One of the new trends thanks to the Krazy Coupon Lady and her show “Extreme Couponing” on TLC everyone in America is trying to buy $200 worth of groceries for 62 cents. OK maybe not everyone but certainly a lot of people who I know. And while I could probably do an entire blog on the ups and downs of couponing that’s not where this is headed. The couponing blog would be one of my famous love/hate relationship blogs (Love to save $52.46 and even cut the savings bracket off of my receipt and taped it in my checkbook like a trophy: Hate the 6 1/2 hours it took to clip the coupons, look coupons up online, cross-reference my grocery list with the coupons I have and the weekly store ads…. see where this going?)
Actually what I’d like to discuss today is Grocery Store etiquette – or more specifically the lack of it. Have you ever seen anyone in a grocery store smiling as the shop? It’s like jogging – I’ve never seen a smiling jogger. Why? Because like jogging shopping for groceries is painful. Ok to be honest I haven’t jogged for several years but when I did it was painful. Grocery shopping isn’t physical painful, usually. Unless you grab the last Butterball out of the freezer a week before Thanksgiving when it’s on sale for 32 cents a pound – then you are taking you life in your hands. Grocery shopping is that mind numbing kind of painful.
It’s bad enough that in order to feed a family of four these days you nearly have to take a loan to pay for the groceries. But add to that going to the store and dealing with other shoppers, trying to keep your coupons, kids and husband organized while shopping and having that nagging voice in your head that keeps repeating over and over again “stick to your list so you don’t blow your budget.” By the time I’m done I’m a complete Zombie. But I have learned a few tricks – maybe not enough to get my own TV show on TLC but trust me these are way more important that how to get a gallon of mayonnaise for 45 cents.
GROCERY SHOPPING 2.O – THE SURVIVAL GUIDE:
Timing: The day of week and time you chose to shop can greatly reduce stress in shopping. The peak times being between 230 AM and 430 AM any day but Saturday. But if you don’t feel like staying up all night to shop and you don’t work a graveyard shift there are other options. Wednesday is the best shopping day according to Consumer Reports magazine. But if that Wednesday is on the 1st or 15th day of the month stay clear. A lot of people get paid on the 1st and 15th and usually social security checks are deposited that day.
Shoppers on Cell Phones: If you see someone talking on cell phone go to the opposite end of the store immediately. These people wander aimlessly throughout the aisles haphazardly tossing something in their cart while they are telling their BFF all about how rockin’ the concert was last night. They walk down the aisles without any regard to who might be behind them and stop abruptly or drift into the lanes of on coming carts. Personally I think that if they are taking away texting while you drive they should also make it illegal to talk or text while grocery shopping.
Shopping Attire: First you should start with foot wear. I would avoid open toed shoes or flip-flops because if you unsuccessfully avoid a cell phone shopper you could lose a toe or slice a heel when they bump into you with their cart. Dress comfortably. If you feel you need to wear your pajamas to shop please select ones without holes or Hello Kitty on them if you are over the age of 8. I also do not suggest that you wear house slippers for the same reason you shouldn’t wear open toed shoes. Wear deodorant. Please.
Check out: Scan the lines before checking out. You are looking for two things. First watch the cashier. Pick the one who has his or her head down and is methodically scanning items. AVOID the friendly cashier unless you just need a pick me up. Friendly cashiers go 46% slower than the non-verbal cashiers. While it may be nice to hear that you picked the best cantaloupe in the bin it slows your check out time by 5 minutes and irritates the six people in line behind you. Second you are looking at the people in line in front of you. If anyone in line has more than 2 kids under the age of 3 find another line. Kids that aren’t yet in school or pre-school require a ton of stuff and their parents shopping carts are like a clown car. More and more stuff just keeps flowing out. Also stay away from the lady with a three-ring binder full of coupons and a file folder with every local grocery store ad to get the comparison pricing on every item in their cart. Unless of course you are me and in all likelihood shopping with this woman (my friends are a little coupon crazy).
Self Check Out: If you have just a few things it’s OK to use the Self Scan. It is NOT OK to use the self scan if you have 2 carts full and your three kids are running around all the other people waiting to use the Self Scan. It is also NOT OK to use the Self Scan if you can’t operate a basic cell phone – although these computers are relatively self-explanatory and have touch screens some people still do not have the basic technical knowledge to work these machines.
12 Items or Less: This is not a complicated concept. It is basic math and it means if you have 13 items go to a different line. Also CASH ONLY means that they only take cash. Because what happens when you give a credit card to a lady who has a CASH ONLY line is that everything you purchased has to be voided out, put back in your cart and everyone behind you has to wait while this takes place.
Finally……. my best advice of all……. skip the grocery store and go out to eat!!