I recently learned that in South Korea, subway-goers now have the opportunity to grocery shop while waiting for their ride. A "virtual supermarket" in the station allows a patron to scan QR codes of items and have them delivered by the end of the day.
I never wished I lived in South Korea more than this very moment.
Grocery shopping is the bane of my existence - that and Hugh Grant movies. And like Hugh Grant movies, it doesn't take long to put everyone in a miserable mood and seems to last forever.
Everyone does it, however few - and I say this modestly - do it as inefficiently as I. Why we don't yet have a Peanut Butter Captain Crunch tree yet is unfathomable (I'm looking at you, Science).
Here is my process.
Make a list. Start out by yelling out to wife "What do we need?!" which is a much easier way to begin than actually thinking about it. Wife will helpfully shout back: "I don't know! Figure it out!" which is so incredibly helpful you don't even know.
Search kitchen like poisoned hero frantically looking for antidote, loudly opening cabinets at random so everybody knows there's really hard work going on.
Make comprehensive list. Sit down and watch SportsCenter as reward for job well done.
Wife evaluates at list, which doesn't pass harsh (unfair?) evaluation. Clearly has unrealistic expectations.
"Stuff?" she asks, amazed I was able to write down everything we needed with a simple word, thus conserving ink and thereby saving both money and the environment.
"I think that encompasses everything," I reply, arching my head so I can see the TV I believe she deliberately walked in front of.
"That's all you wrote this whole time after making all that noise with the cupboards?"
"Well, there's milk and eggs on there, too."
"I wrote those!"
"Which are, technically, already listed under my entry but I decided to keep them on there so you wouldn't feel stupid."
Re-start list. After five minutes proclaim entire task "stupid" and "unfair." Attempt to convince wife to go instead because she is so beautiful.
Wife somehow sees through clever scheme, presents insincere "you can do it" pep talk.
Open refrigerator and look for snack.
Close refrigerator and see wife suddenly standing on other side, appearing as if from nowhere with a look that could explode a Care Bear.
Spend 20 painful minutes devising actual list. Submit list for re-approval.
Approval granted. Venture to store.
Acquire parking space requiring spyglass to see building in distance. Pray for St. Bernard with liquor collar to aid in survival.
Add "St. Bernard liquor collar" to list.
Hitchhike to entrance, deciding on basket over cart due to increased speed and mobility. Making engine sounds, maneuver around elderly women talking about grandsons and crackers like Formula One racecar driver.
Speed through aisles like famished homeless person on Supermarket Sweep. Arm beginning to fatigue.
Fill basket to brim. Pray some of this stuff is actually on the list. Arm begins shaking like paint mixer during earthquake. Switch arms.
Spend five minutes at automatic coupon dispenser.
Realize no room to carry eggs, unless placed individually in pockets and taped to body. Carry basket on head like Sudanese village lady. Get strange look from shoppers. Realize that genius is often initially misunderstood.
Can no longer feel arms. Collapse as if shot in cookie aisle. Reach for package of Nilla Wafers but cannot open due to inability to feel hands. Moan softly. Manager approaches, concerned.
Manager inquires about the need for medical attention. Point to Nilla Wafers and groan longingly. Hand manager list and tell him to complete journey and also pass along farewell message to family.
"You must go on," I heave. "Wife needs cheese."
Manager looks concerned, though offers no assistance or cookies. Frowns at suggestion to follow him around store in motorized cart as he completes list.
Summon superhuman physical reserves and return to front of store dragging basket on ground like Neanderthal dragging slain saber-tooth tiger. Dejectedly grab cart, dumping mountain of groceries inside. Something breaks. My heart?
Notice list requiring something called "marjoram." Unsure if need to consult produce manager, Egyptian pharaoh or African shaman for clarification. Theorize store has secret password-required back room area with imaginary items such as this. Afraid to recite other items on list for fear of conjuring evil lizard spirit.
Cautiously approach checkout counters and evaluate situation. Make note of fast checkers with bag assistance, doing best to avoid older women with checkbooks or coupons.
Get passed by two full carts while doing calculations. Curse brain for thinking.
Get in line. Notice Kim Kardashian lead "story" on four of six magazines. Feel sad for America. Notice "impulse item" called "Sour Apple Frog Spit" which is squeezed out of a plastic frog. Hope in America restored.
Return home to no fanfare. Is it too much to ask for a banner? Load arms up with all bags due to hatred of making second trips. Fall backwards. Shout for help.
During unpacking make discovery of missing items: milk and eggs.