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At my age I ought to know how to pick out good fruit

As if I know what I’m doing...

“Yuck,” my husband exclaims as he bites into what I paid $2.69 a pound for. “Why did you get such mealy peaches?”

Why? Because the sign said sweet peaches. If it had said mealy peaches, I would have gone to another supermarket.

As if I know what I’m doing in any produce department. I walk around in a daze as I wonder whether to believe the signs saying “sweet cantaloupe,” or “choice honeydew.” They lie. A casaba I bought last week should have warned “Do not open til Christmas.”

Maybe I ought to watch other shoppers and do as they do.

A woman picks up a cantaloupe. She shakes it and she listens to it.

I pick up a cantaloupe. I shake it. What am I listening for?

A woman picks up a honeydew and smells it.

I pick up a honeydew and almost drop it on top of the grapes while I try to figure out what it’s supposed to smell like. Is this the same honeydew I tried to smell two weeks ago?

Other shoppers seem to know just what they’re doing. They squeeze the fruit, then put some in a bag.

I squeeze a plum and it squirts — on a dry-clean-only blouse.

Back home I get the fruit right into the fridge before they up and die. They’ve already started to languish on the way home from the supermarket, when they know the only thing they can look forward to now is our eating them up.

But the unripened fruit needs attention too. I can’t just put them in a bowl at room temperature and forget about them. Those peaches are not suddenly going to call out “We’re ready! Put us in the refrigerator.”

I’ve asked the produce manager for help, but whatever he tells me, I forget. Do I leave the cantaloupe out for two days, and the honeydew for three? How about the pineapple? Why does it smell sweet in two days when he said to leave it out for five?

Say, do you think the produce manager might agree to stop by my house on his way home? The pineapple would probably be glad to see him and would even rally.

Maybe what I need is a personal food shopper. Anyone interested? Meet me by the kiwis.

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