Don’t Go Shopping with Me

Oprah had this guest on her show a few weeks ago (well, I saw it then, it was probably really old, I don’t get to watch much afternoon TV), but it was a woman who was a mind-blowingly talented coupon shopper. Barbara Franklin literally buys hundreds of dollars worth of groceries for a few bucks. I can only assume that it is not as easy as she makes it look, and that it takes a fair amount of time and effort and research before she ever heads to the store. She actually stocks a community pantry now, people come to shop in her basement. I would also imagine that going to the store with her would be overwhelming and surreal, but awesome.

This throws into sharp contrast what it would be like for someone to go grocery shopping with me. Overwhelming and surreal… perhaps. Awesome… not so much.

I love grocery shopping. Yes, I am aware that’s weird. But I seriously look forward to my monthly grocery trip. I might make a few small item runs in between, but I prefer to take care of everything in one fell swoop.  I make sure it’s at a time where it won’t be too crowded, and where I don’t have anything else to do after. And then… I wander. Not aimlessly. Just, purposefully at a snail’s pace.

I might traverse every single aisle… I might leave one out if I’m sure there’s nothing I need from the paper products or pet aisle or something. I consider it a minor failure if I have to double-back because I forgot something. And I look for deals, the brands that are on sale, or in-store coupons (I never bring coupons… maybe I should start that next?) I compare labels sometimes, but not obsessively. And I’ve been asked more times than I care to admit “if I need help finding something” as I’ve been paralyzed by indecisiveness over whether I want the almonds slivered or sliced.

I try to get as many of my groceries as possible in the natural/organic sections. I make exceptions for things that are just unreasonably expensive, but I’m getting better at the bargain shopping. I shopped today and I would say I got 90% organic or partially organic products, and almost everything on sale. I was at the store for way too long.  Full confession here, I’m a little obsessive.

Why am I even admitting this??  I’m not proud of it, but I guess I see it as more of a fun quirk than a deep dark secret.

Anyone who’s seen my desk at school, or my closet, knows that I am not going to be accused of being OCD or a neat freak anytime soon. In the DSM they separate Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder… which is like, “I arrange my clothes by color, style, and sleeve-length and if you disturb the vacuum cleaner lines in the carpet I’m gonna need a paper bag to breathe in” vs. “If I don’t wash my hands again three times right now, someone might die.”  Perhaps I can have my own category: OCGSD (Obsessive Compulsive Grocery Shopping Disorder) which sounds more like, “but I have to go down that aisle, what if there’s something really good on sale in that isle??”

It’s like a really bizarre version of retail therapy. It makes me relaxed and happy, but it seems more justifiable to turn myself loose in a grocery store than, say, a shoe store.

My college roommates could vouch that this is not a new habit.  We shopped together once or twice… then realized that everyone was happier if we did our shopping on our own. They probably just started going without me actually.

I’ve gone shopping for friends. Maybe this could be my new side business? I know lots of people who hate grocery shopping. I could have them write the list, and give the cap on the dollar amount, and as long as I didnt charge by the hour, I think it would work out very well.

Today’s shopping yielded lots of good stuff, and the first project was tonight’s Lasagna with Italian Chicken Sausage. (Those Italian chickens… crazy I tell ya!)

So, anyone looking for a personal grocery shopper??

Or want to come have lasagna with me? …there is a lot there for one person.

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~ by Lindsey on February 13, 2011.

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