November, you’re a drag. I’m waiting for December, the month with the better holiday and better desserts. I want to get to the gifts gifts gifts gifts gifts. Gluttony and engorging myself at Thanksgiving simply isn’t as fun a sin as greed greed greed greed greed. Although I do like the word engorge. Engorge engorge engorge engorge engorge.
The malls practically skip November. They’ve got the Salvation Army bell ringers already tolling at the entrance. Inside, they’re already decked out in bells and Santa suits. The radio is playing Winter Wonderland, even though it hasn’t snowed a flake yet. In fact, it’s a downright balmy 60 degrees here in Baltimore.
Thanksgiving is a holiday that I’ve never been able to get into. It centers around eating a dead bird. I’m always asked, what do vegetarians eat on Thanksgiving? Well, first, let me speak for many of us: fuck Tofurky. The bean curd bird. No one eats that shit.
The answer: we eat carbs. Lots of bread and mashed potatoes. And I’ll tell you what—the turkey drug ain’t got nothing on a good old-fashioned carbohydrate coma. All that delicious white starch converting to sugar in the bloodstream—it’s like kissing the face of Jesus.
November is for the weak, folks who like to get their holiday shopping done early. That’s not me. Online shopping? Never heard of it. I’m a warrior. A mall warrior. I want to be out there the third week in December, body checking, shoving, and tackling for the last Zhu Zhu Pet at Toys R Us—a special Christmas gift for that special child, or hey, myself. Those things are damn cute.
Forgive me if my seasonal references are so last year. I hear that some thing called a Pillow Pet is the hot thing this year. They’re these pillows that turn into animals. Sounds stupid and dumb. Motorized hamsters named Mr. Squiggles are way better. But whatever, I’m up for the challenge. If I have to take a Wal-Mart hostage on Black Friday to get a Panda Pillow Pet, so be it. BECAUSE I WILL SELL IT ON EBAY FOR ONE MILLION DOLLARS.
Speaking of Black Friday, that’s a mall warrior’s battle royal, the day when people are scraping and clawing at five AM for a three dollar toaster. I love these kind of stories. They get me in the holiday mood. In recent years, retailers have tried to make Midnight Madness sales on Thanksgiving night or Cyber Monday online happen, but I’m not interested. I’ll take my Black Friday death mobs. I’m sentimental that way.
Lastly, there’s the grocery store. With Thanksgiving almost a week away, the grocery store is the place to be, a place for chaos and frenzy, a place for long lines, a place for that kid in aisle four to screech the word PUPPY over and over. PUPPPPYYYY. PUPPPPPPPPPPPPYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY!
I must have some kind of sadistic personality disorder in subjecting myself to this place. Remember that show, Supermarket Sweep? It’s like the horror version of that. The grocery store has a way of bringing out all my inner mental health diagnoses. Especially paranoia. I’m just convinced the front carton of milk is old. The front loaf of bread, moldy. The front bag of lettuce, tainted. The front donut, diseased. The front eggs, E.coli City, baby.
I like to stand there and pick over the items, inspecting each closely. I don’t trust Shoppers Food Warehouse. These employees can’t run the ship at all. First, they never open more than two lines at a time. And they turn the other cheek when someone is clearly violating the fifteen items or less line, and I’m not talking about someone who has slipped in items sixteen and seventeen. These are blatant, alarm-sounding violations that began back when the summit of yogurt cups was placed on the belt by the woman who I just know is going to write a check.
Jesus, lady, what is with the stockpiling? And is everything you eat frozen in a box? Two things of toilet bowl cleaner? Is that necessary? Are you going to clean your toilet for three days straight? At least she’s paying with a credit card…
…that will be inevitably decline. And here it comes. Wait for it. Wait for it. THE CHECKBOOK.
God, I hate this Shoppers. I spit on this Shoppers. The commercials sing that “smart shoppers shop Shoppers,” but then there’s idiots like me. I can’t stop myself. It’s right up the street. It’s convenient. Convenience is never a perk. It’s a curse.
The girlfriend and I have entire conversations over dinner about how much we hate this grocery store. This is what relationships are like after four years of dating and one year of living together. We’ve had every other conversation there is. About politics. About religion. About who gets the shower mat more wet. (It’s her. TOTALLY HER.) I know everything that the family dog did when she was growing up. She knows everything about my dog. Childhood dogs are very important topics, you see. I know everything she bought at Kohl’s yesterday. Yes, those are cool yoga pants. Yep, you look good in them. Sure, maroon is your color.
So it’s come down to this. Discussing every employee at Shoppers.
There’s GBP, a girl that looks a bit like one of the girlfriend’s former roommates, Paige. Except she’s like a Glen Burnie version of Paige, which means she looks like Paige after a carton of Camel Lights. We call her GBP for short.
“Guess who rang me up tonight?” I say.
“GBP,” the girlfriend guesses. The girlfriend suspects I have a secret crush on GBP, which may or may not be true. Hey, I think she’d be a good-looking girl with a few servings of vegetables in her diet. It could brighten up her whole complexion. Riboflavin. It does wonders.
Our favorite employee is Lil’ Bit. She is petite, small-framed, and intimidatingly masculine. Also, she is covered in tattoos of a girl’s name, Dierdra. Also, she bags groceries flawlessly. Heavy items on the bottom, the carton of eggs nested in a cocoon between the bag salad and yogurt, the bread placed gingerly on top. Dierdra is one lucky woman.
We love that name, Lil’ Bit. The girlfriend swears she saw her wearing a name tag that said it.
“It said Lil’ Bit? Oh my god, that’s great!” I say.
“And one time, I even heard another employee call her that. They said, ‘Lil’ Bit, we need more plastic bags at register two.”
“They referred to her aloud as Lil’ Bit?” I ask, needing to be absolutely certain. These are important, critical details.
But here’s the real shocker. Another time, we saw Lil’ Bit wearing a name tag that read RACHEL.
Then there’s Eyebrows, another one the girlfriend accuses me of having a secret crush on. “I can’t believe you like her. She shaves her eyebrows and draws them back on. Horribly.” the girlfriend says.
“What. What. All I said is that she’s nice!”
And I stand by that. She is. She pushes the credit button as soon as I swipe my card, instead of staring off into space like Dentures.
Dentures. There’s one the girlfriend and I can agree on. Yikes.
Regardless of the fascinating employees, I still hate this place. It’s not a grocery store. It’s a grocery HELL. And it’s only going to amp up in the week before Thanksgiving. But that’s November. The craziness of grocery stores, Black Friday, and a day where we engorge engorge engorge and float float float away on a cloud of carbs.
It’s still a super long month, and I want December and those little cookies with the Hershey kisses pressed ever-so-gently into the tops. So get outta here, November. And take your weird ass 60 degree temperatures and Tofurkys with you. You suck.
And somebody get that kid his PUUUUUUUUUUPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPY or whatever it is he wants.