By John D. Pierce

Eggs, milk, bananas and coffee are easy for me to find. But my grocery shopping efficiency breaks down when pursuing certain items.

Much like when driving off course on an unfamiliar highway, I tend to continue on a serpentine route up and down the store aisles before admitting my failure.

Only then do I ask an apron-wrapped employee, “Where’s the raisins?”

(Yes, I know it’s where are the raisins, but that’s not what I ask in desperation.)

Previous experiences are lost on me. There is no recollection from finding the well-packed boxes of shriveled grapes on an earlier mission.

I can never find the raisins!

Are they produce, snacks, baking ingredients?

There are other categorical challenges as well — such as my recent pursuit of Blue Diamond Almond Nut-Thins Cracker Snacks.

These crackers were not to be found on the cracker aisle. Not even under the “Premium Crackers” sign, although 4.24 ounces cost three bucks.

Since produced by the Blue Diamond Almonds company, it seemed reasonable to search the nut section next. Not there.

The final word in the product’s long name is “Snacks.” But, nope, not there either.

Capitulating like I’ve often done in pursuit of raisins, I finally approached a store employee and asked, “Excuse me. Can you direct me to the Nut-Thins Crackers?”

“Sure,” he said, pointing toward the produce section where I’d easily found bananas. “They are in the “Live Naturally” section.”

I thanked him without noting that crackers would be more “naturally” on the cracker aisle.

Some grocery items don’t fit into well-defined categories.

Neither do people.

In general, using descriptive terms can be helpful — they are all we’ve got. But they certainly have limitations.

We are always more and different than the labels used to define us. And it’s helpful to remember that our categorizing of others is incomplete as well.

It helps to talk about those differences, when possible — even if we have to search up and down a few aisles to find each other.

Or, at last resort, maybe even ask for help.


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