The Grocery

Movies and TV tell us that meeting someone special at the grocery store happens all the time. These chance encounters usually take place in the privacy of a secluded organic food aisle and initiate upon an accidental collision of shopping carts or simultaneous reaches for rice pilaf. However, we at TLMRIS know there should be nothing “accidental” about any human interaction and have readied a few icebreaking stratagems for the romantic shopper.

Before delving into specific maneuvers, it is important to note that any tactical advance requires complete control of the situation and precise timing. This means that once someone strikes your fancy you must wait for the right moment. Do not stalk. Like a CIA operative or practiced Goldeneye 007 player, use flanking maneuvers and your peripheral vision to observe your target. Avoid carts with squeaky wheels, and don’t forget to actually do some shopping. You are Jason Bourne preparing to make stir-fry – for two.

1. The Loving Grandchild

This takes place in the gift card aisle. After a frustrated and visible back and forth between different cards, turn to your interest and ask, “For my sick MeeMa, should I go with ‘Get Well Soon’ or ‘Hang in there’?” This should grant you an opportunity to disparage the lack of creativity in all gift cards and then lament that you will have to, as usual, craft your own. Critically, this also avoids having to buy a card. Express gratitude for the help and note that your PeePa’s birthday is coming up. Successfully soliciting an email address for future assistance in that matter should be a piece of cake.

2. The Trader Joe (also known as “The Whole Foods” in a pinch)

Most people who shop at Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods are pretentious and view themselves as being part of an exclusive society of enlightened shoppers. Depicting yourself as one of these chosen few will grant access to a demography dying to validate itself with likeminded peers. Accordingly, The Trader Joe requires simply commenting on how great your food is and that you got it at Trader Joe’s. The best places to do this include anywhere that isn’t a Ralph’s, King Soopers, or Kroger…and for God’s sake not a Piggly Wiggly, which might get you stabbed. Once your organic avocado and apple wood smoked turkey sandwich with Belgium sweet mustard and oregano infused chèvre on marble rye has sparked an interest in your target, closing out a phone number should be small potatoes.

3. The Excuse Me (in Italy, known as “Il Scusi”)

This little maneuver is a real gem. It can be done anywhere in any grocery store at any time prior to check out. Simply stand next to the person you wish to court and say “excuse me” as you attempt to inspect an item on the shelf that they are blocking. Once they apologize and gently scoot out of the way, repeat the maneuver. Continue repetition until you have moved them halfway down the aisle. At this point your tomfoolery will be apparent, and it’s time to playfully profess your interest. From there, making out in parking lot should be duck soup.

Additionally, always be ready to help a fellow attractive customer with troublesome peanut butter selection or a lost member discount card during checkout. Offering to inspect someone’s eggs or squeeze their fruit for freshness is risky business and should only be performed by someone intimately familiar with every entry of TLMRIS.

EXCEPTION: Wal-Mart is not a grocery store; there is romance in neither Rollback Savings nor the detritus of broken dreams. Also, you could end up with mono.