Monday, November 21, 2005

The Quest for a Butterball

Max and I are having people over for Thanksgiving. I'm really excited about it. It should be really fun, and everyone is bringing a side dish and it really will be wonderful. I've been so excited about it that I've actually thought about it way more than anyone should think about something like the Thanksgiving dinner. I've done research into how far in advance I have to buy the turkey, and how big it should be, and how to defrost it at the last minute if needed. I also know how long refrigerated and frozen leftovers can keep. I've looked through the circulars and checked out the what's on sale. I have talked about it several times with Max, and even read him the grocery list over the phone this morning.

So even though I had long ago planned to do the Thanksgiving grocery shopping over the weekend, at the last minute I changed my mind. Mom had told me that Butterball turkeys (my favorite kind) also come fresh, so I didn't really need to buy it so far in advance. Okay. I decided that rather than going to the grocery store when everyone else would go, presumably Sunday afternoon, I'd go Monday at lunch.

Turns out, everyone else thought the same. But I was still in a good mood. I carefully got the things on my list, and then moseyed over to the turkey aisle. Turns out, at Pavillions, if you spend $25, Butterball turkeys 16 - 22 lbs (I think) are $11. What a deal! Unfortunately, there were no fresh Butterballs. And the biggest frozen Butterball was 14 lbs. Which is technically enough, but I was hoping to get something closer to 18-20 lbs, since I have 9 people coming over, and I'm lazy and like to live on leftovers for as long as possible.

I fretted a bit but then decided not to let this stop me. I asked a butcher if there were any bigger frozen Butterballs in the back and he said he thought so. He asked me if I wanted a fresh or frozen one, and I figured, well, fresh of course. Why bother defrosting.

25 minutes of waiting later, the butcher, who had caught my eye several times while I stood in the turkey aisle, blocking traffic and all, pushed out a whole bunch of fresh Butterball turkeys. I spotted a 22 lb one and decided, well more leftovers for everyone. Butcher winks at me, and asks me what time Thanksgiving dinner's at. I laugh and secretly pat myself on the back for 1.) being smart enough to ask the butcher to go get me my turkey 2.) being patient enough to get it. Also, somewhat 3.) being a girl, since I was convinced that helped me get my turkey.

Anyway, with turkey in tow, I went to pay for my groceries. I watched as the prices scan by. The total came to around $135, before the turkey. And then the cashier scanned the turkey. And then to total came to $175.

And then, I became the Annoying Woman in the Grocery Check Out Lane.

Me: "Wait, how much is the turkey?"
Cashier: "Let me check. It's $37.50."
Me: "$37.50!!!"
Cashier: "Yeah, $37.50."
Me: "I thought it was supposed to be $11!"
Cashier & Bag Girl: "That's for FROZEN Butterballs. You got a fresh one."
Me: (*shrill*) "Well, I don't want it! That's really expensive for turkey isn't it?"
Cashier: "Yes, it is. That's a lot. So you don't want it?"
Me: "No, I don't want it!"

The cashier went about voiding it. Then it occured to me that I now have no turkey. But I couldn't bring myself to go back to ask the Butcher to get me a big frozen Butterball. Not after I asked for a big fresh Butterball, that he had to go to the back for, that I waited 25 minutes for.

Me: "Actually, I'll take it."
Cashier: "You want it?"
Me: "Yeah, I want it."

Cashier started fiddling with the keys. I thought about it some more. $37.50! That's robbery.

Me: "Actually, I don't want it."
Cashier: "You don't want it?"
Me: "No, I don't want it.

Cashier had to call the manager over to void it. I was too terrified of the man waiting behind me in line to even give him a wry smile of apology. Manager came over and cleared the turkey. Bag girl carted it away. I waved bye to it and hoped the Butcher doesn't recognize it and I left Pavillions, sans turkey.

I got home and ran the groceries up. Now I was in a really stupid bind. I had to get a turkey. I couldn't go back to Pavillions. I needed to get back to work. But if I ended up with a frozen one, I should really get it immediately so that it could start defrosting. Fuuuuuck.

So I ended up driving to Ralph's, another grocery store. It took me 10 minutes to find parking, because again, EVERYONE went grocery shopping Monday at lunch. I found the frozen Butterballs. They were all small. I found the fresh turkeys. There were no fresh Butterballs. I found an employee and asked him if there were any fresh or frozen Butterball turkeys and how much are they? He didn't know and had to page the butcher. Butcher finally showed up but first he had to give this old lady her steaks, and then give another old lady some salmon and three fillets of over-priced tilapia. Finally he turned to me. I asked to him to go look for Butterballs. He came back, no luck - there were no big fresh or frozen Butterballs.


At this point, I gave up. I went back to the fresh turkey aisle and started looking. Apparently, there are all kinds of turkey. Prime Turkey. Hen Turkey. Young Hen Turkey. Tom Turkey. I decidef on a fairly big Prime Turkey when the woman next to me tsks and tells me that big turkeys aren't as good. Better to get two small turkeys. TWO SMALL TURKEYS??? I don't think so. But I take her advice somewhat and get a slightly smaller 17 lb Zacky's Farm Young Turkey.

Good god, I hope it's good.

And I hope all the bloody turkey juice that I got on my new pants while hoisting turkeys all over the place comes out.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I laughed out loud reading about the experience at checkout.

10:37 AM  
Blogger Joanne said...

Happy Thanksgiving! Hope your 17 lb. Zacky's Farm Young Turkey turns out well.

BTW, I'm impressed you stood your ground over at the checkout line at Pavillions! :)

1:18 PM  

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