Does anyone out there actually enjoy going to the grocery? I hate. the. grocery. And if you can't tell, it's Saturday and I'm a working mother with three kids so that means I just got back from there.
I get my groceries, all $200+ of them, at the IGA in our small town. I hate that place. But it doesn't matter, I've tried the Krogers 15 miles from my house, the Meijer 20 miles from my house, even the famed (and very pricey) Dorothy Lane Market. I don't like grocery stores.
Since listing things I don't like is somehow the most popular thing I do on this blog, let me put into list form my dislike of the grocery:
Top 10 Things I Hate about the Grocery
10. Revolting bathrooms. Have you ever gone to the bathroom at the grocery. Good gravy. Do they take the same care and pride in cleaning up the areas where they store our food? They have an entire aisle of cleaning products but don't seem to have ever used even one spritz in their own bathroom.
9. Broken carts. Dear grocery store owner, Do you realize that every time I have to wrench my cart around the aisles of your store, you lose about $75 in sales from my frustration and haste to get out of there.
8. Odd portions of meat. Has anyone in the history of cooking needed 1.38 pounds of ground beef? And yet I have to spend 10 minutes sorting through the packages to find something that resembles one pound. You would think they would package the meat in quantities that benefit the consumer.
7. Aisles of crap. One of the main reasons I don't ditch my hometown grocery entirely is that while the other places do stock produce that was picked in the last six months, they have five aisles of crap in between the food that I'm there to get. I didn't come there to buy a lawn chair. I just want to get my food and get home.
6. Mystery produce. When I do find some lettuce that isn't completely wilted, I put it in a bag and then let the cashier guessing game begin. Invariably they have never seen this type of lettuce before and they have to consult their computer, their book and the lady who works behind the counter selling lottery tickets, cigarettes and baby formula (yes, those things are sold together at my grocery).
5. Handling everything five times. Before this food gets in my cupboard/fridge I have to handle it five times. Off the shelf into the cart. Out of the cart onto the conveyor to pay. Out of the cart into my car. Out of my car into the house. Out of the bags into the cupboard/fridge. Usually when I get home I'm already in such a foul mood that I sit in the car and honk until Husband comes out to help. If he's not available I don't unload everything--I leave behind his caffeinated nectar of addiction (Pepsi). Let's face it, if I left the oatmeal in the car, he wouldn't be motivated to make a trip outside to get it.
4. Organizing the cart. I don't know how to grocery shop so that my cart is neatly organized. I just end up throwing things in until I realize that the tomato sauce is being smashed into the bread by the big box of detergent I piled on top.
3. The list. Since I hate the grocery (see above), I don't go very often. Most times my goal in going to the store is to buy one of everything I've ever purchased there before. I do usually try to make a list but no one else in the family is any help. They seem to think that after I get home is a good time to let me know the things they were expecting me to get.
2. Shopping with kids. What else do I need to say about this.
1. Transport home. Even though I have a mini-van with a nice storage area in back, I always forget to see if I'm already transporting something like baseball bags or in the case of today, 15 pig feeders. I cram everything in the back, it shifts during the drive, and then I end up with half my lunch meat on the ground when I open the mini-van hatch.
Whew.The only good thing about just having been to the grocery is that I won't have to go back again for a while.
For all my grumping I do need to remember that there are lots of people who hate the grocery because of the stress they feel about not being able to feed their families. I am involved in a great program called The Benefit Bank that helps people apply for state and Federal assistance through programs like WIC and cash assistance (welfare) and food stamps. It's gratifying to tell young mothers, seniors and people who never dreamed that they would be at the receiving end of a program like this that they are eligible for some help. The Benefit Bank helps relieve the strain on local food pantries by helping people get the help they are eligible for from other food programs.
So how do you keep from hating the grocery? How do you help others not hate the grocery so much?