I was stunned today at my local grocery store, a Hy-Vee grocery.

My son asked for alphabet soup the other afternoon. He has never asked for alphabet soup before, nor have we ever discussed it with him. I assumed it was something he came home with from his daycare, which is fine by me. I thought it was a great idea. I found a can in the Campbell’s wall at our SuperTarget.

He loved it. I loved it. The wife loved it. It was a blast.

So I decided to pick up a couple of cans on my next trip to Hy-Vee. On their vast wall of soup, the Campbell’s, the Progresso, even the Hy-Vee brand, not a single can of alphabet soup. Not even a space for alphabet soup. Let me type that again.

Not even a space for alphabet soup.

Not even a space for alphabet soup. One of America’s childhood food-staples. And not even a space.

I asked a stock clerk about it. She said that they don’t carry alphabet soup any more. That space was taken over by —I shit you not— Campbell’s Goldfish® Pasta Soup. Goldfish: as in the cheddar cheese-flavored cracker. Made into a soup. Supplanting alphabet soup.

I looked closer at the Campbell’s child section of the wall. Certainly no alphabet soup, but a lot of Disney/Pixar Toy Story™ Soup, and Disney/Pixar Cars™ Soup, and Phineas and Ferb™ Soup, and Disney® Princess Soup, and —God help me— Scooby Doo™ Soup.

I was embarrassingly indignant. I felt my face turn red. I mean I felt the blood flush up from my Adam’s apple. I might have even shaken with rage. It was, on the surface, in the middle, and at the bottom, a total over-reaction. Mostly.

But that wall to me was snapshot of America. And I was ashamed to be standing there.