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Love in the grocery store

Clean up Aisle 2! Potential date in Aisle 7

Pal Do in Lakewood is stocked with everything you’d need to cook authentic Asian cuisine. Photo credit: Kris Blondin

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Does anyone date in the grocery store aisles anymore? Did anyone beyond the trashy TV shows EVER do this?

I met my wife in high school, so I admit I haven't tried dating in the frozen food aisle. I am not exactly sure how one would do this with any relative expectation of success. I know I'd likely miss the signs if a woman tried to pick me up.

WOMAN: Hey there handsome (shut up, this is my fantasy).

ME: Huh?

WOMAN: Nice cheese balls.

ME: Huh?

Michael Park once posted a column at discussing his friend Thomas (whom Park assures readers is not creepy) who was seriously considering moving from the bar scene to the salad bar. Park, no expert by any stretch of the imagination, has, however, an imagination, and devised his own guide to the super market pickup.

Below are a few samples of Park's cheat sheet.

If the one pushing the cart is a female, the following items send a "fairly" clear signal:

  • Boxes of macaroni & cheese: Attached.
  • Steak: Attached
  • One yogurt: Single
  • Pint cartons of ice cream: Single
  • Gallon carton of ice cream: Married with kids
  • Large amounts of chocolate: Recently single
  • More than two brands of cat food: Possible cat lady

If the one pushing the cart is a male, make the following deductions:

  • One or two TV dinners: Single, unless of course, the significant other is away for a few days visiting her sister.
  • Three or more TV dinners: Single
  • Cans of chili: Straight
  • Light beer: Frat boy
  • Bottle of Mrs. Butterworth: Mother issues
  • Big bag of frozen fish sticks or french fries: Former latchkey kid, single
  • Axe body spray: Single,
  • Pack of Handi-Wipes: Married with kids
  • Trashy check-out counter magazines or gossip rags: Attached, and she's in charge.

The comments to Park's post online returned mixed results, though MLindsey1 summed things up well when she (he?) wrote: "Although I was hoping for a little more creativity, and found some of your observations off the mark, I think you can tell something about a person by what is in their cart. Recently, I noticed that the person ahead of me in line had nearly identical items to mine, right down to the brands. If I had been single, I definitely would have flirted based on that. I have noticed, though, that if I am shopping alone, my cart probably looks like that of a single woman. I load up on fruits, veggies, and yogurt and make my husband make his own trip for his salty, starchy garbage."

The Single Scene

Those thinking about finding a date in a supermarket should also consider the scene as much as the message. Where you shop in the South Sound may be as important as what's in a hot chick's cart. Consider this list before you grab a cart.

Rich People

Looking to trade up? Shop where those with healthier ATM cards buy their groceries. In Tacoma, nose around the Metropolitan Market (2420 N. Proctor, Tacoma), Whole Foods (3515 Bridgeport Way W., University Place), and Harbor Greens (two locations, 5225 Olympic Dr. NW, Gig Harbor, and 2620 Bridgeport Way W, University Place, and in Olympia, give the Bayview Thriftway (516 West Fourth Ave., Olympia) your business. All of these shopping environments look and feel upscale with lots of specialty items and gourmet selections at a price not everyone can afford.

Thrifty People

Dollar for dollar, the Saars Marketplaces (13322 Pacific Ave., Parkland), selling bulk items in a no-frills environment, offer lovers a chance to find their frugal counterparts - those who know how to stretch a dollar leaving plenty left over for lottery tickets.

Instant Family

If your biological clock lost its tick, consider finding single parents with two or more kids shopping at Costco. Fallback positions might include Fred Meyer, the Tacoma Grocery Outlet, or WinCo.

English as a Second Language

Those blessed with dual language capabilities may find a mate in the tripe or menudo aisle by shopping in the international districts at Pal Do World Market (8730 S. Tacoma Way, Lakewood) or the East Asia Market (602 S. 38th St., Tacoma). Even if you can't find a date, or don't know how to say, "I'm sorry, was that your cart?" in Spanish or Vietnamese, the shopping experience alone is worth the trip.

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