Not food-related, but it does involve a grocery store

So yesterday I’m in Krogers (wait– is it Kroger singular or Krogers, plural? I never know), picking up something for dinner (and some actual food items, not the fancy-schmancy kind). Also toilet paper and bathtub cleaner. (Too much information?) Anyway, this was not my usual Brentwood Kroger(s), this was the one I used to frequent when we lived in our old house. It has been remodeled since we moved, so it was virtually unrecognizable as the place where I once got my wallet stolen in the frozen food aisle I used to consider my neighborhood grocer, but luckily since I am completely disorganized and go to the grocery every other day, I know Kroger(s) general layout pretty well so I could navigate it without having to ask someone in the deli department or anything. Which is good. It’s like The Amazing Race, Kroger Edition, I can find navigate my way through in record time.

Now this Krogers (yeah, I’m just going to make it plural AND singular whenever I feel like it) is located in Belle Meade, which is kind of Nashville’s version of Beverly Hills or Bel Air– old money, big estates, etc. The demographic skews a little older there, and the parking lot always has a lot of the kind of big sedans that are favored by the senior citizen crowd (and no, I am not going to name any because you might drive one. And, um, I might too.)

Anyway, apparently yesterday was Take Your Geezer Husband To The Grocery Day because DEAR LORD IN HEAVEN the aisles were absolutely clogged with liver-spotted men wearing pants up to their nipples pushing carts in slow-mo! Now before you deride me for being disrespectful to my elders, let me remind you that my dear beloved parents are both 92 years old and I honor and adore them. (Also, my mom may be short and old but I bet she could still beat the crap out of me.) But here’s the thing– it was only the men that seemed to be kind of doddering and ancient. Their wives, who all looked about the same age (even though this was Belle Meade I saw no evidence of the arm candy/second wife- type anywhere) were permed, lipsticked, dressed nicely and ACTIVE. They were zipping around picking up pork chops putting them in the basket, weighing the produce putting it in the basket, then heading briskly off in another direction. Their husbands, on the other hand, were generally tethered to the cart studying the list, shuffling along and then with no warning obliviously stopping in the fat middle of the peanut butter aisle while they weighed the pros and cons of crunchy vs. smooth– until their wives would return to the cart with five more items and fuss at them: “For heaven’s sake Henry, move out of the way, these people can’t get through!” And then they’d mutter and give their wife the stink-eye and scoot over about 4 inches. It was heartwarming.

Now I know the statistics about women living longer than men, but I am not aware of any statistics that explain why it seems like the women are almost universally so much more active and in better shape than their husbands– what is that about? Is it because the men are retired now and they kind of don’t know what to do with themselves? It makes sense that they are not as grocery store-savvy as their wives, since that was the go-off-to-work-while-the-wife-is-at-home generation. But it wasn’t just the fact that they weren’t very good at shopping, it was that they just seemed so much older and more feeble than the women. Also crankier. My mom has always said that if anything-God Forbid-happened to Daddy, she is so not interested in remarrying. “It’s one thing to grow old with someone, but who wants to take on some NEW old man?” she sniffs. After yesterday’s little outing, I TOTALLY GET THAT. Honestly, it was scary– I had this horrible vision of my future, with Russ the Geriatric Gospel Singer shuffling behind me like Tim Conway used to do in that old skit, pushing the cart, grouching about the prices and telling me to slow down already. YIKES! I swear, it made me want to rush home and make him chug some Geritol, start jogging and trim his nose hairs. 

Am I making a sweeping generalization here? Have you guys noticed any 85 year old married couples with a get-up-and-go wife and a got-up-and-went husband? Or is it just me and my Kroger(s)?

28 Responses

  1. gracelynn

    ROTFL You definitely got me laughing Tori when you started telling me about your vision of yours and Russ’s future! You know, I had never really thought about it because, I guess where I live, the men really don’t go to the grocery store with the women. In this small farming community, the men usually go down to the service station and sit and drink a Coke and talk while the women go out and do the grocery shopping, run to Family Dollar or the Dollar General, and the pharmacy to pick up the medicines for the month. Once in a rare while, you’ll see an older man pushing the cart for his wife but it is rare. Around here the men did the farming while the women kept the house and I guess they still keep it that way. But I will say this – some of the 85 year old women can get around better than the ones in their 30s like me. LOL I mean, my aunt is 90 years old and believe me, she could still beat the crap outta me if she chose to. Trust me, you don’t want to make her mad. ;)

  2. themema

    Ok, I bet not a one of those feisty women was over a size 10! I could be zipping around and feisty if I lost 100 lbs.

