Today I went shopping with my sister Cheryl. Or, rather, Cheryl went shopping and I drove and looked like a mostly sort of possibly grown up person.
Especially when I first started doing all our shopping, I felt nearly useless.. she is much better at it than I am. I was forever asking, “Where is this, Cheryl?” And she would, of course, promptly direct me to the correct aisle. She was very helpful in other ways, too– like when I tried to put lettuce directly into the shopping cart, instead of first putting it into a bag. “Carissa! What are you doing?! You need a bag!!” And she shook her head and looked a look which said something to the effect of, “what AM I going to do with you, my poor dear helpless older sister?” while getting me a bag.
I used to detest shopping– it seemed an awfully boring, long, exhausting activity, and I generally avoided it as much as possible. That is, until I realized that someday I would be the one exclusively responsible for the shopping (sometimes I have these flashes of brilliance, see.): I then figured I probably should learn something about how it is done. So, I began going on more shopping trips. However, I still wasn’t the primary shopper, and was only mildly useful.
And then, once I was a licensed driver, I became Errand Lady. “Carissa, can you go get some ice cream?” “Carissa, please go get some sour cream.” “We are out of half and half, can you go get some?” Why it’s always dairy products, I’m not sure. Ahem. (Well, actually, those just happened to be the things that came to mind… though ice cream is an extremely common reason to send me to the store. And I’m the one who is trying to get us to eat healthier! Oh well… at least I get to pick the ice creams with less bad stuff… :D)
When mama was very pregnant with Esther, she asked if I could take over the shopping. I accepted the challenge– with much fear and trembling. Um, not really. But I was a bit unsure about how well I would do…
I was handed $300, with which to buy food for 10 (We can count Esther, right? Since she was getting some of the nutrition…) people for an entire week. And it had to last for 7 different stores. (Well, to be precise, 6 stores and one “farm”.) And I had to make everyone happy. AND get healthy food.
I discovered how quickly money can disappear when you are shopping for so many people… It was quite shocking to discover that I spent over SIXTY at the first store!! Help! Was I going to have enough to last for the remaining stores??
Thankfully, I did have enough. And spending $60 at one store, especially if it’s a health food store, turns out to be fairly normal: it has happened every time since. But still, that first time was a rather nerve wracking experience. However, I lived. And, not only that, but we had food ALL week long! Which, I thought, was a good thing.
Now I have a much better system for shopping, though odd things still happen. (Take today, for instance. I turned a couple streets too soon, in a too-eager attempt to get to the health food store (I was rather tired and somewhat confused in the head), so I had to turn around. Sounds easy, right? Ha! Have you ever tried to turn around a fifteen passenger van in an area where there are one way streets? It’s not as easy as it sounds, let me tell you… I had to go in one parking lot, turn around, realize that I couldn’t go the way I wanted to coming out of that gas station, go down a different road which I hoped ended up back out at the main road (fortunately it did), and turned on to the main street, did a u-turn, drove a little bit, and ended up back a the light I had turned at: I basically went in a very large circle. 😀
Another instance: I was calmly filling up a bag with rice at the bulk bins, when rice started spouting out of the bag and skittering across the floor: apparently there was a hole in the bag. Not good. Thankfully I was able to hold the bag in such a way that it ceased to flow from the hole: and I promptly tore another bag from the dispenser and put the rice, holey bag and all, in it. The good thing is that I am friends with some of the ladies there, and one of them happened to be close at hand, so she promptly began sweeping it up. Very nice of her.)
After sharing a few examples of my less-than-awesome (though rather amusing) shopping moments, I think I ought to balance that out my informing you of my newly developed shopping principles.
1. Go as quickly as possible, while still enjoying the time and being pleasant.
2. Smile at as many people as possible
3. Get as much food as I can for the least money I can with the most health I can. (Um.. I just realized that could be taken another way, so to clarify: I do not, in fact, can “as much food”, “least money”, OR “health”.)
4. Tell at least one new person about Esther (Okay, so that isn’t exactly a principle, but I have done that every week thus far…)
5. Come back home with money left–preferably something like $40. (I’ve actually been doing that the last few times! :D)
The people in the grocery stores seem to share the opinion of my family and I that the majority of people we know have: They’re weird, but we like them. A contributing factor of this opinion, I am quite sure, is our ice cream trips…
The First Five (Hannah, Josiah, Emily, Cheryl and I) go to Publix late at night, shortly before closing time. Our mission: ice cream. We generally listen to a certain song about a fox who kills a goose. It’s very violent. Well, sort of.
We turn it up loud and belt it out, and then joke about how odd it is that we listen to children’s songs turned up “loud”, when most young folks going out at night would be listening to vastly different music.
We walk into the store, talking and possibly laughing: definitely grinning. We make a beeline to the ice cream aisle, and spend a great deal of time pondering a Very Important Question: what kinds of ice cream shall we buy? After we choose the same two kinds we always seem to, we head off to the scales. Off come the shoes, and we step on, one at a time (well, usually… ahem.) and exclaim over our weights.
Quickly, we go check out– before they close.
Walking out to the van, we often exclaim about how awesome Publix is and how great the carts are– so smooth!
(Can you tell we love Publix? Or at least we love all the green, the smooth shopping carts, [We like to go to Walmart and then Publix: that way we really appreciate the carts–since Walmart’s are so, um, well… you could call them good exercise, I guess] the pretty flowers and other plants they sell, the delicious meal samples, [yesterday it was salmon and a chick-pea salad!] the nice people, [we’ve known some of them since Cheryl was a baby… so yeah.] the balloons, the scales, the moose tracks frozen yogurt… okay, that is a long enough commercial, I think.)
Now, it would seem, I am supposed to come up with a nice, tidy ending sentence: something that ties all of that randomness into one main point. If… that is possible.
So… shopping is fun! Sometimes.
There, does that work?
I made things clearer, added some “shopping principles”, and a little commercial for Publix, among other random things. I think I’m just going to call this the final draft, since I don’t think there is a particular need to make this ramble into a fantastic article.