Secrets of a reluctant grocery shopper
She hates grocery shopping. The day when online shopping with delivery arrives in her town can't come soon enough.
This guest post comes from Andrea Whitmer at So Over This.
My name is Andrea, and I hate grocery shopping. Like really hate it.
If you go back through the 18 months of blog posts I've written, I'm pretty sure I've mentioned my uneasy relationship with food shopping about 6 billion times.
For those who might not want to spend hours reading my old posts (that is, all of you), here are the facts:
- I live in a tiny, rural town where Wal-Mart is pretty much the only option for buying groceries.
- At one point in the not-so-distant past, I was almost too poor to shop at Wal-Mart. That's no longer the case.
- You cannot visit a small-town Wal-Mart without seeing 50 people you know. This number increases in direct proportion to how awful you look at the time.
- I suck at cooking, though I'm getting better.
- I have a history of poor spending habits, and even grocery shopping can be a trigger.
- I refuse to use coupons.
- As a former psychotherapist, I have an uncanny knack for attracting crazy people in Wal-Mart. Like the woman who was dressed in a full pirate costume (this was just a few weeks ago) and buying nothing but cat food. Or the lady who I'm pretty sure was schizophrenic, because she followed me around telling me about the pending apocalypse for an hour, with detailed evidence that made no sense. Oh yeah.
With all that in mind, I finally broke down and bought groceries yesterday. My son started that annoying "OMG, we have nothing to eat in this house" thing again. I guess it's a teenage boy's job to eat 14.2 times per day. But I wanted to be nice since it was his birthday, so I forced myself to drive to Wal-Mart.
While I was there, I started thinking about all the so-called wisdom I've read and heard about grocery shopping, and how I, for the most part, don't follow any of it. (Post continues below.)
My grocery shopping confessions
1. I don't use coupons.
I already mentioned this, but I thought I'd bring it up again. Every personal finance blog in the universe will tell you about the virtues of coupons and how you can save money or even get a bunch of stuff for free. (Someone should have mentioned this to the pirate lady with all the cat food.) For me, though, the hassle of finding, clipping, storing, remembering carrying and using the coupons is just more energy than I'm willing to expend. I don't get angry when other people use coupons; I just don't want to do it myself.
2. I shop when I'm hungry.
Everyone in the world says it: Don't shop when you're hungry! Well, you know what happens if I shop when I'm not hungry? I go home with two grocery bags, one of which contains toilet paper, and I have to go back to buy more stuff the next day. Since I hate going to Wal-Mart, it makes far more sense for me to get enough stuff to last a while. Shopping from a list is a new concept I've discovered, and it helps me buy the stuff I actually need instead of 15 bags of potato chips.
3. I don't buy stuff just because it's on sale.
Some of my friends dutifully check the sale items each week and plan their meals around discounted meats and veggies. Um, I don't do that. First of all, I'm too lazy to keep up. Second, I don't buy the newspaper because ours comes out once a week and is about four pages of nonsense. Third -- and this is the most important -- I want to cook the things that:
- I actually know how to cook.
- My son, Jayden, will eat.
- Sound good to me at the time. You know, when I'm shopping on an empty stomach.
I totally understand that sometimes it's necessary to shop sales for financial reasons, and I feel very lucky that I don't have to do that right now. That doesn't mean I haven't in the past or that I might not again in the future. But for now, I'm enjoying the fact that I can mostly buy what I want.
4. I buy processed foods.
I can hear the sharp intake of breath already. I don't buy all processed food, especially since I started cooking more, but I do buy some things that are quick and easy to make. I also buy snack foods. Sue me. I'm glad there are people who make everything from scratch using organic locally-grown ingredients, but I'm not that person. I'm more mindful of the types and quantities of convenience food I buy these days, but my lifestyle will likely never evolve to the point that I cut out all processed stuff.
