Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Please Don't Put the Prego on the Bananas!
When I go to the grocery store, I have a plan. The plan has nothing to do with efficient shopping, which would require a well-organized list tailored to the layout of the store - and which list would have to actually make it to the store with me. No, none of that sort of plan, just a plan to get home with all the food items in their intended form.

I have my cart mentally divided into heavy, cold, canned, soft and non-food. When I choose my vegetables and fruits, I am careful to check for bruising and over-ripeness and generally take quite a bit of time searching for the best specimens in the bin. I bag them carefully and place them in the child seat so I can watch over them during the duration of the shopping extravaganza. I check my eggs and bread carefully and rest them up front with the fresh produce.

All meats are kept together and, as if I'm Jewish, far from the dairy products. Frozen foods are stacked together to share the cold. Cans go to the bottom so they won't roll and "sqush" anything. It is all very well organized - even more so than it will ever be at home.

When I get to the checkout, I have a system for putting the items on the runway. (Yes, I know....) Anyway, heavy things go first since I know they'll be placed in the cart first. Cans and dry goods come next, then frozen foods, cold foods, vegetables, fruits, eggs and bread. My hope, futile as it may be, is that the items will make it back to the basket grouped in the aforementioned categories. This is especially important to me on hot days, when I'll want to bring the frozen and cold foods in first.

One would think cashiers would be at least aware that peoples like me exist. There is a certain persnickety segment of society that dislikes brown spots on the apples and doesn't care for smushed bread. Some of us have even heard rumors of sack boys who studied the art of properly packing the grocery bag.

But, woe is me. Invariably the canned tomatoes are packed with the sesame seed buns, the pears are thrown in with the new scrub brush and a jar of pickles, and the ice cream is packed with the shaved ham and tomatoes.



Anonymous Sean Gleeson said...

The solution is obvious, isn't it? You need to modify your system by only purchasing one category of groceries at a time. For instance:

You get to the market and park your car. Go in and buy your heavy things and canned goods. Come out and put those in your car. Re-enter the store and buy fragile items. Come back out, and put those in your car (nowhere near the heavy items already there). Finally, go in one last time and buy your frozen foods. (Saving frozen for last guarantees that they are out of the freezer as briefly as possible.)

This procedure ensures proper grocery packing, and does not rely on anyone's competence but your own! Instead of trusting the bag boys to do their job properly, you are forcing them.

The only disadvantages to these modifications are, (1) they necessitate more walking and standing in line, and, (2) they make everyone think you're very weird, possibly a criminal of some sort. But you just gotta ask yourself if you're prepared to pay this price for intact bananas.

10:16 AM, March 30, 2006  
Blogger Jan said...

Well, actually, I was thinkin' I could go to a sack-it-yourself store. Maybe I would draw less attention to myself that way. Still, its alotta work!

: )

10:29 AM, March 30, 2006  
Anonymous Mike Goodwin said...

I was actually going to suggest the same thing, Jan. There is a Walmart Super Center about 3 miles from me, but I will go out of my way to the Walmart Neighborhood Market, which is about 8 miles from me, just so I can use their automated checkout system. I worked as a grocery store cashier in high school, so I am a quick draw with the scanner. :-) Cashiers seem to not realize that you put the milk and ice cream together on the belt for a reason. "Hmmm. I think the milk fits best in the bag with the bleach, and the ice cream would go great with the Preparation H. :-)

5:31 PM, March 30, 2006  
Blogger It's me, T.J. said...


I do the same exact thing with my groceries!!

I didn't know that anybody else did stuff like that.


7:04 PM, March 30, 2006  

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