The cheery fire warmed Misty as she curled up in front of the fireplace while our Midnight Sun Muleskinner-blend coffee warmed our insides. Talk among these good friends was pleasant and engaging.

So, of course, we were now talking about the shopping carts at Superstore.

Jerome had been telling us how his parents would fill four shopping carts at a time.

Sounds like a lot, until you realize these shopping carts were the chrome jobs.

These shopping carts are nothing like the slick ones at Superstore that have two separate compartments up top and then a large lower tier and a bottom rack that can hold a year’s provisions for the crew of HMCS Whitehorse.

“But do they have that cross-bar directly under the handle that allows you to hitch a ride from one end of the store to the other?” I asked. Nobody knew.

Those old-style shopping carts had a low cross-bar that allowed you to place a foot on it while the other pushed until enough velocity was achieved for a satisfying run from the bread racks to the dairy case.

That is, of course, if you managed to pick the one shopping cart that didn’t have a sticky wheel.

That was a time when grocery shopping was fun.

But it is still fun. Really. It is just a different kind of fun now.

I like to scan the shopping list for hard-to-find items and declare I must go on a mission while Daisy works through the rest of the list.

But to hear her tell it, you would think it was her idea.

Let’s just say we have a different philosophy when it comes to organizing a shopping trip: I organize … she doesn’t.

If it were up to me, I’d start in the pharmacy section and then go to paper goods and the healthy stuff by the ready-made meals. I’d skip the pet aisle — because Misty gets special cat food from Copper Road Veterinary Clinic because she’s old and she’s special — and I’d go next to condiments, then soups, then tuna and crackers, then cereal, then freezer foods, then dairy, then produce, then breads and I’d be done.

If you look at my shopping list, it is organized in just this order.

Daisy is different. She is a free spirit and wanders the aisles like Jeffy wanders a Family Circus Sunday comic; that is to say, in no particular – or efficient – order.

Probably just as well. I can never remember where the mushrooms are because they are positioned in such an arbitrary way that there are no memory clues to take advantage of. Who would have thought ice cream toppings would be beside the chips? And why are chips in three different aisles?

At least there is that one miscellaneous shelf, facing the produce, that is the last resort. On this same shelf, you will find pickles, lard and couscous. Who knew?

When it comes time to choose a checkout, I don’t just look for the shortest line. First, there is a complex analysis that requires observation of the clerk. Do they seem cheerful and well-rested? Are their shoulders held back? Are their eyes darting around looking for their replacement?

My re-usable bags – purchased at Canadian Tire because I am a manly man, after all – are filled according to the final destination of the groceries: fridge items go in the fridge bag, pantry items go in the pantry bag, etc.

If you unload your shopping cart onto the conveyor belt with these categories in mind, it goes much smoother.

Then there are the self-serve checkouts. They take longer, but the lines are usually shorter. I am at that perfect place where they are new enough to scare off most people while still being fun for me because it is so hands-on and techie.

Yes, I said, “Fun!”