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Jewish Journal

Supermarket Memories…

by Julia Bendis

July 9, 2011 | 3:20 pm

Every time I’m at the Supermarket, I start to remember my very first trip to one just like it.  When you come to America from the former Soviet Union and enter ANY grocery store, you are bound to go into shock.  As I’ve written before, the shelves of U.S.S.R.’s grocery stores were usually empty so when you see rows and rows of food completely untouched, you wonder how its even possible!  I kept thinking why do Americans need five different brands of Raisin Bran?  Isn’t one enough?  Aren’t they all the same Raisins and Bran?  I didn’t know that they made different kinds of stool helper?  What my Mother wanted to know was why in the world anyone would want to mix milk and bran together?  According to our Jewish stomachs, that would put you in a “diarrhea coma” for at least 3 days!  Why would Americans want to do that to themselves?

My then 10-year-old brother wanted to know why Americans can’t share and ship some of that food over to Russia…  It only makes sense, I mean when shelves are never empty, doesn’t that mean there is plenty of it?  If you don’t need it, share it.  That’s the Communist way.

These days when I stand in front of a cereal isle, I still find myself pondering which cereal to get.  Too many choices, too many varieties…  I am not good with too many choices, but give me two items and I can pick one with no problem.  Other people seem to know what they want, I watch them go down the isle, grab a box and leave.  Me?  Well, you can usually find me still standing there fifteen minutes later.  I guess when you grow up without any options, when you are given whatever it is that the government thinks you need… its tough to make a decision.  And it doesn’t ONLY apply to cereal, everything in life that requires a choice between many options, I have a hard time with.  America is overflowing with tangible things, I don’t know how anyone can ever make a decision.  That’s why I usually send my husband to do grocery shopping because if I go there, I won’t be seen for many hours.  But, I am learning and getting faster at it.  Last week it only took me ten minutes to pick out bread!

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