It’s no secret that one of my favourite snacks is Spitz sunflower seeds. To be so brash as to quote myself:
“I am an expert sunflower seed eater. I have spent copious hours honing my craft. Forget tying a cherry stem with your tongue—you really want to see some sexy talent? Watch me shell those seeds with such swift precision that I don’t have to take my eyes off the TV.”
— Me, Meet theVERYsinglegirl
So yeah. I like them.
Yesterday, I realized I hadn’t eaten any seeds in weeks and got a major craving. Specifically, for the cracked pepper flavoured ones. They’re the BEST—but they’re rare to find, especially in the off-season. (Yes, there’s an off-season. Apparently, grocers seems to think that sunflower seeds are socially acceptable only when accompanying baseball. Pssh.)
I knew my usual grocery store would at least have the seasoned* favoured ones because it ALWAYS stocks salted (yuck, my least favourite flavour) and seasoned (my second favourite flavour). Knowing I could always fall back on the seasoned ones at my regular store, I took a gamble and tried a different grocery store first in the hopes of finding the cracked pepper great white whale.
*Because “seasoned” is a flavour. What flavour is it seasoned with? I don’t know.
This grocery store ended up having two flavours—salted (boo) and dill pickle (my fourth favourite flavour). I contemplated, but knew I could do better. So I left the store empty-handed and drove to my regular store.
When I arrived, I marched straight to the end of the junk food aisle to claim my consolation prize. To my horror, I was staring at a cascade of Jiffy Pop hanging from the strip of plastic hooks that normally showcases my beloved seeds. Jiffy Pop?? Like that’s not seasonal? It’s not camping season! GAWD!
I mumbled something inaudible and did a frantic scan of the store. Nothing. No seeds! This store was supposed to be my clutch! What have I done?!
Downtrodden and dismayed, I slumped out of the store like Eeyore. But then I saw it across the parking lot. Shopper’s Drug Mart! I used to work at one when I was in school, and I vaguely remember selling sunflower seeds!
I promised myself this would be the end of my search. If Shoppers didn’t have any, I’d admit defeat and go home seedless.
Sure enough, after going up and down the aisles, I determined I was wrong. There was none. I grabbed some Easter candy to drown my sorrows and headed to the cash register.
Like a beacon of light from the heavens, there they sat. On top of the mints and gum in front of the register, five bags. And three of them…
CRACKED. PEPPER. FLAVOURED.
I heard angels from the heavens. “HAAAAAAAALLELUJAH, hallelujah, hallelujah…”
They were on sale! In the off-season!
I couldn’t believe my stroke of luck. I grabbed all three bags and lined up. (That’s right, all three. I wasn’t going through this fiasco again anytime soon.) When it was my turn, I placed the bags down on the counter, said, “Sorry, hang on,” weaved through the people lined up behind me and grabbed the two remaining bags—one seasoned, one dill pickle. I officially cleared their stock. I’ll be good through winter!
It would be such a beautiful story of triumph and the power of will if it just ended here. But let’s remember who this is happening to…
The cashier, a teenage girl, began ringing through my purchases. Five bags of Spitz sunflower seeds and Easter candy (what? Did you think I’d actually put it back?). I could feel her judgment, so I avoided eye-contact and prayed she wouldn’t comment. I just didn’t want to get into it. I sensed she wouldn’t appreciate my hyper rendering of the story of my hunt.
Sure enough, as expected for anyone coming across copious amounts of sunflower seeds, she couldn’t hold in her curiosity.
And so began the inquisition:
Cashier: “That’s a lot of sunflower seeds…”
Me: Nervous laughter. “Yup.” Now shut up you little twerp.
Cashier: “So…do you like them?”
Me: Well what the fuck do you think? “Yes, I do.” Sensing that she was still weirded out, I added, “But this is a joke for a friend.” WHAT AM I SAYING?! A joke for a friend? What kind of joke is that?
Again, ladies and gentlemen, I found myself lying to a nosy cashier. As outlined in More thoughts on the retail checkout line, one time, it was about having plans on the weekend and another time, it was about a fake party I was throwing to justify all the chips I was buying. Why can’t I ever man up in the moment and say, “I’m buying this food for myself, and I’m going to eat it all, and it’s none of your goddamn business. Good day!”
Cashier: Relieved laughter. “I was gonna say…that’s a lot of sunflower seeds!”
Yes, it is a lot of sunflower seeds.
You fucking bitch.
What do you think? I’m going home to eat them all at once? Haven’t you heard of buying in bulk?! Why don’t you just keep your mouth shut? I KNOW about the code. That’s right. The unofficial Shoppers Drug Mart code of not commenting on or reacting to people’s purchases. Ok, I think it’s meant for things like adult diapers, condoms, Beano, and lubricant, but still.
Me: More nervous laughter.
When I got in my car, I thought about running back in and declaring, “You know what? I lied. These sunflower seeds are ALLLLLLLL for me, and I am NOT ashamed. Good day!” (I don’t know why I’m always British when I picture myself making a grand overture.)
But that would just be weird.
For the record, I have a meticulous system when eating sunflower seeds. I’m not a savage.
I measure the recommended serving size of 2/3 cup (in shell) and eat them directly out of the measuring cup, placing the discarded shells in an accompanying water glass as I go. I tell this to you because sunflower seeds are usually an outdoor treat and I fear some of you wouldn’t put it past me to just spit them out on the floor while yelling at the TV like it’s a bad umpire or something.
I’m a classy sunflower seed eater.
There’s such a thing.
Author’s note: For those keeping track, my third favourite flavour is smoky BBQ.