Brain Go Ouch

For The Label Tells Me So


My wife and I do most of our tasks together because (here’s where the story immediately gets saccharine-esque, so my apologies for any resulting nausea to those who cannot handle sweets) we enjoy each other’s company. Grocery shopping to us is a chance to throw our dog in the car, go for a drive and talk about our day, maybe make fun of packaging or, if we’re feeling petty, comment on the Whole Foods couple that both got the Always Look Surprised special from Dr. Domybest, the plastic surgeon.

“Our plastic surgeon did such a great job with Doris and me that we went ahead and had him work on the kids. Made ’em look days younger.”

The point is, we shop together, then unpack our groceries together. This leads us to the actual point of the story…

We were unpacking our Whole Foods groceries from our reusable grocery bags (we are only a Prius away from being pretentious Californians. So close!), each taking a theme, the dried goods or the refrigerated goods. I was on refrigerator detail.

I put away the vegetables, the numerous cartons of eggs we go through in a week, the raw milk cheese, etc. She puts away the lentils, almonds, coffee, coconut milk, etc. Naturally, we talk about whatever comes to mind, our dog keeps a nose up in the air in the hopes of smelling something worth eating, then the cat comes in, shakes her tail excitedly and begins chatting in her un-catlike manner.

As this plays itself out (a scene so uninteresting that haunting ghosts would try to kill themselves), there is an intermittent sound that stands out:

Thwipp-pop – Thwipp-pop – Thwipp-pop

Bear in mind that we have been performing this rituals for many years, now, but this was the first time my wife actually noticed enough to pause and take notice. “What are you doing?”

Carl’s in-store presentation, ‘Jars – They’re Not That Difficult’, is a big hit with locals.


“What do you mean? I’m putting stuff away.”


“That. Why are you doing that?”





I shrugged and said, “Well, ’cause you’re supposed to.”


“No, sweety. You only refrigerate it after you use it.”

I held up one of the jars of the food I’d been putting away. “It says right here, ‘Refrigerate After Opening’.”

“This here jar ain’t got no label. Do I put it in the freezer box or in the shelfin’ box, I just don’t know!”

I could tell she was amused. “Ri-ight, but it doesn’t mean you have to refrigerate it the moment you buy it.”

“Right, you open it first.” I watched as her tiny smile swelled in size just a touch. “I don’t understand why we’re not understanding each other on this.”

“Let me ask you this,” she said. “What would happen if you put in the refrigerator without opening it?”

“It explodes…” This came out as both a statement and a question, I wasn’t confident anymore. “The pressure inside builds…” I made an explosion sound.

“Hmm, no,” she said. “I think, you’re taking the label’s advice a little too literally. It’s not saying refrigerate immediately but first open the lid, it’s saying this food will stay fresher after it’s been opened if you refrigerate it.”


“I was just doing what the label said. I was following the rules.” I fake argued. “Slow and steady wins the race, keep your nose clean, obey the signs, that’s me.”

All these years of buying food, opening jars long before anyone intended to eat them, thinking I was doing the right thing, it turns out common sense had simply eluded me, but stood by to snicker behind my back.

I took out the two remaining jars from our shopping bag. My wife was putting one into the cupboard when…


I answered her look with, “What? It was like that when I picked it up.”


27 thoughts on “For The Label Tells Me So”

  1. I love this for the strident adherence to packaging etiquette, but also because you are us: A-Dub and I also love shopping and snarking and dividing the duties. Good to know we aren’t the only sickos out there.


    1. We never thought it was weird, not until checkers began pointing out to us how much they liked that we did shop together. Then I looked around and most people were alone and on their phones.


  2. Oh dear. Have you really been opening those jars and putting them in the fridge all this time? That’s pretty damned funny. But nobody can accuse you of not folllowing instructions, that’s for sure.

    Mr. Weebles and I go to the supermarket together all the time too. It’s like a little outing. And I find it entertaining because usually we find someone to make fun of.


  3. Awwww… that is entirely too adorable! Glad to know I’m not the only one with refrigeration issues. To this day I pay the extra dollar bottled milk. Can NOT open the carton to save my life.


  4. This feels like an I Love Lucy episode, one where Ricky finally does something stupid. (…and by “stupid” I really mean, endearing.) Nice blog you’ve got here.


  5. Came here on Le Clown’s orders. Glad I did. I am also a rule follower (I almost wrote fool rollower) except when it comes to washing clothes. I throw everything into the washing machine regardless of color and temperature and actual clothing material. It’s very liberating.


  6. That is hilarious. Really hilarious….and touching. Touching that you guys have such a great time together, doing every day stuff. In a variation on a theme, my husband will literally demand that we all stop talking to that he can hear the pasta sauce lid “burp” upon opening. I served him a moldy hot dog bun about a decade ago, and he still thinks I’m trying to “poison” him!


    1. Thanks, Squirrel Circus. I’d love to hear the story about the rotting, fetid, vessel of death you served your husband. There’s an Oscar Meyer commercial in there somewhere. 🙂


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