You know it’s there.
No one wants to admit they know it’s there, but it is.
I don’t know about your grocery store, but in mine, no one is ever in the cookie aisle. In fact, they make a point of virtuously marching past it; may even snarl something like, “We can skip that aisle” – as if they were selling porn or heroine or cheap romantic fiction down that aisle.
I have fond childhood memories of the cookie aisle (big surprise there, right?) that involve my mother…well, there is just no other way to say this…shoplifting.
Well, not shoplifting, really. Everyone did it. Back in the day, there was always an open package of cookies in the cookie aisle. I don’t know if this was a peculiarity of grocery stores in New Jersey or a courtesy left over from the “olden days,” but there would be two or three open packages from which shoppers would help themselves.
That was back when shopper weren’t afraid to be seen in the cookie aisle.
I do believe that it was actually the grocery manager who opened those cookie packages to entice people down the aisle or to offer a free sample.
We were, as were our fellow shoppers, always very courteous about our treatment of the open cookie packages. No one took more than one per person. Since children were always supervised, there was no danger of a little Finster grabbing a handful of Oreos and sticking them in his pocket.
Can you imagine if they still did that these days? Mothers would be leaving kids in the aisle while they shopped. They’d be demanding the service of juice lest little AshleyBrittneyCaitlin choke on crumbs. And then there is the danger of peanuts and all the liability involved (I’m sure there is a reason – buy why were peanuts never a problem 40 years ago? Have to Google that…).
Anyway – no more shoplifting in the cookie aisle these days. No more nothing in the cookie aisle these days.
I know this because Dirtman sent me there this weekend. Our resident cookie baker (me) HAS BEEN A LITTLE BUSY OF LATE, so I was forced to venture to this aisle – I have to admit – I have purposely avoided. I have no defenses against Mr. Chips Chocolate Chip cookies (the original, please; stop messing with perfection).
Have you been in the cookie aisle lately? It’s like entering an airlock. You can’t hear anything going on in the rest of the store in the cookie aisle. The air is dense, holding the sweet smell right at nose level. It’s narrower than all the other aisles, so there is no getting away from cookies in your face.
And you are always alone. I think this is because, upon entering the cookie aisle, you enter into your own, personal dimension. Yes, the food marketing industry has cornered the market on this technology so you can fill your cart with Nutter Butters, cover them up with bags of Romaine lettuce, and no one will ever know.
So, there I am in the cookie aisle, alone. I grabbed three flats of generic sandwich cookies (representing only three nights of snacks around here…) and was slipping them into my cart when – suddenly – a glitch in the technology.
A woman and her daughter appeared before me. Our eye contact was for only a split second and we all looked away, like we'd walked into each other’s stall in the ladies’ room.
But then I saw the mother look at the cookie packages in my hands with disdain. I realized she couldn’t help notice the cliché of a middle-aged fat woman holding a pile of sandwich cookies. I wanted, at first to be defensive, but realized she was in the cookie aisle too.
I wanted to say, “Those ain’t exactly rice cakes you’re holding, sister.”
Only they were.
I slunk out of the cookie aisle and back into reality, where I promptly marched up to the service counter and complained that their Dimensional Transcendation Manipulator was on the blink. I would not be back to buy cookies until it was fixed.
Fortunately, there are other grocery stores in my area…