There I was, minding my own biscuits and loading my groceries onto the conveyor belt at Ridley’s in Star. After years of experimenting with different conveyor belt tactics, I developed a finely honed order of operations.

A Conveyor Belt Strategy for Grocery Tacticians

  • The non-edible heavies like cleaning supplies and household goods are the first things to cruise on down the beltway. They make for an excellent foundation in the cart and in the car.
  • The edible heavies are the next. Gallons of milk and orange juice along with yogurt, rice, and potatoes make for a fine foundation in the shopping cart.
  • Next up, the cold stuff. The deli meats and cheeses, the butcher cuts, fresh protein bars, and colds snacks band together like brothers braving the storm. To keep the cold items cold, the frozen items jump on next. Frozen veggies like peas, carrots, and cauliflower function like nature’s cold packs to sandwich between the cold items.
  • Produce! Heavy fruits charge the belt followed by the lightweights like berries, cherries, and grapes. As my cart nears empty, I reach for the sensitive Sallies that bruise easily: bananas, avocados, mangos, kiwis, etc.
  • And finally, the softies and easily marred yummies like bread, baked goods, and cookies—because let’s be honest, cracked cookies are cringe.

Enter: Idaho Karen

If reading that felt like forever, I promise you organizing my groceries takes me all but two minutes to knock out! That’s why I was thrown off by Idaho Karen who had the nerve to vocalize her impatience with my conveyor belt strategy.

First of all, she didn’t show up until the produce round! Which, come on, who doesn’t group their produce? Even the most disorganized shoppers round up the fruits and veggies.

That’s when the huffing began. As each of her exasperated breaths grew louder than the last, I finished loading up the last of my softies. But Idaho Karen had had enough. Somewhere between the bread and the pound cake, she blurted out,

Oh, my God! Could you move any slower! I’ve got to get my son in Eagle in 20 minutes!

Mind you, the self-checkout was open and empty. There were also two other active lanes, and K-dog had only waited on me for 45 seconds at most.

Having just finished a 14-hour work day, I was exhausted and ready to snap. But, rather than clap back at Kate + 8, I took a moment to connect with Lord Jesus. Class over sass, right? Right.

Then she pushed my pound cake with the item separator! From one moment to the next, I turned around and gave her the business. With a slightly psychotic smile on my face and my right hand over my heart, I said, “Touch my pound cake again and I’ll drop-kick your dog food, honey.”

Then, SILENCE. Defeated and unaccustomed to being put in her place, Idaho Karen retreated to self-checkout. Swaddling my pound cake, I basked in the glory of sweet victory. Not today, Karen. Not. Today.

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