Afternoon Inquisition

Sunday AI: What’s in your shopping cart?

I am posting this a bit early today, since I have to make a last minute run to the store to get printer cartridges.  Why do I need that? Well, among other things, I want to be able to print crib notes for my interview this evening.

I don’t know about you, but I find I am always running to the store to get completely random assortments of items. One rather memorable cart included a purple thong, a machete, a carbon monoxide monitor, trash bags, and a pint of Ben and Jerry’s Peanut Butter Cup ice cream.

I don’t know what the checkout lady made of that.  Fortunately no police showed up at my house later to ask about potential Purple Pantied Machete Avenger plans, so I guess it was only memorable for me.

What sorts of odd combinations of things show up in your shopping basket? Do you look at your cart and think people judge you for your purchases?  What (if anything) have you purchased recently that you felt self-conscious about?


Bug_girl has a PhD in Entomology, and is a pointy-headed former academic living in Ohio. She is obsessed with insects, but otherwise perfectly normal. Really! If you want a daily stream of cool info about bugs, follow her Facebook page or find her on Twitter.

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  1. My girlfriend was between birth control methods, so we had to make a late night condom trip. Coincidentally, we were out of ibuprofen and I have a problem with joint pain so we picked some of that up to. It wasn’t until after we checked out until I realized the hilarity of buying condoms and lube with a big ass bottle of pain killers. That’s probably the only time I thought my purchase would be weird to the checkout person.

    I also don’t like to use plastic bags, even the little ones for produce. That gets me some weird looks sometimes — having loose fruits and vegetables on the belt.

  2. The occupational hazards of playing double reed instruments: More frequently than infrequently, I have found myself at Wal-Mart et al purchasing large quantities of string, straight-edge razor blades (several 100-packs at a time), hydrogen peroxide, and (safety first, people!) band-aids. If I’m hungry I throw an apple or a couple bananas into the mix. Usually, though, it’s late at night and the cashier is either too tired or too stoned/drunk to notice or care. In fact, if Tennessee didn’t have so damn many Blue Laws, I would probably take advantage of those trips to purchase wine as well. :D

  3. I can’t remember anything recent. Of course I’ve also learned not to care so much about what people think. As child I used to buy cigarette rolling papers. Best thing in the world to protect your lower lip during long clarinet practice sessions.

  4. I once did a 2am Walmart run for emergency tampons (it happens). While I was there, I kept remembering other random things I needed, so I ended up also grabbing lube, coat hangers, and chocolate. Dear confused cashier: I swear I wasn’t trying to give myself an abortion.

    1. Just don’t by wine or any other alcohol, because a clerk has to come over to check ID and then unlock the machine.

      1. I don’t drink alcohol or buy DVDs or computer games. I’d need a clerk to authorise a kitchen knofe but that’s not really embarressing . Yeah men can buy condoms, tigjts, womens underwear, make up all embaressment free at the self servive :)

  5. Oh yes! Absolutely! I get very crazy neurotic self-conscious about what I’m buying. Do I have a reasonable ice cream to produce ratio in my basket? Is the checkout lady going to think this is a totally hideous sweater? Is my cold obvious enough that they won’t think I’m buying NyQuil just to get high? Has it been a long enough time since I last came to this store? Is that the same cashier from last time? They’re going to think this is the only place I shop! Gaaahhhh!!!

    And then there was my transition and THAT was certainly a nightmare of awkward purchases. Particularly during that tricky period where I was obliged to buy “girl things” buy was still presenting in “boy mode”. Like my first time buying make-up, my first time buying girl clothes, etc.

    By far the worst was the first time I bought bras and underwear. I made the awful mistake of going to one of those specialty stores that cater mostly to teenage / college girls. You know, that actually advertise their products as “panties”. I felt like a total pervert. Shoulda gone to Sears.

    Even nowadays I still worry about whether or not I’m getting read at the checkout. And there are still occasional awkward purchase thingies: boy razors AND girl razors? Is anyone going to notice? Better throw in a bunch of silly girly clensers and lotions to be on the safe side…

    Yes. I’m crazy. Now I’m going to go eat some ice cream.

    1. If you’re picking up boy and girl razors, the cashier probably assumes you’re a hetero girl with a boyfriend/husband. And as a cis-girl, I can honestly tell you that I only shave with “boy” razors, as I feel like “girl” razors are not only not as good, but also a total rip.

