I realized this morning, as I grumpily loaded a week's worth of groceries into the back of a van already full to overflowing with yard sale items to benefit my daughter's Girl Scout troop, that I really kind of detest grocery shopping. I had deluded myself into thinking that I didn't mind it so much. I patronize only one store for a reason - it's clean, usually well stocked, and the employees are, for the most part, exceptionally pleasant. (Surly cashiers are a deal breaker for me.) We have, in the past, even had such good experiences there that they prompted glowing compliments sent through PlanetFeedback.
But I just don't like grocery shopping. The more I think about it, the more reasons I have to detest it. Beginning with...
1) Making a grocery list. It really doesn't sound like such a big deal, does it? You look around the kitchen, peek into the pantry, jot down the items that you need. But no. My method of making a grocery list consists of creating a menu plan for the week. This is difficult because a) I'm in such a cooking rut - we just eat the same crap over and over, and I really need to find new recipes with which to change it up a little bit, but b) I also have to factor in evening activities, which usually mean that the meal must be ready in a hurry. Once I have a vague notion of what's needed, then it's time to coupon it up - browsing the sales and coupon match-ups online, digging through my coupons, inevitably not having (or not having enough of) the ones that I need most. Printing coupons, which means fighting with my obstinate printer. Making the grocery list is my least favorite part of the entire ordeal, and it has to be done before I can even leave the house.
2) All sold out. If something is on a really good sale, it's invariably sold out by the time I get to the store. Even if I go on the same day that the sale starts. Do rabid sale-stalkers in our tiny little town really ravage the shelves while I'm in church on Sunday morning, leaving mere crumbs by Sunday evening? Either that, or...
3) They mess with my mind. For example: this week, Kroger has 24-count boxes of Crayola Crayons (which, as any parent knows, are the only crayons that can withstand more than 30 consecutive seconds of coloring without breakage) for $.25. Between homeschooling and two budding artists, we go through a lot of crayons, so this was a must-have for me. So we're making our way through the store, knowing full well that the school supplies are on the same aisle as the cereal. We reach the aisle and - surprise, surprise - there's a label on the shelf clearly advertising the dirt-cheap Crayolas, but there's not a box to be seen. GRRRRRRRR. The rabid sale-stalkers strike again. So we continue on our way, only to find, several aisles later, a giant bin in the front of the store overflowing with said crayons. Well, nice that they planned ahead and whatnot. But couldn't they have left just a few boxes on the shelf for people that actually look for things where they're supposed to be?
4) Children. Not so much other people's children, which I rarely even notice in the grocery store, but my own little bundles of joy. They don't misbehave, but they are constantly under my feet. If I take a step to the left to put something into the cart, I step on Rachael's toe. If I need to open the door to the freezer case, Milly is leaning against it. They want to walk directly in front of the cart the way that most people want their next breath. And while they generally walk beside or behind me like civilized little people when the aisle is empty, they feel the need to dance and twirl up and down the aisle whenever it's crammed full of...
5) Other people. I've come to the conclusion that some people just lose their minds when they walk into a grocery store. (Maybe they're still ticked off from creating their own grocery lists.) They walk through the entire store chatting loudly on their cell phones. They don't watch where they're going. Knock things over and leave them there. Park their carts in the middle of the aisle and wander off to look at something, blocking up the whole darn place. (This is the most common offense in our store of choice. Every other aisle. SERIOUSLY.) They stand forever in front of the items I need, oblivious to the fact that there's a line of people waiting behind them. They refuse to bathe before venturing out in public. Or put on actual clothes (pajamas are woefully popular here.) And they don't act any better in the parking lot, where they park crookedly, leave carts outside of the corral, and fly up and down the aisles, living out their Indy dreams in spite of the children flattening themselves against the side of my cart in a desperate attempt not to die before they reach the van.
I'm all about "love thy neighbor", but I rarely leave the grocery store without wanting to beat someone with my shoe.
6) Overzealous baggers. Maybe this is an affliction particular to my grocery store - it doesn't seem to be common, although you may have experienced it elsewhere. At our store, the baggers (when not overly busy) just wannnnnnt to be helpful. Now, I'm all about helpful. After enduring numbers one through five, I'm usually hyperventilating a little by the time I reach the checkout. Some help would be lovely, although I'm pretty sure they don't offer the kind of help I need at Kroger. So about half of the time, a bored/helpful bagger is actually waiting in the empty checkout lane as we approach, and will hurry to pull my cart into the lane and begin unloading it onto the conveyor for me. Sane women would probably appreciate this - and it does give me a little extra time to produce the VIP card from the bowels of my purse, extricate all those stinking coupons, etc. But...I am too anal to enjoy this luxury. Instead, I feel my blood pressure rising as I watch cans and boxes being flung haphazardly onto the conveyor, produce beside the milk and bread sandwiched the middle...AHHHH!
No. Nonononono. Heavy items (milk, drinks, etc.) go onto the conveyor first. That way they're put back into the cart first...on the bottom, where they smash nothing. Yes? This surely makes sense to someone other than me. Boxes go together, refrigerated and frozen items go together, cans go together. Eggs, produce, and bread are always last...which means they're on top of the pile and not smushed by the time I get them out of the store.
Silly me. I thought everyone did it that way. Apparently not. Seems as though someone that actually works in a grocery store would have sussed that out, though.
7) Sloppy baggers. It's like they lose zealous-ness halfway through the slinging process, and then I wind up with grapes half-in and half-out of the bag, and lose several in the parking lot before I realize it. Hmph.
Well, there you have it - seven of my grocery store pet peeves. I'm sure I've missed many, many more. What are yours??