Opinion Poll: Checked Out

These past few days have been really trying on me emotionally. In a span of 48 hours, I renounced my US citizenship, became a Canadian, was alternately embraced and mocked by my Canadian brethren, and fell into a deep spiral of depression fueled by the resulting identity crisis.
There has been a lot of heated political debate on this site, so I wanted to calm things down a bit and open up the forum to everyone, because this should be a place where we can come together not as Americans or Australians, Belgians or Brazilians, but simply as people. Open your hearts and just imagine it, will you?
So to switch gears from talking about me and how I feel about my new citizenship, I want to spend some time talking about me and how I feel about grocery shopping.
It all began last weekend: while gathering all the necessary ingredients to make my world-famous turkey chili, I caught myself staring into the baskets and carts of my fellow shoppers. Now, this cart-staring isn’t a new phenomenon – I do it whenever I grocery shop – but something was different this time. I guess this was the first time I realized that I was doing more than just satisfying idle curiosity.
By examining the contents of other people’s baskets, I was unconsciously forming a snap judgment about whether or not I was attracted to that person. What I also discovered was that there seemed to be no rhyme or reason to what attracted me and what repelled me. Case in point:

  • Red grapes – attractive
  • Red Delicious apples – not attractive
  • FrankenBerry – attractive
  • Frosted Flakes – not attractive
  • Pepperoni pizza – attractive
  • Hamburger pizza – not attractive
    At first glance, you might think that I’m only attracted to someone buying things I like to eat. I considered that theory myself for a while, except that I don’t always like the things I found myself attracted to. Like, for instance, I would never in a million years eat FrankenBerry cereal, but would be completely charmed by someone who did.
    I wanted to test my theory, so I started walking around the grocery store and casually perused the contents of everyone’s carts. What I found was that, regardless of their appearance, social status or apparent mental stability, I had a visceral response to people based solely upon the contents of their carts.
    Category 1: Wildly Charming

  • Grape Nehi
  • A single coconut
  • Pop Tarts with sprinkles
  • Sprinkles
  • Nilla Wafers
  • Blueberries
  • Carrots with stems
  • Pabst Blue Ribbon
    Category 2: Not a Second Glance

  • Orange Crush
  • Cantaloupe
  • Pancake batter
  • Chocolate frosting
  • Windmill cookies
  • Strawberries
  • Bag of baby carrots
  • Bacardi Breezers
    Category 3: Jury’s Still Out

  • Goober Grape
    For some reason, I simply cannot categorize this one. It seems absolutely repulsive as a food item, but it’s just so weird that I found myself oddly intrigued by the fact that someone was actually buying it.
    So all this analysis leads me to my latest Opinion Poll! Tell me your secrets! Voice your opinion! Bare your soul!
    Question: Which of the following grocery items would attract you most to the person in front of you at the checkout counter?
    1. Marshmallow Peeps
    2. Count Chocula cereal
    3. Star fruit
    4. Root beer
    5. A single coconut
    6. Shoe polish
    7. Brussel sprouts on the stalk
    8. Other (please explain)

  • 26 Responses to “Opinion Poll: Checked Out”

    1. repair Says:

      1 Repel, repel, repel
      2 Only if accompanied by at least one cereal endorsed by the American Heart Association.
      3 Marry me!
      4 Very cute
      5 Yes
      6 Only if shopper is wearing Birkenstocks at time of sighting.
      7 Indifferent
      8 Phone jack, teacup screw-in hooks, caulk or some other home-repair/improvement item – very sexy!

    2. shari Says:

      8) Coffee beans. And good bread. And maybe Dentyne Fire.

    3. Cheryl Says:

      Peeps and star fruit are the foods of my star(fruit)-crossed lover.
      Other: any of the many foods that I like and no one else seems to, like rice pudding, buttered popcorn Jelly Bellies, and the bean pie from a local bakery that sells at Ralphs and claims to have only two grams of fat and is sometimes moldy. I like the non-moldy ones. I’m not that weird.

