Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Grocery store fatigue

Is anyone else feeling this? I have gone grocery shopping once a week, every week, for the entire time we've lived here (almost two years), save for the couple of weeks we spent in Turkey. And I'm tired of it. "Grocery shopping" encompasses so much more than just purchasing food. I plan the meals, making sure to incorporate ingredients into multiple meals so that I'm not left with half a kilo of zucchini with no purpose. I check on miscellaneous household items and baking goods to see if we need to buy more to replace the supply. I think of all the things I need to buy to assemble two children's lunchbox meals, every day, five days a week. Then I factor in snacks or special occasions or nights when we'll be out, or nights when I need a prepare-ahead meal, and all the little preference idiosyncrasies of each member of the family. All of that = a simple grocery list.

Then I go to the store, and brave the crowds, and push around a huge shopping cart and fill it with all the things on my list. Heaven forbid I forget anything and have to backtrack a few aisles. This is so anathema to me, in fact, that I hardly ever do it. If it's forgotten, and I've moved on more than an aisle, TOO BAD.

The way the store is laid out somehow always means that I get to produce last, when I have the least energy to sort out the good pieces from the moldy and bag it and take it to the scale and have the lady put the sticker on it. That was almost my breaking point today, when I remembered that Jeremy said he wanted some mangoes and I got to the mango section and YES, there was a mango SECTION:

If I loved mangoes, I would probably die from happiness at this sight. Unfortunately, I don't really like mangoes, so it was a chore to sort through all the kinds and figure out what to buy. I ended up with the Tutapuris from India, for 7.75dhs/kilo (about $1/lb).

Then there are all the categories of food that I have to deal with every week and the options are just tiresome. I am so done with cold cereal, for example. I GIVE UP. There is nothing good, and on the rare occasion when there is, I buy it one week to try it out and it is awesome and then I never see it on the shelf again.

Anyway, then I take everything up to the register, and unload it, and bag it (unless I'm lucky and get an aisle with a bagger), and pay, and then haul it all out to the car where I load it yet again. I put the cold stuff in the cooler that I keep in the trunk because you never know when you'll hit a 40-minute wall of traffic on Emirates Road.

Then I get home and unload it into the house, and then load it into the fridge and cupboards. By the time it's all done, I have handled each grocery item up to six times, just loading and unloading.

So that's "grocery shopping." And I'm weary of it. I'm not really trying to complain here. Rather, I want to point out two things.

First, when someone in your life says they need to go grocery shopping, give them a little salute of respect because it is a big job that has to be done week in and week out.

Second, starting sometime next month I will get a reprieve from this chore when I spend time in the US where someone else in the household will be responsible for grocery shopping (I will be sure to give them the above-mentioned salute of respect). However, this is a backhanded reprieve because I think I am going to enjoy grocery shopping in the US because of the novelty it will be. Cold cereal aisle, here I come!

17 comments:

Amanda said...

Ughhh, I HEAR YOU. It's an all-morning event for me, and totally draining. I don't know if you take your kids or not, but trying to compare prices and make sure that your kids don't knock down any displays and remember that they moved the jarred artichokes away from the pickles and roasted red peppers and put them 2 aisles over in the canned vegetables aisle so you don't have to backtrack while you have a 2-year old screaming to see the "monsters" again (which is what Ethan calls the live lobsters) is very draining.

Crys said...

And then add the kids on top. Really it is just too much. Which is pretty much how I feel about all household chores right now, like laundry, which I'm currently avoiding. When you do laundry you handle each piece like four times. Really it is a racket. Bring on the live in help :)

Liz Johnson said...

YES. YES YES YES. Plus I check ads beforehand to see what's on sale, and then try to incorporate cheap stuff into the menu, and then today, Ian lost a shoe somewhere in the grocery store and I seriously debated whether one shoe was worth going back and searching (since it was the only pair that fits him, sadly, it was). BUT! I am grateful for a dependable inventory at the grocery store, which I still don't take for granted after living in Mexico, and for the relatively close grocery store. But YES. It's such a freaking chore.

I hope you get to go to the grocery store BY YOURSELF when you get the US, and wander as long as you want. :)

Britney said...

Amen to everything you said, Bridget, and to all the comments (except for the overseas shopping problems, since I've never lived overseas).

When we lived on the 3rd floor of an apartment, I remember often carrying 10+ bags of groceries all at once, even though the task would make my hands blister, just so I didn't have to keep going up and down those stairs with groceries YET again.

Suzanne Bubnash said...

Because I'd rather have a root canal than step inside a store, any store, I'm delegating grocery shopping to you from the day you arrive till the day you depart. But you will be required to stick to my list, no frills allowed!

Kathy Haynie said...

I suppose it's easier and more fun than growing everything ourselves, but yes, truly, it is a chore. A hero's salute of respect to Britney above and everyone else who has to lug the groceries a distance (especially vertical) after returning home. This won't be a consolation to you at this point in your life, but it IS easier now that I'm an "empty nester." (Although it's still my least-favorite chore.)

When my kids got old enough I used to make up a little list for each of them and send them off through the store with a junior sibling and a grocery cart. I stayed in the food court area and studied - I was a full-time college student with 5 kids at home then - and when they all finished, we would take all the carts through the check-out and I paid for the groceries.

Jennifer said...

Kathy, I love your grocery shopping delegation! Bridget, I feel for you. I'm so excited for you to get do all of your mom's shopping while you're in the US (because apparently that has been delegated to you?)!

Ariana said...

Fo rizzle. It doesn't help that my husband thinks that going grocery shopping by myself (sans kids, or anyone else) should count as a girls' night out....

Julia - Finding My Way Softly said...

I remember those delegated shopping trips. Once I got my driver's license I am pretty sure I did the vast majority of the grocery shopping.

I am not a big fan of shopping, but I don't hate shopping to the extent my mom (Kathy) does. When I was a teenager my mom would pawn us off on women who liked shopping, so she didn't have to go back-to-school shopping. ;-)

I can't do all the grocery shopping online, but I am glad a lot of other shopping I can do online and get it delivered a few days later.

Kelli said...

I hear you on the grocery store sentiments. I also adhere to the no-return aisle policy. If I miss something on an aisle, it does not make it to our house until the next week. Are you going to be in Oregon this summer? We will be there the first couple weeks in Aug. We should get together if our trips coincide.

Bridget said...

Yes, the addition of kids takes it all up a notch on the insanity meter. This time I didn't have my kids with me but sometimes I do and I feel like I just bark at them absent-mindedly the whole time while trying to keep track of all the details you mentioned. Ugh.

Bridget said...

This is where I'm glad there aren't sales here. Because adding that to the preparation mix would put me over the edge!

Bridget said...

Britney, YES.

Bridget said...

I'm glad someone else is as brutal about backtracking as I am. Yes, we will be in Oregon in August!

Bridget said...

I love your mom's tactic. What a great idea!

Sherwood family said...

Bridget, I don't know if we can be friends any more. I can't believe that with such an amazing selection of mangoes, you don't even like them. If you come visit us during mango season, you will be required to bring at least ten kilos as a hostess gift.

Lilianne said...

I have wanted to write this exact same blog post for some time now! You said it perfectly. So glad I'm not the only one that feels this way! And I totally can empathize with the bring groceries up to apartments. When we lived in DC (and in Tucson) it was pure torture getting that stuff up to the apartment. My mom once told me that I should give myself five cents for every bag of groceries I bring into the home and by the end of my life, I'd be a millionaire! I think I'm beginning to believe her!

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