I love food, and eating and cooking, but I’m not a huge fan of grocery shopping.
Grocery shopping can go from being a quick run, to a 45 minute stop if you go to your local store at about 4 – 5 o’clock and run into everyone you know … and their mother. And while I’m happy to see people and catch up, it’s not my favorite spot to do so. Plus, add a hungry/antsy toddler into the mix and literally all hell can break loose.
Someone once told me that grocery stores are designed to disorient and confuse people. Consider that there are few windows, some lame lyric-less music is playing softly in the background, florescent lighting with high shelves and the produce aisle is usually furthest from the door. You may walk in with the best intentions of getting out of there quickly and with what’s on your list, but I can guarantee that some randoms are going to end up in your basket. And if you aren’t like a trained rat in a maze, that you’ll spend some time wandering, gazing at product after product and completely zoning out. At least, I do. Which means that, due to the layout, I am very monogamous to my local store because I know where everything is and my chances of spending less time inside the store are way higher. And so I respect the designers of these spaces because they are highly successful at squeezing more time out of shoppers and the odds of more good being purchased are higher.
My biggest pet peeve about grocery stores, however, isn’t the cashing out, the expired products that haven’t yet found their way off the shelf, running into my best friend’s, cousin’s, step brother’s sister in law in aisle 5, but the whole rewards program they offer. You have a card that has to be scanned and if you’ve forgotten it because you were out the night before and don’t have your huge wallet, but instead just threw your debit card in your pocket, you don’t get 2 milks for the price of one. Just offer the deal or don’t. But adding another card into my stack is a pain in the butt and having to give you my license number when I forget it is even more of a pain. This isn’t making me a more loyal shopper, but it is making me a more annoyed less likely to shop here shopper. Plus, maybe I don’t want to be added onto your program and give you all my information so you can track me somehow. I’m buying lettuce and grapes and bread … why does Shaws need my email address?
My sister was living in Chicago a few years back and there was a delivery service. This sounded like heaven to me. Not only could you order on line, but it was dropped off at your house. No standing in line behind someone wanting to buy lottery tickets. No hoping my fellow shoppers would tolerate a miserable child because I didn’t want to buy marshmallows today. No wandering aimlessly. Unfortunately, they don’t do that in Northern Vermont.