Oh no! Uncensored and Unsupervisedby Mary Sheehan Warren on 03/14/13
Yesterday I finished my heavy duty grocery shopping at a place called Woodman's. It's kind of a fun grocery store: No frills, great bargains, and offering just about every single food product available in the Northern Hemisphere.
Of course, what I save in the price difference between this place and our local evil (yes, evil) supermarket may actually be wiped away by what I spend on those "inspired" purchases.
I mean, just think of it: I already know that I'm going to write a big check (yes, check) so why not get the industrial-sized bottle of sesame seed oil or the twelve pack of bamboo-fiber towels with elegant fringe? And, why not give in to the sudden inspiration to organize the breakfast cereal into color-coded plastic containers? Who am I to snuff out inspired genius?
So, why am I telling you this on a fashion blog?
Because of what happened when I checked out. You see I used self check out for my $315 worth of weekly groceries and it got me thinking about the uncensored and unsupervised nature of such social experimentation.
Here I was, first with a bottle each of Pinot Grigio and Moscato (red wine gives me headaches now) whisking them past the magic glass only to realize that no one was around to check my identification. Once the bottles made it to the bags I wanted to shout, "Hey! Look at this! An under-aged-looking woman (what?) is buying alcohol without having her id checked! I made a mental note not to share this observation with any minors I may happen to know.
Then, came the less interesting stuff: Carrots, broccoli, lettuce, grapes, and so on. I was relieved to see that unmarked produce caused no real slow down to the process, but I was a little disappointed to miss out on a cashier's look of approval, "Yes, you are a good mother because you feed your children kale."
But here's where things became problematic. Where was the patronizing smile for my extensive collection of plastic containers ("Bet it doesn't help a messy kitchen my friend") or the quizzical sniff over my twenty pound bag of rice ("Are you serious? Bet you don't have a place large enough to store it,") or the classic flinch at my choice of processed food ("Kale doesn't make up for this, woman").
By the time I bagged my goods and left the store, I got to thinking about the purchase of clothing. (Doesn't grocery shopping get you thinking about fashion?) If it's too easy to buy something, aren't we less apt to think through the wisdom of a purchase? Without the act of placing an object between me and another human being while fishing through my wallet for blank checks, the process goes automatically, without reflection or a flash of self examination.
I know: She doesn't really care what I buy. And maybe I'm seeing things that aren't really there. But after a less-than-optimal purchase, don't you wonder if the sales associate runs to the backroom to tell her comrades, "Hey, this middle aged lady out there bought a pair of floral skinny jeans like she thought she'd look good in them! I bet she thinks she looks young enough to get carded at a grocery store!"