  6. Once bought just lube and a cucumber with Mr davo_301 and only after realised how it looked…. not good

    A couple of weeks ago I was away from Mr davo_301 for the weekend and when i got back we went shopping for food. We was standing at the tills and I was a little more touchy feely then normal cause I had missed him. We got to the check out lady and she hold us that her husband was like me all hugging and shaking and grabbing the excess fat under her bra, then used the words “do you know what that’s like?” to 2 guys! I raised my eyebrow to suggest Mr davo_301 wore one and she then said “why did I tell you that?”

  7. Once I went to the checkout with whipped cream, condoms, lube and two friends. My male friend was grinning from ear to ear. The cashier was like “Have a good night”. “Oh, I WILL.” he says.

  8. This reminds me of a scene in one of the Amelia Rules! comics. Amelia’s a grade school kid, and she and her friends have a game they call “Thank Goodness You’re Open!”. The goal is to rush into a convenience store, grab two unrelated items that cost under $2, rush up to the counter with a panicked look on your face, and say to the cashier “Thank goodness you’re open!” Of course I can’t come up with any of the great combinations, but, trust me, it was a hoot. It’s such a great comic.

    1. That sounds like an awesome game! I’d love to give it a shot some time. Get some friends together, go to a few different stores, and see who can come up with the weirdest combination. Brilliant. :)

    2. Is the Box Of Condoms game some weirdness exclusive to folks I know? Similar to Thank Goodness You’re Open, but you go to WalMart or Meijer or Canadian Tire or some other big-box, we-carry-everything store, preferably one that’s open late at night. You go in at some unreasonable hour, and purchase two items alongside a box of condoms that, in combination, are most likely to raise the cashier’s eyebrow.

      There is a bit of a challenge in that you are only permitted two additional items. It is generally merely a drunken thought exercise, but hilarious.

      Huge spool of fishing line, a hangcard with a dozen pairs of pierced earrings, and a box of condoms.
      Inflatable kiddie pool, a large watermelon, and a box of condoms.
      A condolence card, two dozen feeder fish, and a box of condoms.
      Tube of almond bathtub caulk, a mailbox, and a box of condoms.
      Soccer net, a “starter set” bag of kitchen utensils, and a box of condoms.

  9. I can’t recall any particularly interesting combinations in my shopping basket recently. Well, maybe a trip a couple of months ago to a music store. I got albums by Dixie Chicks, Iron Maiden, Linda Eder, and Roseanne Cash.

    But I’m easily entertained, and I do like checking out the baskets of fellow shoppers (sounds like a bit of a euphemism!).

  10. I see painkillers have already been done.

    Ah well, I’ll go for it anyway.

    Worst one for me was probably flowers, a bottle of cheap white wine, lollies and painkillers.

    I was picking up the flowers to take to my mother early the following morning (she had been sick). My girlfriend and I had run out of painkillers and cooking wine, so I picked them up while I was out. And my girlfriend asked me to pick up her favorite brand of lollies while I was out and about.

    So… Yeah. Awkward.

  11. Diapers, sleeping pills, a Mother’s Day card, and vodka.
    It was a long, strange trip to the supermarket.
    And where do you get a machete and ice cream on the same trip? For that matter, where do you do your machete shopping? ‘Cause I wouldn’t even know where to begin.

  12. @mrmisconception, personally, if I were looking for a machete, I’d go to a military surplus store. The ones they sell in most stores are junk. That presupposes that you acutally want to USE it as a machete and not as a stage prop, decoration, etc….

  13. One of my worst trips to the store was when my mother asked me to pick up some baby food. She knew I was going to the store for some things, and she had it in her head that baby food would be good for puppies for some reason. Reluctantly, I said okay.
    What she might not have realized is that I was also going to be picking up condoms and some stuff for baking that day.
    My items were basically this: A huge bag of skittles, two packs of condoms, three or four jars of baby food, powdered sugar, a whole bunch of lemons and limes, some grenadine syrup and some of those little umbrellas because I wanted to feel fancy when drinking my smoothies.
    I don’t even want to know what the check-out guy must’ve thought…

  14. I remember picking up a pregnancy test, yeast infection treatment, a pint of ice cream, and something else.

    I forced my partner to do the transaction on that one and just kinda hid behind him the whole time.

  15. Condoms and tampons. The cashier started to say “Have a nice day!” But stopped when she realized she’d just sold condoms and tampons, together, with nothing else.

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