Shop talk today = the grocery store.
I love the grocery store. I also hate the grocery store. I think a lot of people feel this way, because 1) the grocery store has all the food and it’s fun to buy stuff. 2) when you don’t know what you want/where anything is/have the slowest cashier ever it is the worst.
But I mostly love it, because I love cooking and the only way to cook is to grocery shop. And I’m really good at grocery shopping. It’s one of my skills. I would put it on a resumee if people cared, along with my skill of pouring a big thing of liquid into a different container (another acquired skill). I’ve developed a method and gained wisdom from my several trips a week, and I’m here to share my insights and warnings.
1) You really do need a list:
People almost always tell me they don’t need a list. It’s in their head. They know what they need, screw your pen and paper. This never works. This means you forget at least 6 things and you had to go up and down every aisle since you did’t make a list and the aisles will jar your memory. This is why it takes you an hour and a half to shop. Trust me. I know this. This is why my husband hates the grocery store; PTSD from our college days of group grocery trips where no one has a list and everyone is going down the aisles at a different pace. It’s excruciating. (Don’t go group grocery shopping. this is a sub tip)
Make a list, people. Really, it’s not like you giving into everything you hate about domesticity. The list is all about efficiency. You don’t lose cool points for having a list.
And while I won’t tell you how to make a list, I think it would benefit you to organize your list in groups of ingredients (produce/meats/dairy/dry goods/frozen/miscellaneous). This helps you shop for things in the same area and avoids the trek across the store every other item, and lets you avoid going down every aisle.
(On that note, it wouldn’t hurt to plan a couple meals for that list. That way when you shop, you’re actually buying ingredients for an actual thing. So later on that week, you’ll magically have all the ingredients. but we’re getting off track.)
2) Try to go to the same store every time:
This is only because of efficiency. Eventually you’ll know exactly where everything is and what is down every aisle and you can zip around the store super fast. I get so disoriented even walking into the same name brand store but at a different location. It’s maddening. I get lost and it takes me twice as long.
Also, once you know the store really well, you’ll have a good idea if they will or will not have the item you’re looking for. My usual grocery store doesn’t have a great baking aisle and is often out of specialty produce so I have to stop by a different store that is better in this capacity. It’s annoying, but I don’t waste time looking for things.
3) There are good cashiers and bad cashiers:
Since I go to the same grocery store so often, I also know the cashiers. I have a favorite and go to her lane if she’s working it (I think she’s a manager or shift supervisor). She’s so fast and no-nonsense, doesn’t ask me lots of random questions, and knows every produce code and gets me out of there fast. She’ll help the baggers, too. I just love her. I might buy her a christmas present, that is how much I love her. (I’m not really going to do this, but I have considered it very seriously.)
The bad cashiers are the worst. They’re good people, I’m sure, but I have a hard time getting past how slow they scan every item. Or make a comment about every item. Or have to put on/take off/put on/take off their glasses to read the produce stickers. Or give me a spiel about the rewards card (even though I tell them I already have it). Or don’t actually know what they’re doing and try to scan my reusable canvas bag (?), and then bag everything in a plastic bag, and then look puzzled when I ask them to use said canvas bag. This usually happens at Target, which is a bummer since I love Target, but now they have self checkout! (although, see #4)
Once, at Trader Joes, the cashier asked me if I had tried something I was buying. I said no, and he proceeded to tell me he didn’t like it and thought it was gross. Okay, dude.
4) Self checkout is a blessing and a curse
Sometimes, the self checkout is quick and painless. Sometimes.
Usually, it bites me in the butt. I’m so, so impatient in these situations.
Tip. Do not buy produce at target and then try to scan it yourself. Today I bought a lemon. A nice, simple, not even organic lemon. I placed it on the scale. I hit “find item.” I found the lemons. The machine told me “Set aside and seek assistance.” WHYYY machine?! Then, a manager had to come over and scan my lemon and I kid you not, it took at least 6 steps. Since the cashiers in this Target are so terrible, this was preferable. It’s a delicate balance.
The self checkout is use at your own risk.
Okay, I’ve probably sufficiently bored most of you…if you even got this far. brb, gotta go buy MORE STUFF THAT I FORGOT YESTERDAY. (sigh, my lists are not working, clearly.) Tell me your grocery store tips or stories in the comments!