December 7, 2011
It might be the best way to pass the time waiting in line at the grocery store.
It often provides insights into a stranger’s stomach, if not her soul.
It certainly is one of my favorite, albeit nosiest, character tests that I can conduct without the tedious demands of a doctorate in psychology.
It’s the shopping cart personality eval.
The fact that the rocker in front of you got Centrum One-A-Day vitamins and a box of hot chocolate mix is telling. Same goes for the dude wearing camo who has German bottled water, a sushi tray and a National Enquirer. And the sweet 20-something girl with the hard cheeses, carrot juice and fifth of Southern Comfort.
I turned to an accessible and reliably freaky cross-section of the community—the Weekly staff—to provide a case study for the experiment.
Here's some of their responses to the question: What unique item in your grocery shopping cart says the most about you?
• A 12-pack of Deschutes Black Butte Porter or the store's biggest bunch of bok choy.
• Dairy-free, soy-free mocha almond fudge coconut ice cream.
• Baby socks. Seriously. The only ones that stay on babies' feet are sold in the kids' aisle by Gerber.
• "Smart Ones" from weight watchers in any vegetarian style.
• Earth Balance all-natural vegan butter substitute and nutritional yeast. We load toast with both and eat with soup and/or salad.
• French goat brie cheese; small batch, organic, artisanal yogurt from Sonoma; 85 percent dark chocolate (green and blacks).
• Garlic by the handful. Maybe not so unique, but so plentifully used that I am sometimes woken up in the middle of the night by the smell of garlic still on my hands. Also, apple cider vinegar.
• Espresso beans or Wild Turkey 101.
• Ben & Jerry's Heath Bar Crunch Ice Cream—or organic raspberry lemonade with Absolute Wild Tea Vodka.
• Xylitol. I'm not a diabetic. I make sweets with it. I'm trying to have it all: decadence and nutrition.
• Capers, a staple for me. If I can't have the full Jersey-quality bagel/cream cheese/lox experience here, at least one topping will do.
• Oscar Meyer liver sausage in the yellow tube. Don't judge me.
• Dill pickles, bread and butter pickles and cucumbers. I need to have cucumbers and at least one type of pickle in the fridge at all times.
• Le Roi du Bleu (The King of Blue) Roquefort cheese at Trader Joe's.
• Veggie burgers and (non-veggie) pork roast. Neither are all that unique but in the same cart they make the perfect oxymoron. Alternate answer: really cheap bread but really expensive cheese. Cheap cheese is for suckers.