Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Socially Awkward Bridget

Two things you should know about me, as background for what happened at Carrefour today.

1. Sometimes I buy ice cream here, even though it's either of horrible quality or really expensive. And I usually go for the expensive stuff. I laugh at/pine for the days when I could wait for 1.5 quarts of Breyer's to go on sale for $2 and that was something that actually happened. Here, the exact same size of ice cream, except more freezer-burny from multiple thawings and chillings, is 30 dhs ($8). But I only eat ice cream once a week. Well, let me rephrase that: I only eat ice cream during one 24-hour period a week. My point: sometimes I buy ice cream, and it's a big deal when I do because it costs so much.

2. I am socially awkward. At the grocery store, I cringe whenever I feel like someone is looking at what I'm buying, even if it's just fruits and vegetables and bread. I just don't want anyone to judge my grocery shopping decisions. I hate laying it out for the cashier to see, too, but that's a necessary evil. There are certain things I am STILL, at the ripe old age of 30, embarrassed to buy. Even when I need something mundane (like toothpaste) at the store, and I end up at that part of the aisle, and someone is standing in front of the area I need to peruse, I will walk on and not buy that thing, rather than draw attention to myself and the fact that I also need to buy that thing by standing there and waiting for the person to move. It's like this:

I understand this penguin completely.

So today at Carrefour, I made a covert foray into the ice cream section. There were two official-ish ladies hanging out there but they were far enough away from my cart that I didn't feel in danger of their judgment of  my shopping cart contents. However, they were really paying attention to how I was assessing my various ice cream choices. It bothered me. I pulled an item out of the freezer to get a closer look, and I could feel their eyes on me. I felt so self-conscious and socially awkward that I decided to just put the ice cream in my cart and get out of there.

However, as soon as I turned my cart out of the aisle, the ladies swooped in on me and asked if they could administer a survey. I didn't have the heart to say no, and then I was subjected to five minutes of tortuous questions about my shopping preferences, particularly as they related to ice cream. IT WAS SO AWKWARD. For me, not for them. It was as if someone had designed a social experiment just for Socially Awkward Bridget. And they won. And now I have some random ice cream sitting in my freezer and I might cringe all over again when I eat it on Friday. Sigh.

18 comments:

Yvonne Anderson said...

I laughed out loud reading this. I feel exactly the same way about people spying in my cart and judging me. Last time I went shopping I had to do the toothpaste survery. I felt so uncomfortable about the scrutiny that I picked up three toothbrushes I didn't even need and put them in my cart just so I would seem more.....I don't even know what.....to the survey lady. (I later ditched them on another aisle)

Jessie said...

Whoa. I can't relate to this at all (except for the nasty gummy freezer-burny ice cream thing).

Jessie said...

I should say that a lot of the socially awkward penguins speak to me. Just not that particular one, and the grocery anxiety thing. I've honestly never even thought about people looking at my groceries.

Liz Johnson said...

Hahahahaha. I often feel judged for my grocery cart, especially when I have crap in it. And I admit that sometimes I judge other people's carts, but mostly when they are buying things I deem to not be a good deal.

I'm so sorry about the survey, though. I hope your ice cream is uncharacteristically smooth, creamy, and delicious.

Crys said...

I judge :) A few weeks ago I was actually buying something embarrassing. I was standing in the aisle trying to make my choice when a group of students walked around the corner. I grabbed a box and ran, hoping to get as far away as possible before they got to where I was and realized what I was buying....

Kathy Haynie said...

Hahahaha...thank you for making me smile! I vividly remember shopping for groceries at BYU with my kids - you could tell which carts belonged to male and female students just by looking at the contents. (Frozen pizza, chips, soda, cold cereal? Boy. Sugar, flour, tomato sauce, oatmeal? Girl.)

I echo Liz in wishing delicious ice cream for you.

And I DO hate it when I'm shopping for personal items (bra, fem hygiene, etc) in my local store and I see one of my students. Especially a male high school student. Sometimes the boys become cashiers after they graduate. I try to avoid their line if I have "girl stuff" in my cart. Socially awkward Mrs. Haynie.

Ariana said...

