Operation Grocery Store

The transcript you are about to read is based on a real-life event. Some of the content may be disturbing to some readers, particularly to expecting mothers who have no idea what real parenting is like. Reader discretion is advised.

Transcript Begins

Date: July 13, 2012 (Friday)
Sender: Headquarters
Recipient: Gina (code name Pragmatist)
RE: Operation Grocery Store

Confidential Message
Pragmatist: your assistance is needed right away for top-secret Operation Grocery Store. The mission is simple: travel to Meijer, pick up items on the attached grocery list – within your budget – and return home. You have one hour to complete this mission. 

Potential obstacles include small children who will accompany you. Code names are “Little J” (age 18 months) and “Big J” (age 3). 

Failure to accomplish this mission will result in the family starving – or worse – being forced to eat fast food. Time is of the essence.

Please send status reports to headquarters during your mission. Since it is short, we expect one or two reports. Good luck.

Pragmatist Status Reports: 

4:00 PM Departing home. 

4:10 Arrival at Meijer. I’ve encountered my first failure: forgot the canvas grocery bags. Repeat: forgot grocery bags. If I  return to get them, the amount of gas I burn will eliminate any benefit of reusable bags. Recorded as loss.

4:15 Big J demands to sit in grocery cart child seat instead of walking. Little J demands to sit in large portion of cart. Have allowed compromise to avoid unnecessary catastrophe. Will improvise from here. 

4:16 This mission may take longer than anticipated. Little J attempts to eat anything put in the cart. Must put produce in lower compartment.

4:19 I may have some respite from constant disturbance from cart subjects. Sample ice cream sandwiches.

4:20 Abort! Abort! Ice cream sandwiches were a bad idea! Deploy emergency wipes!

4:22 Big J is upset that the store is out of lobsters to look at. Searching for alternative bribery techniques.

4:24 Request an extension for mission. Why did they rearrange the entire freezer section? Cannot find anything on list.

4:40 Barely made it alive through the past 16 minutes. Big J requested potty; potty out of order; found alternative potty on other side of store but outside security gate; had to leave groceries in open about 20 feet from restroom door; restroom hazardous. Recalculating route through store now that we’re completely off track.

4:45 Request another extension. Taking a bribery break in the toy section. Don’t worry. No purchases.

4:50 Request another time extension. Looking at goldfish.

4:52 The J’s are on their feet walking as a final compromise. We’re almost done. How bad can it be?

4:53 Aaaaaaagghhhhh! 

4:54 Return to goldfish.

4:55 Alert: I forgot the pita chips. I have no choice but to go back for them. I cannot waste this coupon AND the buy two for one sale.

4:56 Big J has lost a shoe. Repeat: lost shoe.

4:57 If one more random person says, “You look like you have your hands full,” I may punch them. Apologies in advance for abandoning protocol.

5:00 I see the checkout line. It’s short! Nope, mistake. Two people just pulled in front of me with full carts. 

5:02 Big J has lost his shoe again. After recovery, both J’s are returning to the cart in spite of protests. It’s a strategic necessity.

5:15 We’re finally through the line. Miraculously, checkout was relatively smooth. As a final appeasement technique, we’re doing rides on the mechanical horse.

5:18 Little J is crying because he doesn’t want off the horse. But we must press on. 

5:19 Big J is on his feet and incapable of looking forward while walking. Nearly missed completely tripping a stranger.

5:21 Everything and everyone is in the car! Returning home!

5:30 Final destination. Mission accomplished, 30 minutes over time limit. Still need to unload children and groceries, fix dinner, and resume normal insanity in the home. This will be off record. Over and out.

Hey, I'm Gina!

Gina M Poirier

I’m a wife and mom of five, with kids ages toddler to teenager. I’m created in the image of God, made whole in Jesus. In this online space, I help others overcome the overwhelm all of us face when navigating this messy, beautiful journey we call life. Want to join us?

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  1. Anonymous

    I love it!

  2. Steph

    Last time we were at meijer, Lillian bit open the bottom of a yogurt container, sucked out half the yogurt and threw it over the side of the cart where it exploded over everything. They love us there.

  3. Gina @ Holding the Distaff

    I wouldn't feel too bad. This is the store that hands out half-melted ice cream sandwiches for samples. Oh….and to add to the drama, when I went there again today, I practically sprained my ankle slipping on some mystery puddle that was oddly in the middle of the cracker aisle. So…while Lillian's feat of chewing through plastic is impressive, Meijer has its share of messes.

  4. Maggie

    That is awesome. Favorite part, "If one more random person says, "You look like you have your hands full," I may punch them. Apologies in advance for abandoning protocol." I have felt that way so very many times!

  5. Gina @ Holding the Distaff

    Maggie Jo!!! Great to hear from you! You probably hear that phrase even more than I do. Seriously, why do people say that? Am I supposed to be encouraged by it???

  6. Maggie

    I also hate when people come up to you when your kid is being totally naughty and they say, "Treasure this time. You'll miss it." I'm sure there are many parts that I WILL miss, but screaming during checkout at the grocery store isn't going to be one of them.


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