One of the constant banes of my existence is that i have to do the grocery shopping, both because i’m the work-at-home guy and therefore have a slightly more flexible schedule most days of the week, and because Colleen (much as i love her) has some kind of genetic-level inability to compare prices and singlemindedly buy whatever’s cheapest. Advertisers and marketers hate people like me, because i pretty much only ever buy what’s cheapest when it comes to non-essentials like food and clothing. Important stuff like books, music, movies, and gaming supplies i’ll pay through the nose for, never fear.

Anyway, i hate shopping and i’m mentioning that because the worst part of shopping for me is having to watch other people shop. I hate watching other people waste their money on brand names when the generic is not only cheaper but often has less sodium, sugar, fat, or whatever else you want to be avoiding. I hate that you can only get original HP Sauce in the convenient 1 liter bottle, not the far superior HP Fruit Sauce. I hate that HP Sauce is all being made in the Netherlands these days anyway.

I hate watching parents buying fruit roll-ups instead of actual goddamn fruit. I hate that raw glucose and modified starch can be sold as “breakfast cereal”. I hate seeing the guy who feels compelled to give his girlfriend constant grief as he points out things that he says he’d buy if only she was a better cook. I hate having to watch the woman in front of me at the checkout giving items back to the cashier to try to get her total under the sixty dollars she’s got in her wallet. I hate the fact that her kids are with her, watching as the granola bars they picked out get sent back to the shelves. I hate that the reason she’s got to send her kids’ granola bars back is the carton of Player’s Light that somehow always makes it onto the “must buy” list. I hate watching the stooped cashier who should be close on comfortable retirement but instead is stuck making $9 an hour in this white-tiled fluorescent tomb. I hate, i hate, i hate.

As a race, the whole idea of our abandoning the hunter-gatherer thing in favor of the market exchange of goods and services was to be able to avoid the stress and strain involved in actually growing and/or killing your own meals. However, at least with the big-game stalking and the hardscrabble tilling, the only stress and sorrow you have to deal with is your own.