OH MY GOSH this is me too!!! LOL Glad I'm not alone in my awkwardness.

Finding My Way Softly said...

Having an EX-husband who was very judgmental about what other people bought, I make it a point not to notice what other people are buying, except on a very peripheral level. I have been known to tell someone I already know, about a great deal on something I know they like, but that is about it. I also can't say that what I have in my cart makes any difference with who I choose to check out with. The only exception is that we have one super slow checker, but I always avoid her, no matter what I am buying.

The only time I can remember being self conscious about what I bought was buying a home pregnancy test. I have driven up to 15 miles away to a store I have never been to before so that I don't have to worry about someone I know seeing and then asking me about it later. Since I have had early first trimester miscarriages, and times that I was just late and a pregnancy test came back negative, I would rather not have anyone ask me about the result, so traveling to buy one seemed almost like a "covert operation."

Susanne said...

Today at Target I heard someone's phone ring. It was the lady ahead of me several feet away. I notice in her left hand, two huge bras just swinging there. I realize half the world's population (I guess) wear them, but still. I am just not that confident of certain items. I think I have prudish blood or something.

Years ago I was at a local grocery store and there was a big display of beer right near the freezer I was looking in. It was one of those aisle displays. Anyway, all of a sudden, a noise draws my attention away from the freezer contents I was analyzing because someone is putting one of those huge cases of Budweiser in my buggy! I thought of course it was a mistake (because I was shopping alone and don't buy or drink beer) until I look up and see my preacher laughing at me! So I try not to judge, but sometimes I do.

And I never judge people for buying ice cream..yum!

And I totally don't purchase certain items at the local Walgreens because I know every single person in there and would feel really embarrassed to have James or one of the other guys to check out my purchases.

I wish I were braver!

Suzanne Bubnash said...

I could win the gold for being socially awkward. (Bonus for my very quiet voice, which guarantees I'll never be heard even when I want to be).

However, I'm not self-conscious about what I buy at the grocery store. What does bother me about your shopping experience is that the women kept you talking while your ice cream was melting in the cart.

I plead guilty to sometimes judging people by the contents of their carts. Like how much alcohol or how many cases of beer they're buying (I just hope we don't meet head-on later), or the expense they are incurring by purchasing out-of-season produce (like $5/lb. grapes, etc.). Or today at Winco, a school bus-size woman in front of me at the checkout was buying a ton of junk food. I couldn't look away.

Lilianne said...

I'm with Jessie. Not once - EVER - have I felt awkward about what I am putting in my cart nor have I ever judged anyone else's choices in the grocery store (well, unless they have like an entire cart full of beer only and they look like they just walked off the "Jersey Shore" set - then, maybe...)

This must make shopping completely unbearable! And I hate those random surveys. Ugh. I just put my head down and act like I didn't hear them!! :)

Bridget said...

Jessie, I thought most people would really not relate to this, you included. I'm happy there are non-socially awkward people out there. Someone has to do it!

Bridget said...

I'm glad you don't experience this awkwardness! I don't feel it all the time, just when someone is obnoxiously paying attention to what I'm buying (or watching my every move as I shop so they can pounce on me with a survey later).

JosephJ said...

I sometimes crack under the pressure of what I'm buying. Like if I'm getting something feminine for Jen, and the checker wants to make small talk, I KNOW I'm fully blushed about it, and start to fumble words. I just want to skip the "Hi How are You?" and get out of there.

On the other hand, I probably have been the "aggressor" before, because sometimes I'll ask people's opinion if they are near what I'm shopping for. "Which one do you think is better, the MiraLax or ExLax?" How many people do you think have run home sobbing on my account?

Suzanne Bubnash said...

Have you ever watched the movie Mr. Mom?

Bridget said...

Oh yeah, isn't there a part where he's at the grocery store and the clerk has to call over the intercom for a price check on jumbo tampons? Or something?

Bridget said...

Here it is: http://youtu.be/6oMdKb0KqcI

JosephJ said...

I hadn't, but after looking at the clip, I think I'll have to look for it on Netflix. Or maybe more on Youtube.

I watched BIG for the first time within the last month, and it seems to have the same 80s flair.

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