Friday, April 8, 2016

To Market, to Market

Marching through the month with the April A-Z Blog Challenge...

Day 6-G is for Grocery Store Grace

Let's talk grocery shopping. Or food shopping. Or marketing depending where you live. A bit random, but in my mind home and food go together so it works. Plus the topic came up in this week's Wednesday Hodgepodge and it was interesting to read how people feel about bagging their own groceries, canvas vs. plastic, baggers using too few bags, and baggers who use too many. I think we're all in agreement putting it away once we're home is our least favorite part of the job.

I do most of the grocery shopping, and I think it's one of the more enjoyable household chores. There's something very satisfying to me about a full cart. When hubs was momentarily retired he occasionally accompanied me to the store. He doesn't mind grocery shopping now and then. Sometimes I'd send him on his own with a list, but not often because as I've thought about my shopping habits, I've come to the conclusion I'm particular.  I did decide if he shopped I would not complain about what he bought so that's something.

We moved to SC from NJ back in August. The store in tinytown NJ did NOT bag your groceries, and I'm okay with that. In fact it's my preference, because I like my groceries bagged a certain way. I mean it only makes sense to put all the cold items together and not to put milk, juice and water into one flimsy plastic bag, yet sometimes that's exactly what you get when someone else loads the bags.

The store here is lovely. Truly, everyone is so nice and you can never really shop in a hurry because you need to allow time to chat with the boy stocking the shelves and the lady running the register and the manager who is always there cheerfully jumping in wherever needed. You will not pass one store employee who doesn't stop what he's doing, look you in the eye and say hello, or ask you how it's going.

This has taken a bit of getting used to. Sometimes I just wanna shop sans conversation, but I feel like Jesus has been using this grocery store to teach me patience. I'm a work in progress. One day I stood at the register for nearly fifteen minutes while the cashier and the lady checking out in front of me searched for a peach that had rolled into oblivion.

I wanted to say, 'listen I will just run right over to produce and grab you another', but they were determined to find the one that got away. They did not, but that's neither here nor there. If I'm truly in a hurry I sometimes go to a different, less-friendly-just okay-store, but the truth of the matter is, I'm rarely in a hurry. So why do I feel impatient when everyone around me is relaxed and being nice?

Like I said, I'm learning a lot as I do my weekly shopping.

Now, the store I like best not only bags my groceries, but quite often they try to actually unload the items in the cart onto the belt. Y'all I still cannot handle this! I've become accustomed to the bagging, but I will wrestle that girl down before I let her unload my cart. I need to unload it the way I want it bagged, with all the cold things on the belt together, all the produce together, etc. Plus I don't like them handling all my groceries. Hubs says I'm nuts because thousands of people have probably touched that bunch of broccoli as they've shopped, and they touch it again when they load it into the bag, but go ahead and call me crazy. Or a Jersey girl.

Once it's all bagged they wheel the cart to my car and unload it into the trunk. Then I rearrange it all, but maybe that's also just me? They never rush me, never make me feel like they're in a hurry, and always wish me a wonderful day. I'm hugely appreciative of the employee returning the cart back to the store and the store has a firm no tipping policy, so no awkward pressure there but I often find myself thinking I could easily do it myself.

When we first started shopping here I did try, but eight months later and I'm all about letting the bagger wheel my buggy right on out to the car. We chat as we walk and I notice the color of the sky. I get in my car feeling grateful for friendly strangers who remind me life is not a race to the next thing on my list. That life is about this thing, and that people who notice people make the world a better place.

You can learn a lot at your friendly neighborhood store.


  1. I too like to put my groceries on the belt in order...cold stuff, perishables, non food items etc.

    I have those green bags but sometimes forget them, and I'd rather have paper when I do but most stores only have plastic. My biggest pet peeve is when they bag two or three really heavy items in one bag and then double bag it. If you're going to use two bags, just bag them in separate bags. Sheesh! I have a long way to go from my car to my front door, and those bags can get mighty heavy.

  2. Oh Joyce I think I might just have to write a post on how different my shopping experience can be to yours lol

  3. This made me laugh since I'm from NJ and when visiting my mom in Florida or my daughter in NC I can't believe what goes on in the grocery stores! Just give me my stuff and let me out!!! The conversations and the pace makes me crazy!! We don't mess around in and out!!! I applaud your patience!

  4. Once it's in my cart, please don't touch it! I always feel a little crazy about my groceries. Ha!

  5. I love grocery shopping when I have plenty of time to look at everything. The HEB store here in Fredericksburg is very large, and they offer things that make me think "who in the world buys that?", but it's fun to look anyway.

  6. It's funny how we are all particular in our own ways!!!
    I always feel like the grocery store is one of the best places to show kindness as well. From helping the older person get something off the top shelf to chatting in line. Some people must be lonely to start a conversation in the store, it's the least I can do to be pleasant!

  7. I just read something online the other day about words we Iowans wouldn't understand and one of them was buggy for shopping cart. So, I had a nice little laugh when I read that sentence, I'm glad I knew what you meant though.

  8. I have never even thought of unloading my cart in a certain way!! LOL We are all OCD in our ways, aren't we!

  9. Isn't that nice - it's Smalltown, USA. I love it and have lived with it all my life.

  10. Don't you love all the chit chatting with strangers in the South? It was such a shock when we moved to England. I'd say hello to people and they would look at me like I had three eyeballs! Ha!

  11. Oh,I go around 9 AM to the grocery store and can usually get it all done rather quickly until the check out time. I would not know what to do or how to act if someone checked me out or bagged my groceries. But, I am use to it now and have perfected the process. Have a great weekend!

  12. As much as I like friendly chit-chat, I usually don't want it to take place in the grocery store if it means slowing down. I would've wanted to stick toothpicks in my eyes if I'd witnessed that mad hunt for a stupid peach! But I'd be nice and keep my mouth shut OR go offer to pick up another--except that how many SKUs of peaches are there?? Sheesh. I am picky, too. I hadn't thought about the hands all over it, but yeah--now that you mention it, those hands also handle money! It's kind of gross, isn't it?

  13. I hate bagging my own groceries. As far as I am concerned, it is one of the perks of shopping at that store. I forgot about the days when a young man or young woman would roll the loaded cart out to your cart. Today, they ask, "Do you need any help?" I always say no because I am not the small talk person. Oh, when I do load groceries in the bag, "Let the chips fall where they may," literally. I will sort it all out when I get home. Say, putting away groceries is like putting away laundry? Ugh!!!

    Sorry for the long comment. Loved the post!!!!

  14. I'm making a guess that your store is a Publix store? It sounds like Publix, anyway. Lakeland is the corporate home of Publix and all the stores operate as you have described. It is an awesome, very community and customer service oriented business - still privately held. We LOVE Publix here in Lakeland, FL!!