Sunday, June 22, 2014

Grocery shopping

On Thursday I went grocery shopping by myself.

I cannot tell you the last time I said those four words in a row:


JB was planning to be at a semi-local Permaculture conference for three straight days. He'll be home in the evenings, but the days will be long, and I won't have a vehicle to make last-minute food runs. I needed to make sure I had everything the kids and I needed for a long weekend.

And, um, I have to cook dinner three nights in a row. That's more times than I cook dinner in a month right in a row.


So I went ...


And during my adventure I discovered two non-disputable truths.

1. Grocery shopping by yourself is an entirely different experience than grocery shopping with one, two, three, or four children in tow.

In fact, it is even different than grocery shopping with your husband. Last week I had told my husband, during an experience with our family of six at the grocery store, that I would leave the shopping to him. "I just don't like it," I said. "It's not for me." He was glad of this because he does the cooking, and he doesn't like my "frugal" choices when it comes to something as important as food. (John buys quality. I'm trying to do the same but the Dutch-girl in me wants to spend as little as I can.)

Grocery shopping by yourself means next-to-no talking. You can move slowly and leisurely and think and just be. It was absolutely and utterly glorious. No one asks you any questions. No one touches anything they are not supposed to. No one gets in a fight over the steering wheels and fake buttons in the little cart. No one wants you to buy anything with sugar (except yourself! You can buy a candybar on the way out and eat it without sharing any of it!) There are no bathroom breaks or diaper changes or crying. No crying at all!

It's even better away from the Base. On Base, I see people I know constantly. That really interrupts your "in-the-zone" flow.

I had a simply amazing hour to myself. And not only because I was by myself but because of the reason I will list in my next point.

2. Grocery stores in America are simply unbelievable.

I really planned on avoiding this topic on my Blog. I mean, I've written about the lack of choices while overseas so often that I truly felt I just needed to keep my yap shut about it. Who cares about that? I have been warned, repeatedly, that people don't want to hear your, "When I was in ___ stories."

But my Blog is very different than conversations I have in person. This is my Blog. People read by choice. And if you don't want to hear my, "When I was in ____ stories" you can totally not read anytime you like. (You obviously can't avoid listening to me in person nearly as easily.)

People may not care that much about the difference in grocery stores.

But, well, see, the thing is I care about the differences in grocery stores.


I cannot even begin to estimate how much bigger a typical Kroger is than the Commissary we shopped at in Turkey and the Azores. If I had to guess I would say at least six and maybe even as much as ten times as large. You really could not spend more than about thirty minutes in the Commissary on either of my previous Bases. It was just too small.

But in the USA?

I venture to say I could spend hours.

Today I saw an ENTIRE cereal aisle! Box after box after box. Oh to have those choices when I was so sick and pregnant and just begging to find something that sounded good. An entire aisle! Incredible. There is an entire section of the store devoted to organic and natural and healthy foods. The deli counter is full and bursting at the seems. I think there were donuts nearly everywhere I looked. There are no empty produce shelves. The produce is colorful and rich and not over ripe. Oh and the ice cream freezers seemed to go on without ceasing!

I honestly just couldn't help but write this blog. I couldn't help but share the beauty I found today


Sigh ...

To my Turkey friend Stebbins, this might be just as good as a cold Coke!



Anonymous said...

You bring up an interesting point in talking about shopping by yourself vs. with one or more others. I am sure you greatly value alone time as a mom of four. One of my relatives has four kids, and he did something wonderful in having "dates" with each child, rotating once a week. He found out the love language of one child was quality time, and this has morphed into doing a mission trip together with this child for the past two years.
I can endorse ALDI for size, convenience, and price-it has variety without being overwhelming, and I love its layout-you can get done in ten minutes including checkout-very handy when shopping with little ones.
You sound like a great mom!

John Paul said...

I second the ALDI's choice. you can find some quality stuff there.

As for Kroger, shop there late morning (10-12ish.) By then, they will have marked all the clearance items then load up! Salad greens, herbs, organic meats, reduced produce is where you find some amazing deals! If you find any produce with todays date on it, ask them to mark it down and they will! If you find any meat with tomorrows date on it, ask them to mark it down and they will! Great experience.

I also buy my Shell Gas cards there because you are going to spend the money on gas anyway. WIth their points program, when you buy a $50 card, you instantly get $0.10 off a gallon on gas, which you can use at shell.

Wendi Kitsteiner said...

Anonymous, we actually do this often. Usually, when we go out, we take one child each time for some alone time. This time, however, I was craving completely solo time and none of the kids wanted to go so I went. It was great. John always takes one kid on every adventure!

Thanks John Paul .... Gonna check this out.

Anneli Tre said...

Interesting. My husband is the one shopping once a week and he likes it. I sometimes go to the supermarket to buy just some extra products. I think you express very well a busy - and happy! - mom's way of relaxing in the grocery store.
I don't have any children and since last year, I have found that there are advantages of that shopping in the grocery store on my own.
Just wanted to say that...
Helena in France