And yet another indicator that I have become soft and weak, I actually consider my grocery buying routine worth blogging about. On the other hand the Food Marketing Institute shows 2008 purchases at supermarkets over half a trillion dollars, so maybe this is a big deal.
The supermarket is an interesting indicator of the economy, and a demonstration of how a market can evolve. When I was a kid we went to the grocery store. There was one of them and that was it. Worse yet, to make me sound like a frigging fossil, there actually used to be a lunch counter in the store where my mom would get me a grilled cheese and a chocolate shake.
Drive back to the future and suddenly there’s all kind of things going on with food purchasing. I go to the farmer’s market in the center of town on the weekend and shop at the Bacon Street Farm. It’s not as much the tree hugging “grown local”, it’s more of social/economic reality – I believe that if I can keep the local stores in business the odds of my house getting robbed by unemployed neighbors goes down.
I also make a trip to the expensive grocery chain with the organic stuff because I picked up an expensive addiction to fresh squeezed orange juice back when I lived in Florida (a place called The Greenhouse, which may be gone). I also buy mint water, which has allowed me to give up diet soda completely. I never buy protein there because the prices are insane (shout out to Tara, who mentioned the struggle of shopping on Paleo that got me thinking about my hunting and gathering).
We get a lot of the commodities at the local Stop & Shop just because it’s a short drive (and now next to the new 5 Guys burgers…). The crazy thing here is how they have gone over the top for productivity. I walk in with some reusable bags and scan my card at a machine that gives me a price gun. I then cruise around with the cart and scan the stuff myself and put it in the bags. If I have to go to the deli counter I enter my order via touch screen and the the price gun goes off when my order is ready (or they can text me if I don’t have the price gun).
After I have picked up everything on my list (the incredible J-Shopper for Palm), I go to the self-checkout, return the gun, scan my card and my whole order comes up. I check out as fast as I can swipe my credit card and sign, none of the goods already in the bags get touched. If it’s a busy night at 5 guys I can place my order, buy all my groceries and get back before my burgers and fries are up.
The only advice I can give is common sense that nobody follows – never go between 10am-5pm on the weekends. Another lesser known one – stay away from mid-day during the week because that’s when a lot of senior citizens go and they tend to both move slow and block the whole aisle. Please take my word for the fact that throwing an elbow at a cranky senior WILL get you kicked out of the Stop n’ Shop in Framingham.