    4. Tracy Lynn Says:

      (1.)Attract if they don’t have kids
      (3.)If you eat this while on dialysis, it will kill you DEAD. No, REALLY.
      (5.)Oddly, attractive
      (6.)Yes, I come from a military family
      (8.)Whatever is my obsession du jour

    5. Jessica Says:

      Jenny, I’m just grateful someone has FINALLY giving me a forum to proclaim my undying love for Goober Grape. That’s right – I like Dave Matthews AND Goober Grape (can I still come to TequilaCon?)!

    6. Sarah Says:

      Definitely the coconut. That’s gotta signify some culinary ability right? Who buys an actual coconut?

    7. Kevin Says:

      Definitely root beer.
      And I must say that I am disturbed by your distinction between the attractive and not-so-attractive. You wouldn’t give a second sideways glance to someone with pancake batter (proving that they would have the skills to cook the pancakes and/or waffles), but you would consider hopping in the sack with someone who has a taste for PBR?!?! Blech. Remember, it was the company creating the beer that awarded itself the “Blue Ribbon,” not the discerning, beer-drinking public.
      JK ;-)

    8. Caitlinator Says:

      Maybe I’m shallow, but I tend to look more at people’s butts than their grocery items. I would probably never notice the lone coconut or shoe polish. But if I had to choose, I guess it would be the star fruit, simply because I have no idea what that is.

    9. jenny Says:

      repair: A phone jack!? Definitely would intrigue me!
      shari: ooh, coffee beans – always!
      cheryl: moldy bean pie scares me. actually what’s a bean pie?
      tracy lynn: please don’t eat starfruit.
      jess: try all you want, but you’re not getting out of tequilacon – you can bring all the goober grape you can carry! i think that will be good to coat your stomach before the first round of shots. do they make it in other flavors, or just grape?
      sarah: i know! isn’t a coconut just the best?
      kevin: well, let’s be clear here. i’m not hopping in the sack with anyone based solely on the contents of their grocery cart. unless, of course, said cart contained the trifecta: peeps, a coconut, and frankenberry. then – watch out! ;)

    10. nina Says:

      Nothing sexy on that list except maybe star fruit and it’s too pretentious. Like, what are you trying to say with that star fruit? That you are a show off and put little star slices in your ice cream?
      Turn ons: good wine, bags of oranges (obviously to make freshly squeezed juice), medium-priced wine, mushrooms, wine in large quantities, spaghetti, either red or white wine, good quality toilet paper.

    11. Coco Says:

      I would definitely be intrigued by the starfruit person because of the following possibilities A: they have travelled and tried new things that look weird. or B: they tried it (like me) in 5th grade and thought it was cool or C: they’re totally pretentious and I need to burst their bubble by informing them that a starfruit in the cart does not a cool person make. Okay, so I’d never really do that, but I would stand there and have this little conversation in my head about them and their starfruit.
      The coconut is also intriguing and amusing since how do you crack those things? After attempting to eat a small piece of coconut shell disguised as cake once, I can attest that it is not digestable.
      I would not, under any circumstances, be intrigued by the peeps. They are scary! Bright colored marshmallows that are cute! I can’t eat that little chickie or bunny’s face! My god, how awful!

    12. communicatrix Says:

      I always skipped the cart and looked directly at the shoes, which are the best litmus test for whether or not I will be attracted to or repulsed by someone. But Bacardi Breezers, I have to say, would be a dealbreaker.
      If the root beer was Dr. Brown’s, yes. And if there was any cream soda in there–any fucking brand, I tell you–I’d be a goner.

    13. Cheryl Says:

      Bean pie is in the pumpkin/sweet potato pie family, but made with navy beans. It’s good stuff if you can get past the fact that it’s called bean pie.

