I’ve try to avoid the inevitable every weekend. I try to stretch condensed cream of mushroom soup and dried pasta for as long as I can. But when the freezer is bare, the fridge has been bare for a few days, and our cabinet consists of just Cheerios and jarred pasta sauce (since we ate the pasta with lemon butter sauce…) I have to admit the frustratingly obvious. Time to meal plan and drag my feet to the grocery store. My least favorite chore. I’d rather clean bathrooms, fold endless amounts of laundry, heck, I’ll even polish my mom’s Silver!
I could go on a really “productive and informative” diatribe about the importance of meal planning and preparation, but that’s what Pinterest is for. I’m here to rant for the next 400 or so words on why I hate food shopping. But let me give you background. I’ve been food shopping in enjoyable times, and then when Armageddon is upon us. During both extremes, I still hate grocery shopping. I’ve also tried all the grocery delivery options out there. But I hated those too. I always manage to forget something (when ordering online and even in the store) and cry.
Normally, I don’t cry in public. Yet tears are always welling up in my eyes every time I food shop.
The tipping point for me was recently. I went shopping on January 2nd. A holiday. And a Monday. And everyone had off from work/school. And there was supposedly a storm coming later that week. I went shopping by myself, thinking it’d be quick, while my boys were in another store in the strip mall. I barely made it through the door and I said “Oh. My. Goodness. Is the world ending?” No, the world was not. There were just THAT many people shopping, and twice as many employees stocking the shelves to keep up with the demand for kale (yuck).
Let me say. I love people. We are great, but not when food shopping. It’s like self-awareness and underestimating how much room a shopping cart takes up in the aisle don’t apply when food shopping. For example, the produce department shouldn’t be an obstacle course- we all have the same size shopping cart. If your cart is parked in the middle of the aisle, don’t get upset when I politely, meekly say “excuse me” so I can pass to get to the onions (which you magically are touching every. Single. One.). I’m doing the same thing you are- food shopping.
I was exhausted and I hadn’t even made my way to the deli section. I saw a ton of people taking numbers for the deli counter and had to immediately change my meal plan (lunches for work) just to save myself at least an hour. Because of course, for every 10 people waiting, there was probably 1 deli person behind the counter. #thanksbutno. And of course, so much time had elapsed between my entrance and hitting the deli, turning towards the meat department, the boys magically found my frantic/frazzled self. I didn’t realize it, but 60 minutes passed. ONE HOUR.
Talk about obstacle course. 40 people waiting for the deli counter? #thanksbutno
So I gave up. I was about to abandon my cart right then and there. But we had nothing in our house. We needed to eat. I also went on an empty stomach (rookie mistake which I usually never make, but the panic of shopping on January 2nd got the best of me). I had to press on. But if the produce department gives you any indication of what the rest of the store was like…ugh. Wait. Did I mention ALL check out lines were open, and magically, 3-4 people per line? I never wanted to food shop again. EVER.
Took me a week to recover. And the annoying part of this traumatic experience? I forgot about 20% of the items on my original list. So I had to make a second trip (not to the chaotic store) later on that week. However, thankfully Mr. Clareity decided to take some time to himself (probably much needed quiet alone time since the baby was overwhelmed in the store too) and go get the remaining forgotten items. I’ve been forever traumatized by this experience, however, I now avoid that specific store at all costs and am determined to shop accurately and calmly.
Now I’ve had sufficient time to recover from this experience and I have become more strategic in my approach (I try to go as early as I can on a Saturday morning with a list that is broken down to “departments”). I’ve even pulled me and my cart off onto the pet food aisle (cause EVERY TIME I shop, NO ONE is on that aisle) to regroup and check my cart to the list. I have mentally prepared myself, even wear earbuds with classical music to calm me down. But no matter what, I will forever despite going grocery shopping.
I know, this was one bad example to sour the future of my food shopping journey. And I’ll be going to the grocery store every week for the rest of my life, but the January 2nd event was just the culmination of all my previous experiences perfectly summarized. But I have to ask, is this just me? Or does everyone have similar experiences to my weekly least favorite chore? Why do we lose all sense of common sense when food shopping? Is it the lighting? The overwhelming amount of options? Or do we just get lost in “What’s for dinner?”
Tell me I’m not the only one who feels this way.
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