Taking a baby to the supermarket – like sticking a fork in an electrical outlet – is generally not recommended. Between the balancing act of pushing a stroller AND a shopping cart, the sudden meltdowns on aisle three, and the embarrassment of waiting to check out with a baby who has soiled her diaper in the stinkiest of ways, you are lucky to leave with even a few of the items on your shopping list.
As difficult as it is to grocery shop with a baby, however, it is even more difficult if you are a man. I say this not because men tend to lose thirty IQ points upon entering a supermarket, but because women of all ages think that MAN + BABY = OMG MUST STOP AND TALK TO!!! Don’t get me wrong, most of the women I meet at the market are perfectly nice, but if you’re not careful they can make a five-minute stop for Cheerios as time consuming as a trip to the DMV.
So, as a public service announcement to my baby toting brethren everywhere, I present the four most dangerous women to avoid at the supermarket. Be careful men, these women should be considered shopping and extremely dangerous!
1. The College Girl
Fifteen years ago I would have been ecstatic if this fresh-faced cutie in her school sweatshirt stopped me, but now, as a married man hoping to snag Diet Coke and diapers before The Office starts, she is just an epic time suck with a propensity to overuse the word “like.”
Sections Most Likely Encountered: Magazines, make-up, Ice Cream
Favorite Topic: Her babysitting history
Likely Comment about Annie: “Oh my God! In high school I used to, like, babysit this little girl named Erin who looked exactly like your baby. Like exactly!”
Estimated Delay: 5 minutes
Suggested Escape Tactic: Casually mention that you think you spotted Taylor Lautner in the produce section.
2. The Grandmother
This sweet and kindly older woman appears harmless enough, but she wants nothing more than to show you photos of her grandchildren while complaining that she doesn’t get to see them enough.
Sections Most Likely Encountered: Discount table, fiber supplements
Favorite Topic: Her grandchildren
Likely Comment about Annie: “What a beautiful little boy. He looks about the same age as my grandson, Davie. Wait. That’s not right. Davie’s seven now. Seven! Well, I guess that shows you how often his mother brings him to visit. Harumph.”
Estimated Delay: 10 minutes
Suggested Escape Tactic: Casually mention that you think you spotted Bob Barker in the produce section.
3. The Neighbor
You haven’t talked to her since last summer when she stopped by to warn you about a pothole on your street, but a lot has happened in the neighborhood since then and you can be sure she is intent on catching you up.
Sections Most Likely Encountered: Cat food, Vodka
Favorite Topic: Why this neighborhood just isn’t the same as it used to be
Likely Comment about Annie: “She is just beautiful, Michael. Wish I could say the same about the Johnsons’ kids across the way. Don’t get me started on them. They are just awful. You have a minute, right?
Estimated Delay: 15 minutes
Suggested Escape Tactic: Casually mention that you think you spotted the Johnson’s kids playing near her car in the parking lot.
The last – and by far most dangerous woman – has no name, because to give her one would make her that much more real. Like the Loch Ness Monster most men think she is a myth, but they fear her nonetheless. This beast is a grandmother who has recently gone back to college and lives on your street.
Section Most Likely Encountered: Legend says she was once spotted loading up on canned fruit.
Favorite Topic of Discussion: Everything
Likely Comment About Annie: Impossible to know. No man who has ever spoken to her has lived to tell the tale.
Estimated Delay: Eternity
Suggested Escape Tactic: Wait for death
Good luck, men. And remember… Super Bowl parties are just a few weeks away. If you must shop for supplies with your little one please be vigilant in avoiding these women. Even one misstep could have you home well into the fourth quarter!