Between a busy summer schedule and my husband being away, it’s been a few weeks since I’ve been to the grocery store. We’ve been living off of what’s already in the pantry, farmers market fare, and a few trips to the corner store for milk and bread. When I finally did get to the store I was astounded to see an entire section devoted to Halloween candy already set up. That’s not the only thing that caught my attention.

The first thing that caught my attention was something that sounded like an arcade game in the produce section. It was a Coco Pop machine being run by one of the store employees. The machine shot out rice cakes that are made right there and then – 16 calorie, all natural, whole grain, totally tasteless rice cakes. I had a sample and clearly the rice cakes are only a vehicle to spread peanut butter, Nutella or some other creamy substance on. I thought it was odd that the machine was in the produce section. I was almost tempted to buy some of the rice cakes to use for dipping in hummus, but I opted not too. Have you seen one of these machines in your grocery store or have you tried Coco Pops? What do you think of it?

Next came the Halloween candy. It’s not even mid-August yet. Who buys Halloween candy this time of year? There is absolutely no way that the average person can buy Halloween candy now and still have it stocked away come October 31st. I suppose this is how the candy companies sell more Halloween candy. They know that those who buy it early are most likely going to have to buy it again to give to the kids.

Finally, in the back-to-school section I found these DVD-filled plastic lunchboxes. The plastic smell coming from these lunchboxes through the plastic wrap was horrible. If I had stood by them a minute longer, I’m sure a migraine would have reared its ugly head. I can’t imagine that any parent would want their child owning something that smelled so toxic. It was totally unusable as a lunch box because of the smell and the small size.

I left the grocery store thinking about the necessity of making a list and sticking to it. There are so many things that catch your eye when you go to the store that you didn’t even know existed. Some are tempting; some are not.

What do you see at your grocery store that makes you say, “huh?” 

Robin Shreeves ( @rshreeves ) focuses on food from a family perspective from her home base in New Jersey.

Halloween candy in August?
The unexpected at the grocery store is food for thought.