    But your observations are not too far off. Retired husbands without a hobby are a sorry lot.

  3. dijea

    Its probably because when men retire they stop doing stuff. Women on the other hand, still keep up the house, laundry. Women are trying to escape their nutty retired husbands, so they go out with the girls. They keep active. Men retire and become crotchety. I’m not sure I spelled that right, but you know what I mean.

    And I think its possessive. Like Kroger’s market. I think I shot milk out of my nose during the block the isle comment.

  4. CarolynR

    It was “liver-spotted men wearing pants up to their nipples pushing carts in slow-mo” that had me choking up over my keyboard *wonders if Tori’s insurance covers third party replacement laptop?*

    Being a tall Londoner who(s) (you’ve got me apostrophobic now!) migrated to North West Wales where noone grows above 4 ft, I can’t say I’ve noticed overmuch. I just tread over all of them. As they mostly have Welsh as their first language I’ve learnt to say “Ble mae’r stafell molchi?” (Where is the bathroom?) in the hopes they will just think I’m desperate for a pee!

    Let’s face it grocery shopping is not exactly a man thing, I think they become emasculated when confronted with such delicacies as Grandma Hoerner’s Big Slice Apple Sauce w/ Tropical Fruit and Chocolate Covered Key Lime Coconut Patties!

    Brilliant Tori, you cheered up my day :D

  5. meb

    I think Wednesday’s are senior citizen day at Kroger. At least they are where I am. And on the few times I go on those days what you described is exactly what I see too. I also always seem to encounter all the short ladies who can’t reach things and ask me for help (I’m 6 feet). And the hard of hearing husbands who are trying to find out a price. Please sir, get a hearing aid or turn up the one you have. Yes sir, the cantaloupes are 99 cents each. It’s a scene out of a Tim Conway skit alright.

    Thanks for a great laugh. What a great way to start the day.

  6. BrownEyedGirl

    LOL I’m crying from laughing so hard that I can barely see my computer screen !! My husband always has interesting stories from Kroger too. He HAS to read this particular blog.

    I’m laughing again as I picture you and Russ years from now at the grocery store – Russ shuffling and you scolding him. My husband would be off getting into trouble – he always threatens to pass gas by an old lady and walk away so everyone thinks it’s her…….he’s worse than an kid……..Did I mention that I never take him shopping anymore??

    Thank you for the laugh, Tori! Great blog!

  7. Barbara M. Lloyd

    Give me a seat next to your mom. I loved the one I had for 47 years, but I don’t want someone else’s leftover…an old man who wants to slobber all over your cheek while carrying his teeth in his shirt pocket. When an old man gets a sparkle in his eye and manages to limp across the floor to pull out your chair…watch out. He has just decided that you are the perfect one to keep him out of a nursing home.

    But now Russ Taff is another thang. If I can manage to hang around that long, I will gladly take care of that boy in his old age….I’d even find a way to curl those nose hairs so they wouldn’t get in the way while he ate a bowl of soup. What can I say? Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

  8. LindaB

    “So yesterday I’m in Krogers……picking up something for dinner…. Also toilet paper and bathtub cleaner.” Tori

    What is wrong with me???!!!!??? Upon reading your entire blog entry, all I could think of was, “Gee, I wonder what brand of toilet paper Russ Taff uses?” I am sick! I know it, so you don’t have to inform me of the obvious, folks.

    But seriously, I think I know what’s going on here in Kroger——-’cause I know this will be my hubby and I when he retires…..only at Walmart. For over 40 years, I have been the one to shop for food at the grocery store while he goes off to work and his stress filled job of supervising and getting out parts and beating deadlines. I could count on the fingers of one hand the times he has run in the grocery store for needed foods items…….usually when there was some kind of domestic emergency. And in each case, he would come back with weird stuff——-like canned kippers, cheesey pork rinds, pickled pigs feet in a jar, and a three pound bag of M&M peanuts! When I’d ask him where the item was I asked him to get was, he’d simply say he couldn’t find it. Eventually, I quit asking him to pick up stuff at the grocery store.

