How to make grocery shopping quick and easy

Dear Daughter,

There are a few things I don’t enjoy doing, and number one on that list is grocery shopping. Every week, it feels like the biggest chore. It takes about an hour of my time—even longer if I have to go to the dreadful deli counter—and there’s just nothing fun about it.

I’m hoping that by the time you’re an adult, grocery stores will be a thing of the past. I’m sure you’ll be able to just think about what groceries you need and they’ll be delivered to your doorstep. I’m not a fan of mind reading, but oh, do I wish that option existed today!

If things don’t progress as quickly as I imagine, however, and you are forced to go to that evil place to buy food, I have some suggestions on how to make your trip as quick and pain-free as possible:

1) Go just once a week. If you plan ahead, you’ll buy the right amount of food so that you don’t have to make multiple stops throughout the week. This does make your grocery list—and therefore your time at the store—a bit longer, but it saves you oodles of time in the long run. It also makes you say things like oodles.

2) Go to the same grocery store every week. The more comfortable you are with a place, the more quickly you’ll make your way through it. I have my grocery store practically memorized.

3) Make a list. A real one, like with pen and paper. Having a list makes your time in the store so much more efficient, plus it eliminates the tendency to impulse shop. Write out the list while you’re at home, in your kitchen. Check through your refrigerator and pantry to see what items need to be replaced, and write them down. Mentally walk through the store (another reason why #2, above, is valuable) and ask yourself what you need from each section. Also—and this is very important—write them down in the order of where they’re located in the store, so that you can zip right through. I always start with the produce, and I put the non-food items (napkins, light bulbs, etc.) in a separate column.

4) At checkout (yay! you’re almost done!), place the items on the conveyor belt in categories. I put all of the dairy items together, as well as the cans, boxes and produce. This seems silly but it helps the baggers bag your groceries more quickly. Or maybe that’s just what I like to tell myself.

5) Use reusable bags. Doing so not only helps the environment, but it also makes life easier for you. The reusable bags can hold a ton more than the wimpy plastic ones, so when you get home you’ll only have to make one or two trips from car to kitchen, as opposed to three or four. Plus they’re easier to carry. Of course, when you’re an adult, they probably (hopefully!) won’t use plastic bags anymore. Heck, they might not even use bags at all! They’ll probably be able to fly the groceries straight to your house, in which case this point is moot.

Once you’re home and the groceries are put away, you’ll feel an overwhelming sense of accomplishment, that you’ve mastered the grocery store in a quick, efficient manner, that your kitchen is now completely stocked, and that you won’t have to go back to that awful place for another seven days.



1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Edward Trezza
    Sep 12, 2011 @ 07:57:43

    Then, when you retire, you look forward to going to the store, the mail delivery, a doctor’s checkup, etc. Ahhhh, something to do :-).


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