In Memoriam: Woman Dead of Grocery Shopping in SF [Satire]

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Michelle Bates
July 24, 1989 – March 4, 2022

Michelle Bates, an average person with no children, hobbies, or notable accomplishments, passed away peacefully last week in a San Francisco Safeway, with an old man ahead of her in line and Tide pods by her side.

Michelle was a thirty-two-year-old who lived in San Francisco for five years after moving from Harrisburg, PA.

She is survived by her husband, her dog, her goldfish, and her friends, all of whom Michelle had invited to a homemade dinner of chicken parmesan on the day of her death.

Tim Bates, Michelle’s husband of 11 years, cherishes the last words she spoke to him that fateful Friday afternoon: “I’m going on a quick grocery run for chicken parmesan ingredients.”

Michelle always had a soft spot for Trader Joe’s, so she stopped there first. However, she had trouble finding regular flour amongst the coconut flour, rice flour, cassava flour, potato flour, oat flour, probiotic flour, orchid flour, and cow bone flour. She also couldn’t find bread crumbs, so she grabbed organic, fair-trade, triple-washed, multi-color quinoa instead.

Grocery Outlet had a large selection of cheeses and chicken breasts, so Michelle bought mozzarella, a DD-cup value pack, and a potato peeler, for the gray parts.

Michelle couldn’t afford the hand-crushed San Marzano tomato sauce or the hydroponic parsley at Whole Foods, but the valet refused to return her car without proof of purchase, so she bought a twenty-dollar roll of ginger drops.

The rest of the ingredients would be at Target, Michelle figured. She got to the Target on Folsom at 6:02 pm, two minutes too late.

At Safeway, the only hope for the chicken parmesan, Michelle found everything except garlic, which was missing whether fresh, peeled, jarred, or dried. But luckily, she needed to bribe only three or four store employees before the key to the wine shelf was located.

Michelle forgot all about the bottle she selected until she had waited in the self-checkout line for forty-five minutes. The only regular checkout line stretched halfway down the cleaning aisle, forcing Michelle to settle in beside the Windex.

Moments after the traumatic relocation, a woman cut in front of Michelle to closely examine each spray cleaner in turn. She settled on the Windex as her ultimate infatuation.
Soon after that, a mother with three screaming children was likewise intrigued, and bumped Michelle’s cart to get closer.
Finally, an elderly man joined the window cleaning fan club.

And that’s how Michelle was shifted back to the Tide pods.

With the contents of her cart spoken for, and her position otherwise surrounded by inedible cleaning products, Michelle’s final thoughts were surely of her friends, and her love of a good dinner party, as she slowly starved to death. By the time her body was recovered, the line wound around to ethnic foods, but it hadn’t moved forward.

Michelle will be buried in Cypress Lawn Memorial Park beside the late SF Mayor Ed Lee.

A service honoring her life will be held this Saturday at 7 pm at Serra Mortuary on Valencia, followed by a potluck. Bring a homemade dish to share.

Disclaimer: This is satire!

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Natalie Mead

Natalie Mead

Natalie began her career at a tech company, but she has since seen the light and absconded with enough free t-shirts to last a lifetime. Now, she writes for a smattering of SF local news outlets.

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