5. I would gladly pay a lot of money to have my groceries delivered.
I dream of the day when my tiny town is advanced enough to have online grocery shopping with delivery. I would never set foot in Wal-Mart again. I don't even care what it would cost. Oh, you want $30 a week to bring food to my house? Sold! You need a blood sacrifice? Grab your knife and pull up a chair! I mean, seriously, who wouldn't want to avoid grocery stores (especially Wal-Mart) for the rest of their lives?
Those are my grocery shopping confessions. What are yours? Anyone else hate grocery shopping with a passion?
More on So Over This and MSN Money:
You have a teenaged son--guess what? He has two hands and a brain. It's about time he learned to use them. Make up a list and send him to the store with the money to buy what is on the list--if he buys something off-list, he pays for it. Let him add things to the list within reason--but drop him off (if he doesn't drive and can't otherwise get to the WalMart) and let him shop.
It is good for teens to take over chores, and it's not a bad idea to let them have their share of the family's disposable income when they do. If you offered him $20 a week to do the shopping, I'll bet he'd do it unless you otherwise spoil him so much that $20 doesn't seem like a lot for an hour's worth of work (and getting to pick up stuff he likes to eat).
Cooking is easy--start with steaming and boiling and work up from there. I'd like to point out that teen son should also learn to cook, as soon, he will be on his own. Point out that if he learns to cook, when he gets a partner, the partner can do the clean-up. Cooking is always more fun than clean-up.
My main point here is when did you become this teen's lackey? He has two hands and a brain--teach him to use them.
I love grocery shopping. What I don't like is unloading the car. We have Fred Meyer, WalMart, and a Thriftway store. WalMart is the worst and I may go once every 3 or 4 years. I love cooking when I have all I need. My grocery shopping trips aren't frequent but they include many staples so I can cook. Andrea's experience with WalMart shoppers is not unusual--they really are the worst.
Way down on my list of things to complain about although the writer is free to complain about what she doesn't like. I would give some thought about those who would love to be able to skip couponing, pay a fee to have food delivered without chipping a nail and well, complain about the nuisance of going to the store and, oh, the horror, dealing with the public. You know, the people who've lost their homes, their cars(to get to that dreaded store) and have to rely on food pantries and the generosity of others.
If grocery shopping is the very worst experience the writer is enduring....she should consider herself fortunate.
Before the delivery I would constantly forget something, and decide to skip it because it was on the other end of the store. Or I'd not know where the Item is, and I hate asking people.
The downside to delivery is you can't get a carpet or a Lawn chair, or various non-food items, so inevitably I am still forced out to walmart, but it's not nearly as often.
I love grocery shopping. I like cooking, and it's fun, and when I shop I see new products as soon as they become available at the local stores, so I can try them as soon as posdsible.
What I hate is buying a car and spending any money at all on a car. To me, money spent on a car is all wasted money.
Moiney spent on groceries, even when I buy unplanned items, is money spent wisely, money that got me things I enjoy.
Right up there with you sister....you forgot to metion what a TEADIOUS & emotinally draining choir this is and it is a grueling task that I dread every week...here's the real break down...
getting out of the car & walking into the store...so it begins... grabbing the cart...taking items off the shelves putting them in the cart making sure produce and dairy items are fresh and experation dates are at least 10 days away... continue pushing the cart throughout the store carefully.... you don't want to run into all the display settups that they have angled in aisleway... time to check out... unloading the massive mound of over priced/under quantitiy items on to the conveyor belt ...loading the cart back up with... yes the plastic bags...which I have read some stores tack on a 10 cent bag fee, pushing the cart out to your car... loading your car...listening to everything you bought slipping out of the plastic bags while you drive home...unloading your car when you get home...putting the items away and hearing from your lovely family you forgot...TP :)
I am the BEST Grocery Shopper of all time in that I have my Grocery List set up on an Excel spreadsheet ( that I bring with me ) BY AISLE.
This saves me a tremendous amount of time!!!
I used to use "Peapod" when Tom Thumb stores had online shopping and delivery. Loved it. Sure miss it. I never got a bad thing using it. Even the produce was fresh.
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