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There's no such thing as a quick trip to store

Isn't it funny -- well, not to my pocketbook -- that a $30 trip to the grocery store ends up costing me $80? I guess I'm often tempted by those "come buy me" displays of items I really don't need.

Unfortunately, that's not the only complaint I have as I enter the hallowed halls of the supermarket.

My patience is tested when I try to get a shopping cart without wobbly wheels, leftover cookies from some child who previously sat in it, or one that has a mind of its own. By this I mean those that veer to the right no matter how hard I steer to the left.

Another long, hard struggle -- where I'm sure I don't look too lady-like -- is the one where it takes forever to separate the carts bound together with what I believe is super-glue.

As I finally secure my shopping vessel, I travel down one aisle to the next hoping to make it home in a reasonable amount of time. This isn't going to happen.

I am confronted by numerous distractions. There's the crying toddler who keeps yanking on anything and everything within his reach, seemingly without the mother noticing.

I guess the only time she might have the slightest indication is when the loudspeaker announces: "Cleanup in aisle three!"

I manage to sidestep the spilled spaghetti sauce while maneuvering around the ladies socializing in the middle of the row. I continue and browse the packages of neatly stacked, overpriced items that probably contain too many preservatives and sugar.

Realizing this will never change, I am met by a well-meaning neighbor who insists on talking and talking and talking. I don't want to offend her so I listen and listen and listen. At least she thinks I am listening. I hope she doesn't realize I haven't contributed too much to the conversation.

To my relief, she runs out of steam and leaves. I am now able to get the last two items I need and leave as well.

After rushing away, I realize I have grabbed someone else's cart. Since my children are grown, I think it was the baby food and diapers that gave it away.

I finally reach the checkout with my own things. I could go to the fast lane, where they zip you through if you have eight or fewer items, but I have 11 and feel guilty.

My honesty leaves me stuck behind a woman whose cart is piled as high as Mount Everest. Of course she'll require a price check to hold me up even longer, not to mention the argument she'll have with her child about the candy bars conveniently located at his eye level.

I can't believe it's finally my turn, and I welcome the sound of the beep-beep-beep as the cashier scans my food along the conveyor belt.

Come to think of it, that wasn't too bad. It took me only an hour for what started out as a quick trip. I would have been home even sooner had I been able to locate my black car in the store's vast parking lot. I promise myself that when my lease is up, I'll consider a car whose color is screaming orange.

As I arrive home anxious to begin my already delayed dinner, I discover I forgot to buy what I intentionally went there for in the first place. Oh well, I could just scoot back there and get it.

On second thought: Who wants to order a pizza?

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