    I can just see him when he retires and goes with me to the grocery store! It’s just a “job” for me——I wanna get the stuff and get home FAST so I can do fun stuff—-like read your blog, Tori! But I know what he’s gonna do—–He’ll want to look at EVERYTHING ’cause it’s all new to him! I don’t think he knows there is more than one kind of peanut butter, or all apples are not red, or there is more varieties of soup than tomato and chicken noodle. He will want to read every label and compare all the prices! He’ll want to add up all the groceries I’ve put in the cart and announce the grand total….. and figure out what percentages are meat, carbs, and vegetables…..and his favorite catagory—CANDY! And then, heaven help me, he’ll want to discuss “do we REALLY need this”, in which case there may be a fight in the middle of Walmart! There may even be some slapping going on (but I won’t really hurt him so don’t call the police). And I suppose, we may be plugging up the isles for all you turbo charged young people. So, I’ll apologize now… advance….and hope all my Clio neighbors will be understanding and give us a pass. We’re just trying to adjust to retirement, and some folks have a hander time than others. LOL

  9. LindaB

    I have to add this——I followed Tori around the streets of Gatlinburg last spring and I’ve never felt the need for an oxygen tank so acutely. Tori, you walk fast, you talk fast, you think fast, you drive fast, …………..YOU ARE FAST! I think you will always find the rest of the world “plugging” up the isles of everywhere. You must feel like you are on “fast forward” while everyone else is on “pause”. Maybe you could get a “horn” for your shopping cart. Or just carry one with you everywhere and just honk when folks slow you down. I’m sure the crowds would part at the sight of a blond woman carrying a horn and honking at folks. Whatever works, I say.

  10. Barbara M. Lloyd

    Well, so far we have found out that Tori is “fast.” And, now I know it was Brown-Eyed Girl’s husband who sneaked up beside me in the grocery store yesterday…I almost lost my breath.

  11. mrsclark89

    My husband and I avoid grocery shopping together. We tend to argue over the strangest things. I can imagine us being old and shopping together – I’d be the one calling him obscene names and beating him about the head with a bag of frozen peas.
    Also – thank you for visiting my blog! The concert WAS 1982-83’ish in Danville Il. I don’t recall if you were there or not – but I was rockin’ it out with my Jordache jeans, fluorescent pink jelly shoes and big mullet style hair. Ah… life was good!

  12. BrownEyedGirl

    Yes, Barbara Lloyd, that would be my husband, I’m so sorry………:o)

  13. Ben Jones

    Boy these last two articles sure have made me hungry. I think the timing on this is perfect. When I get off work I will be doing the grocery shopping. I am one of the few men out there that does the majority of the shopping. My wife stays at home and works for a living raising our children, homeschooling them, and then taking care of me when I get home, while I just bring home the paycheck. We live an hour away from town and so I don’t mind doing the shopping. I have been doing it for almost 20 years. She is more than worth it. I can’t wait to see the people at the store today. I am sure that I will see a ton of those old geezers. Its kind of like not noticing how many other women are pregnant until my wife is pregnant. Then it seems like the stork went crazy. They are always there, but you just don’t notice them. I will keep an eye out for the geriatrics today. I am far from being there myself only being 43, but when I do get there, I am sure that my wife will still look great. After all I did marry wonder woman. In the nean time, I will take some mental notes and report back oh fearless one.
    Ben Jones

  14. auburn60

    I actually had a lot to say about grocery shopping and old people (I did not learn my lesson last time) but now I am laughing my rear end off at the visual of Tori going through life honking at people like a goose. Imagine Tori in Gatlinburg,where the side walks are impossible to navigate when a lot of people are in town anyway,and here comes ‘Turbo Tori’–HONK,HONK!

  15. auburn60

    So-anyway-grocery stores. I don’t like ‘em. For years my husband did that chore,but he came home with 10 two-litres of Coke and lots of chips, but few real ingredients to make a meal.But he made lots of friends. The last time we went to a grocery together he introduced me to the butcher and told me the life-story of the lady behind the deli counter.And he REALLY CARES whether or not the 16 oz. can is a better buy than the 12 oz. can.So he has a tendency to slow me down. I also just want to get in there and get out as fast as possible.