    14. Anonymous Says:

      Dear Jenny,
      I can’t envision being attracted to someone based on what’s in their grocery cart. Do I lack imagination?

    15. jenny Says:

      Caitlinator: It’s only shallow if you judge people solely by their bums. Judging people on groceries is fine, though.
      Nina: how do you feel about boxed wine?
      Coco: no peeps?!? An outrage!
      communicatrix: oh, man. don’t get me started on cream soda!
      cheryl: nope, can’t get past the name.
      viv: you hardly lack imagination! your problem is that you eat to live vs the other way around, so food is of no consequence to you. pity.

    16. Jen Says:

      Hm. Of your list, maybe the Count Chocula, but I don’t know, I can’t think straight after that unwarranted attack against peeps with chocolate frosting in their cart. When I was pregnant I once had somebody in the grocery store critique the contents of my cart. Their advice was most unwelcome.

    17. Ryan Barrett Says:

      I am gonna have to go with the single coconut. I won’t lie, but I was attracted to the box of marshmallow peeps for awhile. I think the peeps person would be really fun to play with, but the coconut has a rugged, but tasty quality that would lead me to assume the person would want to be abandoned on a tropical island with me.

    18. 3rdtimesacharm( 3T ) Says:

      Oh without a doubt I would be attracted to the Count Chocula cereal. (But then, I would eat it too) The rest wouldn’t interest me.
      The biggest turn off would be the marshmello peeps. WHY would anyone eat those?

    19. jenny Says:

      jen: oh, i wasn’t attacking chocolate frosting people. just not giving them second glances. and i would never actually comment on someone’s cart contents, lest they look at mine…
      ryan: yes, and if they know how to open a coconut, they’re probably the kind of people you want w/ you when you’re stranded on a tropical isle!
      3T: what’s with all the marshmallow peep hatin’? it’s not even so much that they taste good, it’s that they’re so beautiful! oh yeah, and they do taste good when you leave them out for a day or two.

    20. asia Says:

      Hmmm… well I had such a hard time scrolling between the poll and the polling booth I gave up on answering.
      But I am curious… I have not shopped for like, a month, and want to know what you would think if you were peepingtom into my basket. So, will you judge my next shopping list, if I submit it, as objectively as you can?
      I mean, I dont want to be a pain in the ass or anything but I am looking for oracles anywhere I can get them. I totally judge peoples sex skills by they way they dance for example, and their conversation skills by the way they eat.
      I am hoping I might be able to ferret out my QE success from someone shaking up their tea leaves. I will try anything.
      I am cutting myself off from the wine bottle now.

    21. jenny Says:

      asia: I will gladly assess your shopping list for you. However, you need to submit a list of what you actually came home with, not what you wrote on your list. Impulse items are often the most revealing. And you are correct about the dancing. ;)

    22. Pauly D Says:

      I just want to come clean and say that if someone in front of me (a woman, who was really really hot) had a box of Count Chokula cereal — that would make me fall in love with her because it would mean she was still a kid at heart (and she’s still hot, right?) and she’d be hot, so why not.

    23. ms. sizzle Says:

      (just because i like to yell out PEEPS!)

    24. The Scarlett Says:

      The coconut. I would want to know what was going to happen to that coconut for one thing. Plus, when I was a kid I always wanted to buy a coconut but my mom would never let me (another item of interest was that baby cocktail corn). It think a coconut represents hidden desire or forbidden fruit for me. I don’t even like coconut. I just like the very idea of having a single coconut in my cart.

    25. jenny Says:

      Pauly: Well, anyone who would buy Count Chocula has GOT to be hot, right? Or eight years old.
      Ms. Sizzle: Yeah! Another one for the Pro-Peeps column!
      Scarlett: I love your reasoning. In fact, even though you don’t like coconut, I think you should buy a single coconut at the grocery store this week.

    26. Strode Says:

      I go with Option 8. Any kind of beverage from the alcohol section that is not in a can.