Last week, I posted this update on my Facebook page about grocery shopping:
And I was overwhelmed by how many of you commented that I’m not the only one who has a borderline psychosis about how I do my grocery shopping. I was both amused and appalled at what a group of weirdos we all are, trolling the aisles of the grocery store. You are my people, Fruit Loop Group, and this post is dedicated to all the moms just trying to get out of the grocery store in thirty minutes or less with bread that hasn’t been squished by the soda.
Before the Fruit Loops arrived, I actually enjoyed grocery shopping. Hubby and I would sleep in on a Saturday morning and leisurely talk about our food needs for the week. We’d put on clothes that matched and head to our local grocery store where we’d troll the aisles for our favorite eats. We’d chat, we’d meander, we’d read labels. We would delight in finding exciting new foods in the international aisles and we’d play argue over peanut butter brands (it’s ALWAYS Jif, people). We’d round out our trip in the bakery, selecting something scrumptious for dessert, after we’d cooked a meal, together, in our tiny apartment kitchen.
And then, the Fruit Loops arrived and grocery shopping became my own personal version of the Hunger Games. In the matter of thirty minutes, I did two weeks worth of shopping and blew through $200 without even trying. I’d battle the other mom tributes in the deli line, hoping to make it in time for preschool dismissal. Grocery shopping became HELL.
Because kids severely limited my ability to shop, I developed systems to make things move more efficiently. Little time savers that made the difference between having time to stop for a Starbucks or going uncaffeinated. I cultivated a plan that allowed me to breeze through the aisle like Katniss on speed. From the moment I started my list, I had my eyes on the prize: a full cart and a hot cup of coffee in under thirty minutes.
And, when someone messes with my system, I get ragey and irrational. I take it personally when someone moves too slowly in the cereal aisle and I get positiviely pissy when someone yapping on a cellphone blocks my path to the Jif.
Other pet peeves that put me over the edge:
1). Bag My Groceries In The Order I Placed Them On The Conveyer DAMMIT.
The order I unload my groceries is a carefully culled science so don’t mess with it, bitchachos. Cold stuff is grouped together, heavy stuff is at the front so as to not squish the bread and the veggies are in the back to minimize squished grapes and bruised apples. Don’t put the deodorant with my frozen peas unless you actually want me to cut a bitch.
2). The Slow Cashier Is A Big Fat NOPE.
If you spend enough time in the same grocery store, you get to know the cashiers on a pretty intimate level. The chatty ones, the ones that mess with you bagging system and the ones who check items slower than frozen molasses are all to be avoided. Oh, the slow cashier who ruined my bread and bruised my apples can take me on Lane 9? NOPE. I’ll wait behind the six other customers in Lane 7 for the cashier who knows not to ask me if my milk needs a bag (the answer is ALWAYS yes. ALWAYS).
3). The Peanut Butter Is Now Where The Bread Used To Be.
There is nothing, I mean, NOTHING that makes me more batshit crazy than when some teenaged night stocker decides that the cereal should be where the soda used to reside. My grocery shopping efficiency is incumbent upon the store keeping everything in the same spot for infinity forever. I cannot grocery shop in thirty minutes or less if I’m wandering around like a Bedoin with a “WTF?” expression looking for cheese sticks. Don’t mess with my system, night stocker boy.
4). Don’t Stop Carrying The Brands I Love. Ever.
The efficiency I employ while grocery shopping is the same as in my kitchen. I know what works, what my family will eat and the three ingredient for the best dip ever. I develop a bond with these times and it’s deep and it’s real, people. And, when a store stops carrying an item I love, I go all Terms of Endearment Shirley MacLaine at the Customer Service desk. Ask me about the time my store stopped carrying my favorite Greek spice blend three years ago. My parties have never been the same and I’m still pissed.
5). Art Galleries Are For Browsing, Not My Grocery Store.
When I am running thought the grocery store as if I’m competing on Supermarket Sweep (remember that show??), the only thing between me and total grocery domination is the moron who is browsing the aisles as if he’s inspecting the Mona Lisa. I cannot be bothered to doge the idiot who is wandering on his cell telling the person on the other end about the city kinds of jelly on the shelf. And while I can appreciate that obstacles make the course more challenging, I cannot tolerate a Sunday stroller messing with my grocery jam. Move it, Bucko, I’m filling my cart and collecting all the $100 prizes along the way (I really loved that show…).
Like I said, I take my shopping very seriously and I am just tying to get to the caffeine. If grocery stores would just be kind enough to leave everything the way I like it and put the milk in a bag without asking, no one will get hurt. And, if you see me coming down the aisle, kindly move to the right because this mom is totally winning at grocery shopping.
I can not cope with baggers trying to bag my stuff in the wrong order. I bring my own bags and just take control. When my kids were little I had my shopping list typed out by aisle in a spreadsheet I would print out. Then the store moved everything. I lost my shit for realz.
Well, I admit I thought I was alone. I’m so relieved to see a kindred spirit. My wonderful boyfriend of three years loves to help me and I love him for it. However, he has learned he needs to step back and just watch. And he can’t just pull through a parking space and move to the front so he can pull out easier…then someone parks behind us and I can’t get the cart through to the damn trunk! Also, the cold stuff goes in the trunk on top for another reason: sometimes I can’t make all the groceries up the stairs (I have six kids) and I leave the stuff I can for THEM to lug when when they get home from school. 😉 And yes, the milk always goes in a bag. Duh. I agree with everything you have said, my dear…and you will be happy to know that I have passed my skill unto my kids, and my 17 year old daughter is one of the best cashiers at my grocery chain!
Another thing that makes me crazy is people driving their cart on the left side of the aisle. What? It’s just like the streets people. Drive on the right and if you stop, pull all the way over. Sheesh!
If you come to New Zealand or Australia its the LEFT same as our roads Ok?? LOL. I totally agree with you about the rules and the conveyor belt order is very important.
I totally hear you about the cashier!! There was a cashier that was dressed up and looked like he could be a manager, so I was like awesome….NOPE…ugh!! I avoided him. That store closed and now he’s at the my new store (competitor to the old store).
I will avoid certain stores if I think their stocking placement is illogical or not similar to their chain-brothers/sisters. When shopping with 3 kids (5 and under) I don’t have time to search for an item that logically (IMO) should be somewhere else.
So with you on the placement of items on the conveyor belt! All cold things go together. Most produce goes on top (cantaloupes the exception, as well as bags of oranges and potatoes). My belt order makes perfect sense for packing and I am astonished to routinely find my pears under a jar of spaghetti sauce. Poor, poor pears. I knew there were like minded shoppers out there, but none of them work checkout where I shop. And we are lucky….our grocery has a Starbucks IN it, thus eliminating the extra trip!
They change locations of food items deliberately to make you see items you normally wouldn’t notice. And hopefully impulse-buy them. :/