When I am feeling particularly daring and masochistic, I do my family’s weekly shopping on a (gasp!) Saturday afternoon. Jam-packed with crazed shoppers, even the most crunchy-granola Happy Valley-ites become stressed and overwhelmed at our local market. Whilst my shopping cart was cornered between vegan chocolate and soy goat cheese last Saturday, I decided the entire supermarket experience would be more enjoyable if set to music and transformed into dance numbers. Furthermore, the style of music must be matched to the type of shopping cart driven. So I took the liberty of casting and scoring the entire show. Forget Michael Pollan’s “supermarket pastoral.” This is the Supermarket Musical, baby.
Musical accompaniment: “We’re Off to See the Wizard.”
Dance style: Carefree skipping while throwing flower petals.
Shopping sans cart doesn’t strictly qualify as a shopping experience, more like a lookie-loo pop in. If supermarket dancers are grooving with a basket, they just are swinging by to grab a couple things for dinner. From their easy-breezy style, you know before the song is over they’ll find themselves back on Rt. 9, still able to catch the rest of “Car Talk.” Their happy-go-lucky leaps indicate these rockers are mere sightseers in the Aisle of Man.
Musical accompaniment: Theme song to “The Mary Tyler Moore Show.”
Dance style: Jaunty prancing while gazing in wonderment.
First a confession, as an eager (read compulsive) organizer, I adore these dual-basketed, top floor/bottom floor shopping carts. Oh the joy, to be able to do one’s shopping and categorize your wares at the same time! These lucky cart dancers must have compact family units of one or two. Perhaps they are gals-about-town who can turn the world on with their smiles. They’re going to make it after all! They can be found tangoing down the aisles throwing their berets in the air.
Musical accompaniment: “Ol’ Man River” (from “Show Boat.”)
Dance style: Barge-like.
These are the grand dames of the shopping cart dancers. Their presentation is professional yet personable, thoughtful yet blank-eyed, on-task yet distractible. They are able to execute neatly the complicated Check Nutrition Facts and Toss into Cart Sweep Step without pulling a muscle. Do not mess with standard cart dancers. They’ve been doing these moves for longer than you’ve been alive, so just step aside and take notes, honey.
Cart with Giant Plastic Car
Musical accompaniment: “Seventy-Six Trombones” (from “The Music Man.”)
Dance style: Disney’s Main Street Electrical Parade.
Smart parents know that if you trick a toddler into believing grocery shopping is an exciting adventure, you’re in for a lifetime of consumer happiness. These cart dancers parade down the aisles with quiet desperation disguised as chipper animation. Don’t be fooled by their playful bunny hops. These canny shoppers remain capable of cost-cutting calculations. Audience members should beware of their physical safety however. Car-cart dancers are speedily high-stepping with massive blind spots. The musical accompaniment of these hit-and-run shoppers must be played loudly enough to mask the cries of calf-clipped casualties and the crashing of endcap display cans.
Cart with Baby Seat
Musical accompaniment: “Greased Lightening” (from “Grease.”)
Dance style: Frantic dash hustle.
These exceptionally brave cart dancers on are a mission to do their shopping before the baby gets cranky. Step back, Jack. Keep your hands and feet inside your cart. Do not distract these dancers. For these folks are tripping the light fantastic on a sparse diet of grab-and-run almonds and two-hours of sleep. They win ten extra points just for good effort.
So next time you look upon your grocery store excursion with dread, simply put on your dancing shoes and program your iPod accordingly. Shop while you bop. Hey, these days we gotta get our thrills somehow. Le Freak, c’est cheap.