I don't know what it is about grocery shopping that puts me in a stew. Nearly every trip to the store brings about some sort of mini-rant. Perhaps I'm simply a bitch...say it ain't so?
I spend inordinate amounts of time planning 'THE TRIP'. After all, I like it to be all encompassing, wholly successful, and frightfully frugal. I suppose you could say I participate in Extreme Shopping as a sport. I always go with the thought in mind that I wish not to come back for a long long time.
First and foremost is the list, not just any list, but the list written in geographical order of the store. No backtracking allowed, penalty for missing an item in an aisle is a visit to another store. I have standards and I do not allow slacking.
Then there are the coupons. I don't clip them all, they have to be worth my while and I don't buy things I don't use or want because I can get 50 cents off of it. Just say 'NO' to drugs, name brand drugs. Even with the buck off, the store brand is cheaper with the same ingredients.
I buy only certain things in store brands; there can be a difference. I have learned the hard way that insomuch as canned string beans sorta squeak on your teeth, the store brand often plays a symphony honoring an untuned violin. I abhor canned vegetables for the most part, but the fruit of my loins will only consume canned string beans. And they must be kitchen sliced, the diagonal ones. There is only one brand of those. She only eats perhaps six beans at a time, and will not eat them as leftovers. A three serving can provides 4% of your RDA of Vitamin A. At six beans per sitting she's actually absorbing 'A' in the negative but I cherish them for they are the lifeblood of her nutritional intake.
What exactly is 'cheese food'? Do you know how many packages of sliced cheese you have to look at to find something that is not 'cheese food'? I want cheese, and I don't want it individually wrapped. I want to pry my slice of real cheese apart with my own fingers. Can they have the same free license with something called 'cheese food' as they can have with scrapple? "hey paw, look what milked out of the cow today!" "not to fret son...just toss it in the pile for 'cheese food'!"
Then there are frozen mashed potatoes. Let me repeat myself. Frozen mashed potatoes. What can be easier to make than real mashed potatoes? I can't continue this discussion...it's too indicative of the laziness of the world. Besides...it also leads to a discussion of the spelling of plural spuds. Potatoes or potatos. Only Dan Quayle knows for sure.
Let's discuss apples. I spend a lot of time in the apple basket, finding just the perfect ones that I carefully place in my plastic bag. Why then must I endure the horrifying 'THWACK' when the checker slams them down on the scale? Hello bruises????
The store I shop at has an interesting way of packaging ground beef. Initially you must scour the shelf looking at all the types...50% fat, 40% fat, 30% fat, etc...I find quite often simply by trying to pick the reddest package you don't always find the leanest beef. I suspect red dye #37 has a part in this. But once you've chosen your grind, they've packaged it in pound and a half portions. MOST recipes call for a pound. So, you have to buy the pound and a half, freeze the other half pound, then you forget it til it's freezer burnt and the store makes the little profit from having sold you more than you need. Good marketing strategy...perhaps?
Consider too, that most stores have frozen or chilled foods at both ends of the stores. No matter which side you start on, something ends up being out of its cold environment for an extensive period of time. I dunno...am I missing the reason for this?
Pet foods are a bite! Meaty chunks, sautéed strips, grill flavored, formed and pressed in odd shapes. Can you see Fido now..."Woof woof rowlf bark grrrr whimper woof"....loosely translated into "I can't possibly eat this food, I wanted the ones that look like little mailmen" People DO YOU REALLY THINK THEY CARE WHAT THEY LOOK LIKE?????
Then there's bread, white...rounded or square, light or regular, wheat, seven grain, honey wheat, honey nut wheat, honey crunchy oat grain split top butter bottom pretoasted will it mold before you can decide what the Sam hill to buy?
Is it fat free, or low fat, or cholesterol free, or sugar free or lactose free or flavor free? Is soup better purchased in cans or jars? Should your noodles be wide or curly or thin or green or long or short? Is your coffee Colombian, French roast, gourmet roast, breakfast blend, decaffeinated, caffeine reduced, in a can, in a bag, in a box, in a jar?
Do you buy liquid or powder, with stain lifters, or color protectors, fresh scent, rain fresh, deodorant fresh, anti-bacterial, concentrated or full strength? Should it be two ply or three ply or cuddle soft or woven or have little designs on it. Honestly does your butt really know the difference between flowers and ducks???
When you finally muddle through all this, and grunt and groan your cart up to the checker...then you get the bagger from hell. Now, mind you, there are some awfully good baggers out there. It's just that they seem to be on break when I go. Maybe they see me coming? I usually try to bag my own, then I'm satisfied. But sometimes they just WANT TO HELP. I don't ask for much, I want my cold and frozen things together. I don't want my bananas in the bag with the canned goods. Double bag the cans. The cleaning supplies do not go on top of the bread.
Or the eggs.
Or the lettuce.
For $267.54 after coupons, you'd think you'd earn a little respect.
Or at least they'd respect my apples.