    We have 3 couples at church who are in their 80’s and the women are in far better shape than the men.The wives are more active and social. But one of those couples goes tent camping on a mountain in NC that they hike UP to find their campsite. Then they hang their food in trees to keep the bears away.I don’t mess with them. They could kick my butt.

  16. auburn60

    So-those who know me-can you imagine that my husband is chattier than I am out in public?

  17. tori

    Ok great– so now I have the mental image of geriatric Russ in a grocery store AND Turbo Tori–probably in a wheelchair with a big ol’ honkin’ horn! Thanks. (And seriously? Not a bad idea…)

    As ever, you guys are killing me.

  18. auburn60

    I don’t think there is a wheelchair made that would be fast enough for you. Can a wheelchair make a U-turn in the middle of an intersection? :)

  19. tori

    Oh, so we’re telling EVERYTHING we know, now????
    (Ix-nay on the bad iving-dray!!)

  20. auburn60

    Who said ‘bad’? I drive exactly the same way. I call it ‘defensive driving’. Other people call it…other things.

  21. rockin robyn

    I was just out here lurking for this one, because I really couldn’t relate, but you all are so entertaining I had to make an appearance…

    As a single “girl” I do all the shopping in my household, but it’s always at strange hours so the old folks are probably in for the night. What am I missing!

    I gotta say though, I sure hope my 78 year old “pa” isn’t like that to anyone out there. I’ve shopped with him though and I know he isn’t. He’s the one that goes home complaining to my mom about the “ones” that held up the cashier line with their “dang” (I use that term lightly) coupons – the wrong ones!!! My father, **bless his heart – ever since we were children, did all the grocery shopping, and Ben that is how he started it – I’m sure. My mom was a stay at home mom – so he did the shopping while she did the child care thing. And if we got to go along with dad to the grocery store — woo hoo — that was a treat until we would point out a toy or something that we wanted and he said we couldn’t get it… he got to deal with the child throwing temper tantrums in the middle of the aisle. To this very day he still does the grocery shopping cause my mom doesn’t drive.

    wheelchair nothing – you all are teaching us so much about our beloved Tori, I’m picturing her in one of those battery operated jobs – the three wheeled thingys… now they have some power to them in grocery stores and malls!!!! Zoom! Zoom!

  22. BrownEyedGirl

    Tori, you can get Russ a sidecar for that wheelchair – and Yeah!! , husband is moving at your speed!! Of course – added bonus- With the sidecar, you can REALLY get even clogging up the aisles!

  23. LindaB

    Tori will have the only wheelchair with racing stripes! I’m afraid she’s gonna get wind burned.

  24. CarolynR

    You people are creasing me up here! The visual imagery will keep me off the vimto for quite a while!

    Over here we have a tv advert where mother and toddler are grocery shopping and toddler starts to grizzle because he can’t have something he wants, at which point the mother throws the paddy of all paddys, lying on the ground screaming and shouting. The child adopts a horrified expression and slinks away. Have no idea what they were advertising!

    *runs to map to find Gatlinburg*

  25. tori

    (*runs off to find Anglo dictionary to look up ‘creasing’, ‘vimto’, ‘advert’, ‘grizzle’, ‘paddy’*)

    I just love you CarolynR, you class up the joint!

    Here’s the Tennessee translation of your last paragraph:

    “Round here we got a commercial on the teevee where this mama and her little ‘un are at the WalMarts and that child starts whining ‘cos he seen something he wants so then his mama just throws herself a big ol’ walleyed fit, and starts rolling around all over the floor and hollering like a stuck pig. That little mister didn’t know what the heck was going on and he snuck off as fast as he could! ”

    Hey– we’re bi-lingual!

  26. CarolynR

    ROTFLOL! I’m going to have to visit a chiropractor pretty soon!

    Oh yes, tis true I have to read you with subtitles! What’s it they say “Two countries divided by a common language” ?? Great, innit! I used to live among Americans in Israel (don’t ask!) and for some unfathomable reason they would laugh at me as soon as I opened my mouth 8¬ Most unfair I thought;)

  27. kwr221

    I entered you in a contest over at

  28. drmani

    The picture of the future you just painted scares me out of wanting to live that long! :lol:


    P.S. – The comments just reinforced that feeling! ;-)

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