This ‘N That by Nicky De Lange
Regular readers of this column know that I hate shopping. I’ve often said I’d rather be shot than go shopping. I’m joking when I say that. More or less. My friends all know that inviting me to go to the mall is a waste of time. Just the sight of a store full of clothes, food, furniture or whatever makes me roll my eyes as I back away as quickly as possible. But some shopping trips are inevitable. Grocery shopping is one of these experiences. Because it has to be done, I’ve spent a fair amount of time trying to make it as painless as possible. So far I’ve had limited success. Today I thought I’d share some of the tricks I’ve come up with to make grocery shopping bearable. I hope they help you too.
First, I make a list of each grocery store department in the order the store is laid out. Since most people have a regular (or favorite) store, you should be reasonably familiar with its layout. Putting your list together this way means you won’t find yourself having to go back several aisles for something you forgot. Actually, that’s not true. I know from personal experience that I will have to go back for at least one or two things I’ve managed to overlook. But it’s a start. We all have to start somewhere. Once I’ve written down these headings – produce, bread, canned goods, etc. – I transfer my original scribbled list to the appropriate categories. This works fine with the majority of items. But then there are those odd things that don’t really seem to fit into any particular category. My solution is to put them under a general topic like “miscellaneous.” The only problem with this idea is that if you don’t check it every few minutes, you’ll find you’ve gone past the aisle it’s on. Then it’s back to square one again. No plan is perfect . . .
The next challenge is getting together any coupons you have for the items on your list. In order to keep up with both coupons and the list itself, I arrange my coupons in the order that my list is made. That way when I get to each aisle, these money savers will be there to remind me to take advantage of them. Putting these coupons in an envelope helps keep them rounded up. More or less. Most of the time. Okay, just hope for the best and proceed accordingly. The real challenge for grocery shoppers is getting to the checkout aisle with your credit card, store loyalty card and coupons clutched safely in your hand while unloading your items on the rolling counter. And did I mention not forgetting to give the checker your coupons BEFORE he/she totals up your purchases? Otherwise you’ll probably have to make a second stop in the customer courtesy line to get those coupons deducted because your transaction has already been completed. Do not pass “Go,” do not expect things to progress well from here on out. It is what it is. Shopping is the pits.