I recently imagined what it would be like to go grocery shopping with some presidential candidates. Not that I could see any of them doing the task for themselves (except for maybe Carson or Sanders). But let’s have a little fun anyways shall we?
Let’s meet our shoppers!
I pull up to the parking lot of a well-known grocer in the US of A. Close parking spaces are sparse, but I am driving an old Subaru, that, although in pristine mechanical condition, looks like the winner of a May long demolition derby because I purchased it from a 90 year old with ailing vision. So I could care less if one of Eddie Murphy’s Clumps parks too close and hula-hoops their way out of their back door, grinding mercilessly against mine. Literally, I park as though I am filling the crème portion in an Oreo cookie (flanked by overpriced black SUVs).
One of today’s shopping partners shows up early. He’s in one of those new ‘fangle-dangle’ electric cars, the Tesla. For a moment, I believe I have had a temporary hearing loss. Dr Carson drives by with a smile, a wave and absolutely no audible evidence whatsoever that his car is running. Much like Ben Carson’s personality, there is no superfluous noise coming from the Tesla. He carefully backs into a stall where no cars are yet parked and joins me at the markets’ entrance, with again, a smile, and then a handshake.
As we swap weather small talk, a parade of tinted out Escalades pierces the parking lot like a crooked arrow. There are men with earpieces in dark suites, blocking bystanders from breaching an imaginary bubble. There is the pungent smell of confusion is in the air. The local who has just come to get a paper and some bacon in Saturday morning comfy pants scatters like a cockroach.
The vehicles go as far as they can to the end of the lot. Out of no-where a black golf cart flanked by black suited security, awkwardly shuttle Hillary Clinton (as if she was someone on a hospital gurney suffering from a gunshot wound) up to where we stand. A forced smile and a dead fish handshake acknowledges our unworthy presence. A few uncomfortable silences and looks towards the horizon follow for the next few minutes till the next candidate arrives.
I catch the glimpse of what appears to be a new Lincoln, enter the parking lot. It catches up to us and for the next 60 seconds drifts past us like a long black oil tanker. Yes, it’s that long.
When finally the car comes to a halt, the passenger spryly hops out, still in the midst of a business deal on his phone. A courteous smile to let us know that he sees us, but no real eye contact till he closes what actually looks like an older model cell phone. Then comes a warm greeting, and the candidate leans into an aggressive handshake. I have just met Donald Trump.
The terrible screech of a failing power steering pump causes all of us to draw back and wince. What I suspect is an early 80s Cadillac convertible pulls into the space next to Ben Carson’s Tesla. Right away I sense a feeling of discomfort from Ben.
The car has, what looks like a few unintended racing stripes (from perhaps an altercation with a shopping cart or a drunk prostitute). The ragtop looks more like Donald Trump’s hair on a windy day than the intended sleek polished white-stitched canvas it came out of the factory with.
As the driver opens the door with a puff of smoke, a few hamburger wrappers fall to the ground and are blown away by a now progressing wind. Bernie Sanders makes his way to join us while simultaneously handing out campaign cards to unsuspecting shoppers.
He nods hello and quickly shakes each of our hands, avoiding any real eye contact (but his eyes are noticeably red). Anyways.
We each grab a cart, except for Hillary; she has one of her security push it for her. Someone asks for an autograph but the black suit shakes his head and opens his suit jacket to expose his revolver.
I suggest we head to the meat section first, and so we do.
Donald is pushing his cart around like a monster truck driver. If a fallen product is in his path, he simply rides right over it.
Carson meticulously plans his route to the meat section. I see him scoping out potential road blocks up ahead. The odd time he stops to pick up a product that has ended up in his path, placing it carefully on a neighboring shelf.
Bernie grabs a bag of chips on a display and starts sloppily munching. He finds a jar of Cheese Wiz on an end-cap, opens it and starts jamming chips into the jar. A big glob of Cheese Wiz is now the centerpiece of his shirt. I give him the signal that he has some CW on his shirt. He scrapes it off with his finger turns out of view and gobbles it back. “Waste not want not, eh Bernie!” Trump yells back as he starts to manhandle the Italian sausages.
Hillary has her sunglasses on and her phone attached to her head, occasionally pointing to a product for her cart driver to drop into the buggy. “Just send that to my other email address ok?” can be heard as she steers her party away from the meat dept.
As I check out the seafood, I notice Dr Ben vigorously reading the ingredients label on some pre-packaged deli meat.
Donald is asking the counter man if there is any steak that may be thicker than the two-inch slabs they have on display.
Bernie is loading his cart with Beef Jerky.
And Hillary, she has made her way to the book and magazine section and is loading the bottom of her cart with her own husband’s biography.
