Friday, December 4, 2009

The most fun you'll have at the grocery store


Image via tiny palpitation.
At our house, grocery shopping is a team effort. I'm the coupon-clipper and list-maker, Patrick is the cart pusher. I stay home and hum while he goes forth and shops. Patrick, not being one of those mythical Guys Who Likes to Shop, hates it. The weekly trip to the grocery store possibly ranks below cleaning cat boxes as his most onerous household chore. But, he goes. He goes because he is immune to impulse buys. No $4 jars of roasted marinated artichoke hearts are finding their way into his cart. With Patrick as designated shopper, we spend a little less than fifty dollars each week.

About once a month, I try to plan it so we skip a week. With Thanksgiving just behind us, (and a fridge beset with a bounty of leftovers) skipping this week was a no-brainer. I liked that idea. But little by little, after hearing one radio story after another, I also started to like another idea. We were going to take our $50 and buy groceries for the food bank.

And that's why Wednesday after dinner we both climbed into the car, grocery-store bound. Patrick, I'm pretty sure, was dreading the whole thing. A quick run through the entire history of our relationship clearly reveals that the grocery store parking lot is the most volatile time for faux pas, miscommuniques, and minor squabbles. Checkout lines and crowded aisles never fail to put us in a bad mood. We entered with trepidation.

Once inside, it was a straight shot from sliding doors to stewed tomatoes. Immediately, dove into a battle of wits with Del Monte and Hunt's, Heinz and store brand, trying to score the biggest bang for our buck. Store brand pasta was on sale. Hormel canned chili was about half the price of Campbell's, and we scored a 12-pack of store brand mac and cheese for the same price as a Kraft mac 6-pack. Being a bargain nerd myself, this was fun. Patrick was gently and eloquently talking me out of things like pickled beets, and enjoying putting his superior mathematical skills to use.

By the time we wheeled our cart towards the check-out, we both sported giant, goofy shit-eating grins. Nothing beats that tingly and a little bit obnoxious good-samaritan feeling. The total? $50.37. And a lot of folks are going to be a little less stressed out about putting food on the table.

So, there you go. Food bank shopping-therapy. You should try it, it's terrific.


4 comments:

Julia (Color Me Green) said...

wow a man immune to impulse buys. usually i think they are the ones who would spend more at the grocery store. kudos to you for the food donation!

Kami said...

What a great idea! Good for you guys :)
And I agree with Julia, if I take John with me to the grocery store, we come home with 6x the snacks!

katherine mary said...

:) nice modeling of the charitable behavior! we did the toys for tots donation, purchasing educational toys to try to even out the massive barbie/superhero influx. Karma? I totally won $50 in a Toys for Tots raffle. Obviously that will be recycled again. ;) Next week is the children's book drive!

Kristina said...

Wow, I found the grocery store freak-of-nature. The worst Patrick will buy is... you guessed it... beer.

Kate, that's awesome. I feel like there's a stigma around telling others what charitable thing you've done... but honestly, I'd rather hear about others' altruism. It can only inspire me to do more.

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