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Supermarkets are merging into conglomerates, and new companies are taking over old pick-and-purchase retail areas.  Buying an emergency bottle of gherkins could take me as much time as searching for Amelia Earhart, which is actually my lover’s hobby.

Grocery shopping is a hassle anyway you look at it. If it wasn't for hunger and a good chance that I'd win the lottery this time, I would let the butler do it, although, heaven knows, he has enough to do with shinning the silver in my mouth and appearing as the usual suspect in murder mysteries. That's neither here or there or hither or yon, so let's get on with the point if I can remember what that actually is.

Oh yes, it's the time-consuming task of going through a market so large that by the time I enter for a few things and finally leave, I have to shave my legs again. I don't remember the make of my car either. The lot looks like a sci-fi flick. Dazed people, keys in hand, wandering about hoping their familiar vehicle will ever so gently call out, "Yoo hoo, over here, hon."

If marketing were all I had to do, it would be great. But I have a very full life that involves searching for my 106 remote controls with the rest of my day spent inquiring: Where is my other shoe, cell phone, directions to a meeting, or those forever hiding car keys?

With my search-and-rescue operation, there is little time for shopping in these megastores. I fondly recall the old days, shopping at my local grocer, a little gray-haired man who greeted me with a long white apron and a smile. He also wore pants. He sold food and that was it.

Today's super-duper markets are different. It’s impossible to stick to a list. Show me a person who does and I'll show you someone with shelf-control, shweetie.

One-stop-shop supermarkets (say that with a tootsie roll in your mouth) now include cleaners, banks, and nurseries where you can buy lush green plants that expire on the way home. They could overwhelm us except for the beautiful music soothing our distress. 

On my last trip they played a delightful frisky ditty. Fantasizing I was Beyonce, I pranced to a guy at frozen foods who melted my Haagen Dazs. We boogied down the aisles. Unfortunately I lost him to cupcakes, the checkout gal.

I need to ask this question: Am I the only one who feels inadequate in the produce section? I've seen melon-pickers tap fruit and listen to its thump with such intelligence it made me weep.

I, on the other hand, have bought green bananas that over-ripened in my car, have mistaken red plums for large cherries and picked cabbage a starving rabbit would ignore. I have come to terms with the fact that I am a failure as a produce plucker. 

While I am willing to live with that deficiency, I wonder if this flaw is the reason I wasn’t chosen from that new age dating service for old broads, GreenThoRipe.com.

I am convinced there is no ideal moment to shop. I once went in for one item, in the middle of the night on our most revered national holiday during a snow storm, and had to wait in a line so long my coupons expired and I didn't feel that good either.

Spending so much time there does not prevent me from forgetting to buy something for dinner. Do I panic? Do I return to the market? Never!

That’s the time I burst into my favorite song: "I deserve a break today, I'll go out and get away. As any brilliant shopper knows, to the cooked food and wine aisles at ole Trader Joe’s.”

Jan Marshall

Jan Marshall is an author, humor columnist, certified clinical hypnotherapist and motivational speaker.

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