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Grocery Shopping 101

Updated: Mar 14, 2021

Grocery shopping, like a lot of things that I used to think of as being run of the mill, easy peasy, no big deal or just everyday tasks, is now something that I consider to be major achievement.

The actual shopping is not difficult. It is the transitions associated with the trip that are the most difficult for me whether I drive myself or someone takes me to the store. Those transitions include:

· getting from the house to the car;

· getting into the car;

· getting from the car into the shopping cart;

· getting back into the car from the shopping cart; and

· getting myself and the groceries into the house.

These transitions are no joke. They take way more time than they used to take and they also take more planning, mental preparation, and physical stamina than they used to take. Sometimes they even take a #Tylenol or some #Ibuprofen.

Usually I drive myself to the store so the first thing is that I have to get from the house to the car . . . and hope I remembered the shopping list. I have the basic list on my phone, but before I go to the store I write the list on paper so I don’t have to keep fiddling with the phone while I am shopping. It is just one less thing to have to deal while I am in the store. Also there is much less likelihood that I will leave the phone in the store which I have done several times when trying to manipulate the grocery items, the cart and the phone.

Once I get to the store the next hurdle is actually getting into the store.

I do most of my #grocery shopping at Giant Eagle. They are a regional chain with stores in Indiana, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia. The primary reasons that I shop at #GiantEagle is because they have electric shopping carts and they bring them out to the car. There are two ways I can get the cart. I can flag down one of the employees who collect the shopping carts from the parking lot and ask them to get it for me or I can call Customer Service and they will send someone out with a cart. The fact that they will send someone to your car with a cart isn’t widely publicized although I think it should be. It is an awesome service that they provide to people with disabilities. I only learned about them bringing the cart to your car because I saw them do it once. That is something that allows me to be more independent and more fully integrated into society. It helps me be able to shop for and by myself.

So, I have my trusty, dusty, little list and knowing that the healthiest/least processed foods like fruits, vegetables, dairy, meat, fish, and homemade baked goods are usually around the outside aisles I head there first. I eventually get to those interior aisles with the more processed foods, but fruits, veggies and to be honest, baked goods, are usually my priorities. LOL

Most of the items I can get on my own but some things are on shelves that are too high for me to reach and I have to get some assistance. I usually try to find someone near me, either store personnel or another shopper, and ask them to please get the item down for me. If there is no one around I call #CustomerService and they send someone to help me.

People most times are very helpful. These days especially I am careful about who I ask, but essentially I just look for someone who is tall enough to reach the item and probably more importantly I look for people who look like they would be #kind.

Sometimes I when I am looking at an item that is out of my reach and am frustrated because I can’t get it someone will come up to me and ask, “Can I help you with something?” “Do you need something?” Or “Do you want me to get that down for you?” I am continually amazed at the kindness of people, strangers in particular. Most people are still kind and generous.

Some people however, are not. I don’t think they intend to be rude. I just think they are thoughtless and/or selfish. There are people who think because they are walking and I am in the cart they can just cut me off. I am pretty sure that in their minds they are thinking something like, “I will just zip in front of her real quick.” Would they do that if I were walking? Maybe. Maybe not. I don’t know. What I do know is that it is rude, especially when they do not even say, “Excuse me.” Sometimes it messes with my self- esteem because I let them make me feel “less than.” And other times I know they have no idea how lucky they are that looks really cannot kill. Most times I shrug it off and keep going.

As a side note sometimes when I am in those carts I am just a little bit dangerous. I have accidents. I am not talking about little things like not having enough room to turn and lightly bumping into things. I remember one time a few years back I was in Home Depot and took out a Santa display. More recently I was in the grocery store and I knocked down a whole rack of gift cards. And once I even ran into the friend who was accompanying me and took out a plug in his leg. It took several months to heal properly. So, sometimes I am not the best driver but generally I am OK. Nowadays the carts have proximity sensors. That is a very, very cool . . . and helpful feature.

People often ask why I shop at #GiantEagle. The answer is simple. I don’t really have much of a choice. If I want to maintain some semblance of independence I can’t shop at stores like #Aldi, #SavALot, or most independent and/or locally-owned stores because they don’t have electric #shoppingcarts. To shop there I would have to use a wheelchair and have someone to push me in it. I don’t want to do that if I don’t have to. I want to do what I can while I can. I know that I may get to the point where I have to use a wheelchair or send someone to do my grocery shopping for me however, that point is not now.

OK. Back to the logistics of the shopping trip.

The last part is getting the groceries in the house. It is not an easy task. Oftentimes J, a friend of mine, will either come to the store with me or meet me at home and bring the bags in for me. If I am on my own getting the bags into the house can be more than a notion. His being available to help usually determines what I buy because I can’t carry a lot of heavy stuff at the same time. For example, I can’t carry milk and sugar at the same time. I If I buy milk and sugar at the same time I would definitely have to leave the sugar in the car and bring it in the house later.

These days I have to pick and choose more carefully what I buy. I may end up going to the grocery store more days than I want to in a given week or I might ask someone to go pick up an item or two for me. I can’t do like I used to do. I used to just go to the store and get 4 or 5 bags or however many bags worth of whatever I needed and come on home and that would be that. I’d have my groceries. Not anymore.

Now like everything else in my life grocery shopping is a much more structured activity.

In addition to planning what I am going to buy I have to plan when I am going to the grocery store, how I am going to get there, whether or not I am going to have to take pain meds, and how I am going to get the groceries in the house when I get home. The last thing I need to do before I leave the house is to make sure that I go to the bathroom because going to the bathroom at the grocery store is very . . . complicated. *sigh* Once I get to the store I have to find a handicap parking space which is sometimes difficult, if not impossible to do. I prefer the ones with lines on both sides of the space so I have room to use the cart to put the groceries in on the passenger’s side and then get in on the driver’s side.

After all of that planning and prep I get my reward . . . I shop! Yay.

By Failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail. (Benjamin Franklin)

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