Monday, March 30, 2009

Food For Thought

Like it or not… if you have kids…and God help you if they’re all boys… you’ll spend an inordinate amount of time in the grocery store. No matter that you’ve just hit the A&P 2 days ago…one glance at the fridge door will remind you that you are living with the most frightening of creatures:


….the bottomless pit. (AKA the male teenager….insert scary DUH-DUH-DUH!! sound here.)

This individual has no concept of the strategy of planning ahead…and please be aware that by the time he goes to the trouble to complete this (literal) grocery list of demands, he’s already completely wiped you OUT.

Notice that the staples are not even listed above.

Milk? Gone.

Bread? Nada.

Cereal? Please see above.

This hopelessly ravenous creature is unconcerned with the complexities of how the food is replaced…but lives with the expectation that it will somehow…through the sheer magic of his desire….suddenly reappear in its customary place.

Be afraid…be very afraid.

And so, it is with the experience of a master…the virtual expertise of a seasoned pro, as it were…that I present to you:

The Secrets of the Grocery Store.

(Well…actually, they won’t be secrets after this telling, now will they?)

If you hate crowds and lines, shop as late in the day as possible. Only 4% of shoppers hit the aisles between 9pm and 8am. Just goes to show….that those in the know….shop with the glow…of a glass of Bordeaux.

Least crowded day of the week? Wednesday. Does this really surprise anyone? Who thinks to shop for food on a Wednesday?

Go ahead and reach way back for the fresh milk. Everybody does. Seriously.

The more products you see, the more you are likely to buy. That’s why the aisles are soooo loooong and the milk is usually in the far, back corner. They’re counting on your lack of willpower to pass by those artfully-placed, generously-stocked, clearly-marked SALE! items.

Look high and low (literally) for good values from smaller manufacturers who can’t afford to stock their products in the eye-level sweet spot. Yes, think of the market’s shelves like a big real estate development…with the highest bidders gaining the primo spots.

They’re marketing to your kids, too. That’s why they put the rainbow-colored cereals and other kiddie catnip at kid’s eye level. You’ll now notice how the unflavored granola clusters are up on the tippy-top shelf, or down by your feet.

Be wary of “specials”. When people see signs with numbers- “5 for $10!”, “Limit: 5 per customer” –they buy 30 to 100% more than they otherwise might have. What you may not realize is that you may buy 2 items for $4…as the actual price is $2 each. Unless it clearly states the individual price, (say $2.99 each) most stores say you do not have to buy the amount specified to receive any kind of “special savings”. Sneaky….oh, so sneaky.

And at the end of the day, you’ll end up tossing 12% of what you buy, according to insiders. Maybe the "Vegetable" and "Fruit" drawers in the fridge are less about extending the life of the items and more about a conspiracy to help us forget we'd even bought them in the first place.

Now, let's go make ourselves a big ole' crunchy peanut butter & jelly sandwi-….oops. (Sigh.) Never mind.

sferri said...

My son has this tendency to forget to put things he wants on the grocery list, and then be annoyed when I don't pick up the items he wants. Boy, he is a slow learner.

Kathryn said...

I believe it is the assumed expectation that we can read their minds...but only when they want us to. Good times...

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