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Lost in the Supermarket: Now with More Antioxidants!

Delivering on time and under budget.

Today I made it out of Whole Foods in less than forty minutes, and spent less than forty dollars.

This is a little game I play, because there is no such thing as a quick stop at Whole Foods. It doesn’t matter if I’m running in for milk, or have a long list. Either way, I emerge forty minutes later toting a heaving bag of groceries costing fifty bucks.

I can walk out of Costco without ten pounds of onions, a pile of bestsellers and a 62 inch flat screen, but discipline fails in Whole Foods. Pears are on sale, and we are almost out of garlic, and maybe I need mozzarella?, and ooh, there are the expensive and delicious red wine pepper biscuits that I must hide from my children. This is all before I’ve left the produce aisle. But today, I went in for eggs, apples and kale, and left fifteen minutes later with just that.

It’s even more impressive since there was a queue for kale. Apparently we are all rabid kale fiends in this town. While the woman ahead of me shopped, we chatted about how difficult it was to remove a bunch from the tightly packed stack. She finally freed one, inspected it and put it aside. She pulled out and rejected another bunch and began rifling afresh. After her third round, she invited me to select from her growing pile of discards, and I did. And then she went back to work, each time, offering me her gleanings. And while I did want another bunch, and I’m sure there was nothing wrong with her rejects, I was wounded by the presumption that her sloppy seconds were good enough for me.

I did the rest of my shopping, and when I circled back to the kale, SHE WAS STILL THERE. I could have just leaned in and grabbed a bunch, but now I was fascinated, so I continued to watch while she emptied the case, selected a bunch, and carefully restocked the shelf.

A little bit of OCD is not necessarily a bad thing; it keeps me from getting locked out of the house. So I was in no position to judge a fellow kale lover for needing a bunch containing exactly twenty small unblemished leaves lacking visible traces of sand and arranged in a perfectly spiraled helix.

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