The Complexities of Grocery Shopping
You'd think in this day and age, grocery shopping would be getting easier. While there are more options (do it yourself, have someone else do it and just pick it up or delivery), things are NOT getting easier. Options are great and while I appreciate delivery (especially when the weather is bad or I'm returning from a trip and have nothing in the house), I like to do my own shopping. I like to make my own selections and find my own bargains. Both of which are getting MORE complicated.
Why? A couple of reasons...
First reason is not a bad one. My church sells scrip (gift cards) for several grocery stores. When you buy a $25, $50 or $100 card, the church gets back 5%. You don't pay any more or lose anything. It's just like spending that amount in cash at the store. You shop, the grocery store gets paid and the church earns a little money. So I've been trying to do that regularly. However, my son is now part of the high school music program and to raise funds there they also sell scrip. (And before I go any farther, let me say God BLESS the women who run and organize these. I can't begin to imagine all the crazy behind the scenes stuff that must go on!) So now I'm splitting my money AND my grocery stores. Both organizations sell scrip to the same groceries, but I have found recently that I'm splitting my time between Shoprite (where I do my weekly shopping) and Foodtown (where I tend to pick up items on the fly.) I need to make sure I have enough cash in my checking account to purchase the script and then make sure I use it (instead of reaching for that credit card.) There WILL be a day/time when I try to use the wrong card at the wrong store. I KNOW it!
Second reason (and MAIN point of frustration) is coupons. You know I LOVE my circulars. While I will look at them on line, I like to physically get them. I can mark up what I want/need based on sales. PLUS the ones that come in the mail/delivered to my house have additional coupons that are NOT in the online/in grocery store ones. You may have heard me rant about this before (https://bfthsboringblog.blogspot.com/2019/08/please-mr-postman.html). Since my mail carrier no longer feels the need to deliver circulars (or deliver on a regular basis...now that I think of it I STILL haven't seen my October issue of O Magazine), I've been going to another source...a co-worker.
Yes, I've sunk so low that I needed to find a "circular dealer." My co-worker lives in another city in NJ, where she GETS circulars delivered (not by the mailman, but by another carrier) and since she lives in a two family home with a current vacancy, she brings me the circulars (which she gets on Fridays; I USED to get on Thursdays) on Monday so that I can review and clip those coupons. (Let me just say these are GOOD coupons too. Ones that really save me money, which is probably why they are NOT in the grocery store versions.) At this point, I don't even have to ask; she just brings them in for me,
When she goes on vacation or IF I go on vacation, I'll be out of luck for that week, but her track record is still a lot better than the mailman, so...
Then there is the actual shopping. As I said, I like to physically go to the store. I know I could have someone else do it for me. God knows there are enough employees in the store doing just that when I go. And when I go is when the store opens. My hubby and I head out BEFORE or just after the store opens to avoid the crowds. Crowds are definitely an issue in my area. Sundays at the supermarket are worse than Black Friday at Macys! Going after work and hunting for a parking space is like looking for a needle in a haystack. Recently a Stew Leonard's opened in North Jersey (not close to use, but close enough to check out for the fun of it) and while finding a parking space was a challenge, getting through the actual store was like being in a traffic jam on the Garden State Parkway in the summer. There were so many people that you literally COULDN'T move. (Although we finally did.) Stew Leonard's is a great store and I'd like to go back, but I'm going to have to wait until after the novelty wears off and go during a "down time" (if such a think exists.)
Back on topic; hubby and I go EARLY (before I go to work). There are parking spaces to be found, the store is not too crowded; unless you count all the shelf stocking. And there is a lot of shelf stocking. (Wish they would do it an hour or so before. Maybe they try to. I don't know. Are you listening to me Shoprite? Despite this (which sometimes causes us not to be able to purchase something since it's not restocked yet), we manage to get through the store pretty quickly. But checking out can be a challenge too. I realize it's early, so most of the lanes are closed. There are only 2 that are open for large orders. There are tons of self service areas (that's a whole other topic: https://bfthsboringblog.blogspot.com/2019/07/self-check-out.html) but with more than 15 items (which we always have), this is an impossibility. So I'm forced to choose a line and be patient, which is not easy for me because I need to get home, drop off the groceries and get to work. As stressful as that may be, it's still a LOT LESS stressful than going at night or on the weekend (unless I'm willing to get up early and be there when the store opens ...but it's the only time I get to sleep in a little and don't I deserve that? Especially when sleeping in actually means 7:00).
Is grocery shopping as complicated for everyone else? Again, I know I could order and pick up or have delivered, but I am a hands on type of girl. (And I'm sure the grocery stores LOVE me for those impulse purchases.) What are your thoughts? Tell me now...I'll be loading up my cart on Friday!