RETRO RELAPSE is a series of older articles from various places where I used to write before Talking Pulp.
*Written in 2016.
It is once again “season” in Florida. Our roads are overtaken by old folks who have a hard time doing anything faster than twenty miles per hour under the posted speed limit. They also try to take you out like you’re trapped in a modern version of Death Race 2000 played in ultra slow motion.
But they aren’t just horrendous drivers trying to murder the residents of the towns they invade, they are also awful at navigating grocery stores. At the very least, they are just in the way and hold up lines and a person’s progress at trying to get in, get food and get the fuck out.
These are the twenty-five most common types of old people you will run into in a Florida grocery store this time of year. Then again, with more and more becoming permanent residents, this is evolving into a year round epidemic.
1. The Banker – This is the old person that has groceries totaling $87.49 and insists on counting out pennies for that entire amount.
2. The Free Sample Congregation – This is a group that grows and refuses to move on because someone is handing out tiny spoons with tapioca on them. They usually stand in front of the aisle with the one thing you need to grab quickly.
3. The Deli Counter Diddler – This is that jerk who is in front of you in line at the deli counter and insists upon trying every single cold cut in the window and some of them twice.
4. The Cart Kamikaze – We’ve all been hit by this asshole. They’re the ones who just come right at you with their shopping cart and smash into you while making eye contact the whole time. Oh, they see you. They just don’t give a shit.
5. The Scooter Kamikaze – Same as above but way more dangerous as this jackoff is piloting a motorized scooter at top speed. They often times knock over elaborate displays throughout the store without a single care in the world.
6. The Looper – This is that old person who keeps looping around the same two aisles over and over. They don’t even seem to be looking for anything specific. I’m not sure if they are lost, confused or the grocery store equivalent to mall walkers.
7. The Cigarette and Lotto Arguer – The angry old coot that holds up the line yelling at the clerk as to which cigarettes or lottery ticket they want even though the clerk has their hand on the correct one.
8. The Pirate Candy Sampler – The douchebag that sticks their dirty hand in the candy bins and samples the treats.
9. The Backseat Driver – The old lady that bosses her hubby around as he’s driving the cart, further confusing him and turning them into a two-person cart kamikaze tandem.
10. The Life Story Check Writer – The old woman who writes a check and takes way more time than necessary, as if she’s writing an entry in her diary. She often asks for the clerk to help her read the check, as she writes it because the sections on a check are apparently never in the same place.
11. The Parking Lot Zombie – Does this need an explanation? Just be careful, they are dangerous and are always aiming for you and your vehicle.
12. The Expired Coupon Pusher – The grumpy old lady that wants a box of Betty Crocker three cheese potatoes au gratin for 35 cents because she has a coupon from 1987. The argument with the cashier can last up to 45 minutes.
13. The Confused Tortoise – This is the jerk that somehow pulls in front of you and walks at speeds that rival a snail. They go up the middle of the aisle and sway left, then right, then left again. You can never get around them and they don’t care that you are behind them because young people need to slow down and enjoy the beautiful sights of canned vegetables.
14. The Dead Beat Parent – This is that phantom person that abandons their full cart of frozen goods in the middle of a busy aisle. I’m not 100 percent sure if they are old but they probably are.
15. The Oblivious Express Lane Invader – The clueless elderly dolt who squeezes into the express lane with two carts full of vitamins, diapers, prune juice, fish oil pills, plain yogurt, magazines and tonic water. They are either completely unaware of the giant red flashing light that says “10 Items Or Less” or they just don’t give a shit because getting old means you get special privileges.
16. The Meat Statue – This person is frozen in time – staring at the steaks or chicken, blocking your ability to just grab the meat you need. They can stay this way for hours, completely unaware that you need to grab something.
17. The Sandwich Dipshit – The old person who has never ordered a sub in their life. “What toppings do you want?” “Heh?!” “What toppings, sir?” “Veggie-tables!” “Which ones, sir?” “Heh?! Are you fucking deaf, lady?!”
18. The Door Troll – Whether you want to enter or exit, there they are – just standing there like a troll demanding payment to pass.
19. The Enquirer Enquirer – The old lady who is so caught up in reading the gossip magazines in the checkout lane that she is holding up everyone else behind her. She never buys a magazine but she makes sure to read it cover-to-cover while your pint of ice cream is melting on the floor.
20. The Pharmacy Haggler – The old guy screaming at the pharmacist about how his pills now cost 50 cents more per bottle when he has paid the same price for ten years. He goes on a twenty minute tirade about how the store is taking advantage of him and how he will never shop there again.
21. The Red Box Bully – The person confused by how Red Box works, even though they use it twice a week. They can spend hours stabbing at the same icon on the home screen with their finger or beating on the machine like an aggressive hobo.
22. The Stop and Chatterers – The two old ladies that stop in the middle of a busy aisle to chatter about how well Brian is doing in college and how much they like their new Lexus when at first, they didn’t feel comfortable driving it. It doesn’t matter that there are about twenty people trying to navigate around them.
23. The Anti-Sushi War Hero – The old warrior perplexed about how they sell sushi in grocery stores in America when we kicked Japan’s ass in ’45.
24. The Gum Returner – This is the temperamental penny-pincher that is trying to return gum or other mundane cheap items and holding up the service counter after spending two dollars in gas to get 35 cents back on stale Trident.
25. The Bank Card Chip Halfwits – This is the newest breed of old people to traverse through in the store. They’ve already learned how to do this multiple times now but are still confused at how the new card machines have to read the chip in their new bank cards. Don’t pull out!