If you’re anything like me, you spent way too many childhood afternoons at the packed supermarket, dragging your feet beside the cart as your mom pushed it in loops around the store to pick up enough food to feed the entire White House staff. Granted, my mom was cooking for a family of six back then, but still it seemed our weekly shopping trips should have lasted months.
I’ve hated grocery stores and grocery shopping all my life, and I always got dragged along to help carry the bags. Once I was too busy with high school activities, I thought I was home free. And then came college. With a meal plan my first year, I was pretty set for food and didn’t have to buy or shop much, so when I moved into my first apartment and had to fend for myself, it was kind of a slap in the face.
Now that I’m actually attempting to cook more (it’s only taken 20 years…) I have to go shopping with lists and buy real ingredients like spices and plain yogurt. I kid you not, last week I bought groceries three times—it’s getting a little ridiculous. With all the time I spend at the store, I have plenty of reasons piled up as to why I hate going there.
1. Food is EXPENSIVE. I really hate spending my own money, especially on things that are going to be gone soon. And it’s hard to be healthy on a college budget when junk and fast food is so much cheaper than organic and health foods. A girl can only afford so much hummus before her piggy bank starves, you know.
2. Nothing is where it should be. How many times do you walk from front to back just to find that stupid jar of olives? There has to be a better way to arrange food so it can actually be found. I swear it’s a ploy meant for us to walk by the cookie aisle so much that we just have to add a package or two to our carts.
3. I feel like people judge me. Even if I’m only buying bread and peanut butter, I feel like everyone is judging the contents of my cart. Even worse when I have to go over to the feminine products aisle and carry them through the store past eight groups of guys staring me down. There’s no privacy at the grocery store.
4. I never know what I want. I always have a list but there’s always something I forgot to write down, and do you think I could remember it when it’s convenient? Nope. And how do I choose which brand is better? And if I buy strawberries today will I eat them before they go bad? How do I know I’ll be hungry tomorrow for the meal I’m getting tonight? Way too many unknowns.
5. I can’t push my cart and check my list simultaneously. I’m just not at the same skill level as my mom, and I feel like I’m just not qualified for this job yet. I’m walking through the refrigerated section trying to push a cart and check off my list on my phone and I either have to stop in the middle of the floor or risk running into someone, which makes me a hazard to the whole store.
I don’t think I’m completely alone here, am I? Or does every other 20-something get excited to see Grocery Day circled on their calendar? I love being independent and having the freedom to buy whichever cereal I want, but sometimes when I’m searching aisle after aisle for chia seeds I’d just like to call my mom so she can tell me exactly where they are (because my mom can navigate grocery stores she’s never even stepped foot in—can’t yours?).
You can read more from Eleni Upah on her blog.
Featured image via.