Around the corner from the Meat Dept is the Produce Dept.
Bernie’s cart has developed a squeaky wheel.
Clinton has feels secure enough to now head over to the meat section. She has called in another of her security team to visibly block, what meat products she has her other man putting into her cart. When told by another shopper that her choice of that Cordon Bleu was a great choice, she responds “What Cordon Bleu?”
Bernie is now on to the Melons, and he’s making other patrons a bit uncomfortable as he seems a bit to elated to feel for bruises. Trump yells out “Hey Bern’ reliving 1972 eh!” Bernie is in his own world.
Donald grabs a bag of carrots and one of apples for the morning smoothie Melania has him on. Secretly he fires a bottle of Metamucil under the steaks (all twelve of them).
Ben Carson is counting off specific amino acids on both finger groups of his two hands. With each bag of produce he fires into the wire cart, he folds a finger till he is left with two fists.
I notice Hillary peering around the corner, waiting for us to finish. As we chain towards the baked good section, a Hillary scout checks out the area, again flashes a concealed gun muzzle to an old lady in the kumquats, and with her squeal and exit the produce section is clear for Bill Clinton’s wife to shop. Again, no one knows what she chooses as her security detail (now three members) form a human shield around her and her cart. She is on the phone again telling Bill where the prunes are.
Carson heads to the flax bread and Trump to the cheese toast. Bernie finds some Wonderbread.
Everyone grabs a pack of powdered doughnuts (even Ben, with a guilty smile).
From a distance we hear a scream and a lady comes running our way mumbling something about a gun and produce. Carson shrugs his shoulders and leads us into the canned goods section.
Before any of us have a chance to peruse the shelves, Sanders bolts in front of us all to grab all that’s left of the Chef Boyardee Ravioli. He reminds me much of a survivor of an apocalypse of some sort.
Ben is having none of this “canned garbage,” “The tins poison the food!”
Donald shakes his head and snorts in disagreement. He loads the rest of the cart up with creamed corn.
We have our fill of the canned goods and head towards the check out. Donald hangs back for a moment, telling us to go on ahead. I poke my head back and witness the Trump putting the cream corn back on the shelf “Poison tins eh? Hmmm.”
Hillary is in the bread section and tells the security to ” take those bloody tarts out of my cart! Bill isn’t aloud any more tarts!”
She skips canned goods and heads towards the front where we are.
It’s time to pay and I go first in order to watch how the other transactions go.
Bernie pulls a out a number of crumpled coupons out of his tweed jacket and it’s obvious he’s dumped the chips and Cheese Wiz somewhere along our shop (he’s ok if the store has to pay for that). He then realizes that he has out-shopped his wallet. With his head bowed, looking 180 degrees the other way, he asks the Trump to pay for the balance. “Sorry Bern! You may have to go without the Ravioli this week! Bwahahaha!!” Trump snorts.
Carson pulls out his wallet and throws enough down to cover the Ravioli and Bern walks off red faced and without so much as even a “Thank you.”
Since his wallet is already out, Dr Ben Carson wheels his stash up to the clerk. His buggy is full of healthy foods you may find an athlete or a hippy buying. And with a smile and a “Thank you”, he’s through without a hitch. He stands back, pops open the one dietary sin found in his purchases: the bag of powdered doughnuts. Soon his lips are a pasty white.
Donald is next.
The amount of meat in Trump’s cart has started to cripple the wheels and the conveyor belt at the till has slowed immensely as it struggles to move his groceries towards the bagger. Almost every product was produced or grown in America. Donald halts the process twice, actually asking to speak to the manager, because of mispriced items. His idea is to see that nothing is ever miss-priced again in this store. He just may accomplish this.
The astronomical bill doesn’t slow Trump up for a second and he pays with a Visa Card Sporting his own image on it. He tips the bag boy and he’s calling for the limo on his cell phone.
Bernie has already left. He’s outside trying to chat up an African American group of young-twenties and keeps getting interrupted by a drunk guy wearing a Malcolm X shirt. He can’t get a word in.
It’s just then that we notice Hillary down at the “Speed Checkout: 1-12 items only”.
She has three items she is paying for (three of her husband’s biographies) and it seems her sunglass wearing security detail, now five strong, have gained a significant amount of weight since first walking into the supermarket. Without a blink, Hilary walks out with a cheery “Vote Clinton!” to the clerk who looks no older than fifteen.
What have I learned?
As we walk away through crowds of potential American voters, I have seen four significantly different lifestyles and attitudes towards living. I realize that shopping with these folks, I have witnessed the embodiment of the ideas behind their campaign policies without them even uttering one, single, word.
The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.