In Praise of Grocery Shopping

I love grocery shopping.

Mondays are favorite days for me, largely because that’s when I go to a couple of grocery stores to buy the things I need for the week. I find it strange when I hear people complain about shopping for groceries, because it’s always been something I enjoy.

Don’t be impressed, because there are many household tasks I don’t enjoy. I’ve never been fond of basic cleaning — mine is the house that fails the white glove test every time. Even as a child, I disliked the chore of dusting my room each week. Picking up each knick knack, dusting beneath it — the boredom! Sometimes I would try dusting around the items, but I knew that this was cheating.

However, I remember my college apartment days of walking a few blocks to a mom ‘n pop grocery and buying the things I needed. So much fun! Then, when I moved to my first “real” apartment in Birmingham, my weekly forays to Piggly Wiggly were a delight. I’m not sure why this is true, exactly, but I think part of it is that I’m by nature and nurture a very frugal person. I buy very little. But groceries — now there’s something I need to buy. I grab my cart, and the aisles are my oyster. I can choose anything I want, and it’s mine! The thrill! When I lived in that Birmingham apartment, I allowed myself one grocery item each week as a treat. This could be something that wasn’t needed for a recipe and wasn’t on sale — just something I wanted. Often, I remember that this item was an individual Hostess fruit pie. Ah, the excess 🙂

Once I moved back to Indiana, I continued to enjoy grocery shopping. Meijer built a store in my town, just a couple of blocks from my apartment. Often, I walked there and back, enjoying the weather and carrying my little bag of goods. My town became a great place for couponers, because many of the stores offered double coupons up to $1. For years, I studied the Sunday newspaper ads, putting together my shopping list by combining sale prices and coupons. Each week, I got several items either free or extremely cheap. It was kind of like a way of continuing school for me — using my mind to work out “real life story problems.” And I loved it.

grocery shopping by http://www.flickr.com/photos/calliope (http://www.flickr.com/photos/calliope/4206360542) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

By http://www.flickr.com/photos/calliope (http://www.flickr.com/photos/calliope/4206360542) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

When I had a baby, I loved bringing her along to the store. So much teaching can happen on grocery store trips, so many discussions about food. When baby #2 arrived, she joined us in the cart — one child in the baby car seat on top of the cart, the other either riding in the seat or sitting in the cart itself. What good times we had! We always walked through the toy aisle, but while the kids were little I could maintain the facade that it was a toy museum of sorts rather than a place where these toys could actually be purchased.

With baby #3, it became pretty impossible to continue these grocery trips as we had, so I moved my shopping trips to the evening and left the kids at home. This was a great respite and some wonderful “alone time.”

And now that the girls are all teens and busy with their own educations, I still venture out every Monday morning, to the grocery store. My grocery store jaunts have seen me through the presidencies of Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Bush again, and now Obama. The internet and cell phones have come onto the horizon. Cursive writing has almost vanished. 9/11 happened. And yet, week after week, I still buy groceries. There are fewer paper coupons now. Stores don’t double them anymore. Now, more savings come via apps on the phone. It’s more difficult now for me to scrutinize the fine print for deals, but I still do them. I still put cans and the produce and the frozen items into my cart. The consistency of it, the routine, is comforting.

How about you? How do you feel about grocery shopping?

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4 thoughts on “In Praise of Grocery Shopping

  1. I like it, but wish I didn’t have to go at peak times. Of course I love to cook and to eat so that helps.

  2. Oh, my word! In all my life, you’re the first person I’ve ever heard say that you like grocery shopping. I do not! Add to that the fact that I don’t like to cook, nor to clean up the kitchen afterward, and you’ll see there is very little I enjoy about food at home. Now, if I could eat every meal in a restaurant, which I can’t, the story would be different. But for your sake, I’m glad you enjoy shopping. And I assume, you enjoy cooking as well.

  3. I love grocery shopping too. And occasionally some stores still double – and even triple – coupons.

  4. When I was younger, I enjoyed grocery shopping. As I’ve gotten older, I no longer like the hassle of deciding what to cook and then actually purchasing the ingredients. However, my husband has taken a liking to grocery shopping. I make a list and he has been doing an excellent job. Occasionally, I go with him but I try not to!! I no longer like to shop for clothes either. I don’t like the styles nor the prices!!

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