Saturday, January 07, 2012

I'm glad I can grocery shop

I've got a complicated love/hate relationship with grocery shopping. After the knee injuries and bed rest and not being able to drive for six weeks after the most recent c-section, I really appreciate being able to go to the store myself and pick out what I want. But that doesn't mean I always enjoy the process.

I'm glad I can grocery shop -- that these days I can walk to the back of the store where the milk is without worrying about how I'm going to make it back to the checkout line, let alone get to my car and drive home. And that we can pay for those groceries. It's been a long time since I had to shop with a calculator in my hand. But but after a really big shopping trip with four kids, I tend to wind up exhausted and determined not to go shopping again for as long as I can possibly help it.

This week, we had hit the point where I had to go to the store and do something about our pantry, which is far from empty but had lost its ability to provide meals for six people. If the zombie apocalypse started tomorrow, we'd have enough to eat for weeks. We just wouldn't be eating the same things.

It was time for a big shopping trip.

The grocery store closest to our house is kind of dirty. The selection is limited and prices for some things are almost double what I'd pay elsewhere.

The other grocery store in town is a big chain. It's nicer and the prices are more reasonable, but they have displays in all of the aisles so it's hard to navigate that store even without four kids following me. If something is on sale, they won't have it. Which wouldn't bug me as much if I was trying to get it at the sale price, but if I need that ingredient to make dinner, I'm out of luck.

So a trip to the grocery store starts with at least a fifteen mile drive. I know that if I go shopping after about twelve-thirty on Sunday afternoon, we're going to be there all day. Everyone goes to Walmart after church. What I don't know is why we spent a half hour standing in line at 1:00 Thursday afternoon.

I really wanted to say something to the woman in line in front of us. Her little girl, who I'm guessing was about two, was absolutely adorable sitting there in the cart with her sippy cup and Goldfish crackers. I didn't see how the crackers hit the floor, because I was convincing my own three boys that they didn't need Mentos or Tic Tacs, or little miniature Etch-A-Sketches. But I did see the mommy crouched down, trying to pick up every last one and then trying to console her wailing daughter.

I don't know if she was upset because the crackers fell, or if she threw the crackers because she was upset, but that little cutie had held it together for so long, longer than some adults in that store would've lasted before they started swearing and acting badly. I wanted to tell her mommy that, but first she was paying for her groceries and then she was gone.

And then I was distracted by the woman behind me who gave me a lecture about dented cans of green beans. I know that they'd make my family sick -- that's what I was telling me teenage daughter who'd run back to get the cans for me and somehow missed that one looked like it'd been stomped by an elephant. I don't think it would've made us sick. I think it might've killed us.

By the time we got out of there, it was too late to stop at the other store with the better meat selection and prices, so we wound up grocery shopping twice this week. And I still forgot the shredded hashbrowns I need for a recipie.

Better grocery shopping is one of my goals for 2012.


Denise :) said...

Can I just tell first, how well I can relate on so many levels, and second how much I truly adore grocery shopping?!? And I hate having to do with with Todd in two (and fetching items off the high shelves) sitting in one of those carts, but that's infinitely better than sending Todd with a list. LOL! I don't do WalMart (with just the two of us, I can afford to not do WalMart); I love our local Publix. I can't wait until I can push my own cart and take my time again! LOL! :)

Needled Mom said...

I have the same relationship with my grocery shopping. I found the best time to go is around 10 a.m. If I go at 1:00 it seems as though everyone is out and getting ready to pick up children after school.

Sarah Craig said...

I'm fortunate to have four groceries within a half mile of each other - Kroger, Publix, Walmart and Aldi - but each has its own appeal. Kroger carries all the brands I usually buy, but can be a little pricey on some things. Publix will take my groceries out to the car and has an amazing bakery and florist but doesn't carry all my brands and is more expensive. Walmart has the best prices, and I can get things I need other than groceries at the same time, but they don't always carry the brands I like. Aldi has great prices, especially on produce, but doesn't have everything I like to buy. So for me, a comprehensive grocery trip may involve stops at all four! I feel your pain about shopping - plus I add in the guilt over not using coupons (which I really should) but it takes so much time that could be spent quilting!

outjunking said...

I agree with you totally on the grocery store trips. I could write a book but no one would believe me. I worked for a large grocery chain and that is where I met my husband many years ago. So I have stories on both sides of the aisle so to speak.
Good luck at the store,

Quiltin' LibraryLady said...

OK, here's my hint for better grocery shopping: Put hubby and the kids to bed and go to the store between around midnight. You will be by yourself so you can concentrate & all the people who have day jobs (and their kids) will be at home in bed. Since your kids will be home in bed you won't have to worry about them knocking over displays or wanting everything they see or throwing tantrums because of long waits in line. My daughter always swore that the best time to shop was after her 3-11 shift and with WalMarts open 24-7 it works out perfect. The folks working in the store at night can sometimes be more relaxed & helpful too because there aren't as many customers making demands.

KatieQ said...

I only have 2 children (they are 23 and 26 now). My grocery shopping was probably only half as painful as yours when they were growing up. We don't have a supermarket in our town and like many people, it takes us a few stops to get everything we need/want. Most of the stores we shop at are about 25 minutes away. I can't believe I'm saying this, but sometimes when I'm shopping by myself, I actually miss the days when my kids came along. I'm not sure I'd say it if I had 4 children. I feel your paing.

sally said...

I love, love, love our Publix! No long lines (they open more registers if more than 2 people in a line), just bring the other grocery store's sales flyers with you and you get their sale prices at Publix too, their store brands are often better than the national brands.if something rings up for the wrong price you will get that item for free, etc...I can't imagine shopping with 4 children. My two (12 and 14 yrs) ask so many questions (can we get this??)....I just wish I could afford to buy as much as I wanted!


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