Fort McMurray

Groceries are the Wurst

A sprig of rosemary, a few cans of vegetable juice, and a pack of homestyle chicken stock pods.

That’s all I wanted.

I’m not asking for much, right? At least, I don’t think I am. It’s not like this is an unreasonable request.

Well, apparently, I was wrong.

Last weekend, I went to the grocery store for just a few simple things. Maybe seven or eight items in total. A trip that I had assumed wouldn’t be too much of a hassle. Easy, if you will. So I gathered my bags, and off I went. After a quick drive, I was there. Up, out of the car, and into the store. I opened my phone and looked at the grocery list to start developing my plan of attack.

Item 1: A sprig of rosemary.

“That seems easy enough,” I say to myself. “Those packs are in the produce section!”

I confidently walked to the section where there kept, sure of myself and in my ability to complete the assigned task for my darling wife. With a smile on my face, I get there, and… zut alors! What is this?! An empty shelf!! I stared at the vacant gap with a perplexed look for a minute or two, hopeful that maybe something had fallen in behind. But further investigation revealed there would be no such luck.

“Ok, not a big deal. There’s one thing missing. I can always check another store. What’s next?”

Item 2: English muffins.

Ha! Easy pickings! I put the item in my basket and headed on to the next target on my list.

Item 3: Crackers

“Alright! Now we’re getting somewhere,” I whispered to myself with glee. Another victim fell helplessly into the tote. “Not a total write-off after all!”

The next few items dropped one by one into my basket – my mood boosted by the sudden success at which I was rapidly knocking things off the list. But then came another speed bump.

Item 7: Vegetable Juice

Once again, I was staring at an utterly empty shelf devoid of cans, jugs, or any other beverage container or carrying device. And once again, I stared blankly in disbelief for some time. I took a deep breath, gathered my courage, and moved on to the next and final thing I needed, all the while dodging a group of kids running down the aisle with parents chasing after them.

Item 8: Homestyle Chicken Stock pods

You already know how this ends. The friggin’ shelf was empty.

“What the hell?” I nearly shouted into the aisle. Luckily I stopped myself and tried to gather my thoughts. I was less than pleased at this point, but I managed to find enough to make the trip worthwhile. So off I went to pay for my partially successful adventure. Bruised but determined not to be defeated, I hopped back in the car and drove to the next grocery store.

“They have to have what I’m looking for! Rosemary! Vegetable Juice! Chicken Stock pods! Yeah!”


Exactly the same problem.

Now I realize that I live in Fort McMurray, and we aren’t exactly the most accessible or populated place in Alberta. And there are, sometimes, certain things we just don’t get here. For as long as I’ve lived here, that’s just the way it goes. I don’t expect that will change any time soon. But I really have to wonder, when half of my grocery list wasn’t really composed of specialty items, where to draw the line. Every week I risk my life, avoiding out-of-control shopping carts, screaming kids, disgruntled employees, and people who aren’t paying the slightest bit of attention, only to wind up empty-handed. And I mean no offence to my friends that like durian fruit (I hear it can be quite good if prepared properly), but why is it that I can find that pungent imported wonder easier than I can find a domestic product?? For ten years I’ve been pushed this “shop local” mantra, and I have done my best to live by it. But it seems, more and more, that I can’t even find simple things here.

First-world problems? Most definitely. But I really don’t care. Fort McMurray, I love you. But DO BETTER! Tonight’s dinner NEEDs you to do better.

So anyway, I left the last grocery store utterly defeated. And as I passed the meat section on my way to the exit, something caught my eye. I stopped, stared, and almost cried. There, sitting before me, were nearly two full cases of blueberry apple bratwurst sausages, marked down for fast sale.


I hate grocery shopping.

Image Credit: charliegaines

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