Discover Prompts Day 29: Lists

I believe that age is in direct correlation to the length of your lists. If you are young, your list, if you have one at all, is very small. If you are middle-age, if you use lists, you don’t tell anyone. If you’re our age, your lists are long and detailed. In fact, you have lists to tell you what lists you have. Your lists have categories so you can quickly find your list.

The detail on your list is also quite telling. Almost everyone writes a list when it’s time to go to the store. When you start writing lists to remind yourself of what to do during the day, that can be very helpful and is a descriptor of a person who is well organized. If your lists are telling you how to do things you have been doing for years, that is something different all together.

Writing a list of all the things to remember when you are getting ready to travel is a good idea. Travel is stressful. The older you are the more stressful it is. At some point, it becomes much easier to stay home. At home you know exactly where everything is and no lists are necessary. When it’s time to pack a suitcase, you have to make a list of everything in the suitcase so you don’t have to unpack it before you leave because you can’t remember what you put in it. It is also important to make a list of your suitcases and they should be numbered as well.

There may also be a time when you stop trusting that you really did what you checked off. Did I really do that? I don’t remember closing the garage door, but I checked it off the list. What if I checked it off thinking I would close the door next, but forgot. Now you are doubting your list. That’s a real problem.

Here are some simple things to help you with your lists.

1. Color-code your lists. Red – very important. Yellow – important but not critical. Green – it’s on the list but it won’t matter if you forget it.

2. Use sticky notes. Sticky notes are God’s gift to the elderly. Sticky notes are another direct correlation to age. If your kitchen looks like you are trying to wallpaper it with sticky notes, you are definitely in your middle 70s. If your bathroom is completely papered with sticky notes, you are at least 84.

3. Put shopping lists in your refrigerator. You don’t go a single day without opening your fridge, so if your food related lists are in the fridge, you will be sure to buy the food you actually need.

4. Do not, under any circumstances, put sticky notes on the windshield of your car. You will be reading them or trying to write on them as you’re driving and that’s never a good idea.

5. Your underwear drawer is another great place to keep lists, for obvious reasons.

6. Placing sticky notes on the toilet paper holder is not advisable. That prickly feeling might be a sticky note.

7. Be kind to your lists and they will be kind to you. If you forget something, it is not the list’s fault. You are the one who forgot to check it.

So many unanticipated things can happen if you do not use lists. Everyone knows you should not go grocery shopping when you’re hungry. You should also not go anywhere without a list.

Maps are to travel as lists are to living. Lists provide considerable protection from making unwise choices. For example, you go to the store without a list, intending to buy a cantaloupe, some strawberries, and a gallon of milk. Instead you come home with a new circular saw because you started thinking about a project on the way to the store and completely forgot you were going for groceries and ended up at Home Depot. Not a good idea.

If digestion is becoming a problem, you will want to make a list of the items you shouldn’t eat. Depending on the effects of eating the things you shouldn’t, you might want to allow your spouse access to your list as well. For example, if baloney affects you badly, put it on the list. If cheese becomes an effective means of stopping all forward progress, put it on the list.

There are many reasons lists are important for happy living. As your years begin to accumulate, you realize lists exist for very good reasons. One thing I don’t think I’ll ever have to put on any list is, “drink coffee.”

Dale Parsons

Shopping Protocol

Don’t you love running into people you know at the grocery store?  Not.  If we go to one of the big box stores, I will purposely try to avoid running into someone I know.  I’m not completely antisocial, at least I don’t think I am.  There are just some good reasons not to come in contact with people you know when you’re shopping.

Here is the question that drives me nuts, and I’ve never come across a good answer. When you come face to face with someone you know in the store, and then you see them again in another aisle, do you have to say something to them again?  “Hey!  Didn’t I just see you in frozen food?”  Or, do you just ignore them and take the risk of them being upset with you because you didn’t acknowledge that you saw them again, when you know full well they walked within two feet of you?

And here’s the next thing.  Can you keep yourself from looking at what they have in their cart?  I don’t think so.  Do you want someone looking at the things you have in your cart?  Oh, sure it’s fine if you’re buying milk, eggs, and fabric softener.  What if you need suppositories?  What if you just picked up some KY and you don’t have a bag of rice to hide it under? And what if you do look down into their cart, and you see what you know they don’t want you to see, but you know they know you saw what they don’t want you to see.  Now what do you do?  “Oh, I didn’t see anything!  I didn’t look down! I didn’t see that?”

“What do you mean?  What didn’t you see?”

“Nothing!  I didn’t see anything!”

Don’t act like this hasn’t ever happened to you, unless you’re one of those people who order online and have everything delivered.  Which is fine, but now you’re not going to have the pleasure of running into people you know at the grocery store, and that part of your life is going to be robbed.

So, I’m going to propose some answers for the big retail companies to put in place immediately.

  • All shopping carts should be enclosed with tarps that prevent anyone from seeing inside.  Now you can buy all of those secrets to your heart’s content and no one will know.  On the front of the cart should be the words, “Don’t even think about it.”
  • Every store should have a huge shopping protocol banner on display so no one feels undue pressure to be social.  Here are some must-have rules:
    • In our store, no one knows anyone.  No one has to say “Hi.”
    • If you do choose to say “Hi,” only say it once.  If you see the person again, ignore them.
    • If you do choose to speak to someone a second time, the following are suggested comments you can use to avoid awkwardness.
      • “I hate shopping.”
      • “Have you seen my mother?  I’ve lost her somewhere.” (Doesn’t have to be true.)
      • “I can’t find wheat germ.  Do you know where it is?”
    • Aisle conversation limit – 30 seconds.

Shopping does not have to be traumatic.  It will be much less so if you are always shopping among complete strangers.  Acting like others are strangers makes them so. Problem solved!

But, what about the cashier?  They see your stuff.  And don’t you just hate it when they comment on what you’re buying?  “Oh, I love these!”  Makes you want to say, “Well, open the package and take one!”

The big item for next time:  If you see someone who has something in their nose, are you obligated to tell them?

Until our next post, happy shopping!

Where’s my coffee?!