Young long sleeve black T-shirt in large, I thought I could pull it off. Not even close, if you had given me a snorkel I would have looked like part of the Funkadelic Dive Team). I finally grab the Tupperware containers and head to the check out, 10 items or less. I’m third in line, the first guy is a giant musclebound douche who must have thought the sign said 10 bags of groceries or less. So the second guy in line and I are exchanging What-The-Fuck-Is-This-Asshole-Doing looks, finally after a problem with his bonus points card Mr.musclebound douche is gone. The next guy is up, I thought he was alright, we were both angered by the first guy and he only had a few vegetables,Pow! The shopping bag’s not right, “Could you put the food in a plastic bag than put that bag in a paper bag and then put that bag in another plastic bag.” The kid bags it, incorrectly. “No, no I’m sorry. You put the food in a paper bag than put that in a plastic bag, I need you to put the food in a plastic bag than a paper bag than another plastic bag, It’s stronger that way, thank you”. I was stupefied, the Mets were down 2-0 by the time I got home.

I Hate Me, Part 241,893

not for amateurs

not for amateurs

I was on my own for dinner and near Whole Foods so I thought I should eat something healthy and I went in for a salad. Without putting too fine a point on it, I’m not the healthiest eating guy around but I’m trying (pause for Oprah moment). Whole Foods has real good food but they’re very expensive, also they make you feel like you’re not doing enough for the planet, “[a sign saying] Are you recycling the ink from the labels from the cans you’re recycling? If not why not” and sometimes they’re a bit self congratulatory “[another sign] this ice cream is made from renewable ice.” But like I said their food is real good and the salad bar is top notch. So I grab a take out box (recycled material of course) and start shoveling in the salad; baby spinach, fetal spinach, onions, carrots. Then a problem, the smaller the “salad fixins” the larger the tongs. I’m trying to grab soy beans with tongs you’d flip a steak with and the beans are flying everywhere, into the beats, the curried celery, the shaved balsamic figs and I’m starting to get the stink eye from the other salad denizens. I threw some chicken on my salad and headed to the “dressing corral”. There was a bunch of spilled blue cheese dressing that of course unbeknown to me wound up on my shirt. “Excuse me sir, it looks like you have some dressing on your shirt.” It wasn’t just some, it looked like the bottom of my shirt was made of Blue cheese dressing. I got that taken care of and went back for some dressing.   As I was reaching over for a bottle of carrot ginger vinaigrette my giant ham-like hand knocked over the glass bottle of olive oil. (a side note: I’d like to state that I have an unparalleled record as a life long clod, when I was a child it was said I could trip over smoke.)  So the olive oil is falling in what seems like slow motion and I make a grab for it spilling some of my salad. The bottle shattered and went all over the place, oil, giant shards of glass, it was a mess. They sent out a HazMat team to clean everything up and I slunk away with a half assed salad.

Apples (honorary I Hate Me)

George "the Animal" Steele

George "the Animal" Steele

Curly Joe Derita

Curly Joe Derita

There’s a farm market called Delicious Orchards near where I live. They have good produce but it’s expensive and shopping there is annoying. Every now and again I’ll go and pick up a bunch of good fruit and vegetables, more than we would normally eat. It’s a weird theory based on osmosis that through the very act of buying the good food I’ll get the benefits of it, even if I don’t eat it.
I got there in the afternoon and it was rotten with people. I was picking out some apples when this big goon who looked like a cross between George “the animal” Steele and Curly Joe Derita (the last Curly) pushed my cart out of the way and spit out a pit or a core of whatever piece of fruit he just stole and ate. I gave him my best “Whatthefuck” look and he stared at me like a retarded child and stumbled off. A minute later I saw him at the free sample apple cider table and he filled up the tiny paper cup about 10 times and drank like a man at an oasis. I picked out the rest of my food and navigated through doddering oldsters and annoying children with parents. I got to a register that looked like it had the shortest line. Well, the line was short but the annoyance was long. The only customer in front of me was checking each item for accuracy, “Did you get that, they’re Gala apples, a dollar forty nine a pound.” She was a hippie-ish earth mother type with an older woman who had a wheel chair but preferred to stand and they were arguing over pretty much everything, “Where are the pears? I don’t see the pears.” “We have pears at home.” “Those pears are mealy and not fit to eat.” Add to this a toddler who was going through the already packed groceries, throwing them around and a teenage girl who was useless in controlling the baby “…stop,…stop…don’t go through the bag…stop…”. As I was waiting and trying not to lose my mind I saw this guy standing at the front of the store. A tall slack jawed type, the kind of guy who would always need a shave. He was staring off into space chewing on a toothpick and he had a bright red shirt that had two pictures. The first said “scratch” and was a picture of a monkey scratching his ass, the second said “sniff” and had the monkey smelling his finger. Then I noticed he was smelling his finger. I finally got out of there and as I was heading back to my car I almost got hit by a speeding car going the wrong way through the parking lot. As I was cursing the old people in the car I noticed they were serene and oblivious like the car knew where they were going and they were just along for the ride.

ham (I Hate Me, Pt.000,001)

After work I went to Foodtown for some cold cuts. It was about an hour until closing and pretty empty, the best time to shop. It’s like having your own store. There’s an old, skinny, worn out guy who works the deli section. The best thing about him is no small talk, “What do you want?” and “Here’s your order”. I ordered a half a pound of ham and he slices too much, almost a full pound and he starts to get upset. I tried to calm him down and told him it was fine, I’ll take what he sliced.  I pat myself on the belly and say, “Don’t worry about it, it’s not gonna go to waste.”  That should have been it but he came back with a morose “I can eat and eat and I never gain any weight.” I’m thinkin’ “Good for you, I hate you. You skinny bastard.” But I say “well, you’re a lucky man.” “I have a thyroid condition and I’m pretty sick.” I don’t know what to say, I mumble a “that sucks” and then there’s really uncomfortable silence that felt like ten minutes but it wasn’t more than ten seconds. I’m waiting for him to give me the ham and I’m thinking mantra like, “gimmethefuckin’ham gimmethefuckin’ham gimmethefuckin’ham”. “Do you want anything else?”, “no (never)”.