There's a strange phenomenon happening right now (one of many). The supermarkets are filled with guys. Why is this so unusual? Because these are guys are don't often (or ever) do the grocery shopping.
You can feel the difference as soon as you walk into the store (if you regularly go that is). First, it's unusually quiet. There are no kids and on my latest trip, about 90% of the shoppers were
guys. You can pick them out pretty quickly. They're clutching a list for dear life and have a dazed and confused look on their faces. Like strangers in an exotic foreign land.
It's up to us to help these guys out or when they get home what's going on in the world will be the least of their concerns. Don't worry guys, we got you. Here are a few simple tips that should help you make it through the wilderness:
You gotta have a list. Make sure you get a list with what you're out there hunting for. Don't forget to take it with you and make sure you can read it. This is your lifeline.
As important as having the list is that it's SPECIFIC. Get brand names, sizes and any other specifics you will need. And don't deviate from that list. If it says to get Brand A and the one next to it looks pretty much the same to you but is a buck cheaper, get the one on the list. They're not the same no matter how much you think they are.
If in doubt, call and ask. Have you phone and make sure it's charged. A dead battery won't save you if you get the wrong milk because you couldn't call and ask. If the list doesn't give you the specifics you need, call and ask. Yes, there is a right milk and lots of wrong milk and that applies to just about everything.
Bring a pen so that you can cross off things as you get them. You may think you've got this and can remember if you got the asparagus. That is, until you get home and the bags are all unpacked and you're asked 'So where is the asparagus?'. This is also your record of what they didn't have - which is a much better excuse than that you forgot (which will likely end with another trip).
When you get a card, use the sanitizing wipes to wipe down the handle. It's smart in times like this and you're going to be asked if you did it. So do it.
Take your cart with you. Don't leave your cart sitting in one spot while you run around trying to find things. This will only take more time and as much as we want to trust our fellow guys, people WILL take things from your cart if it's on thier list and they can't find it.
Ask. If you can't find someone, ask one of the store employees. Lest you be wandering around for half an hour looking for the mini marshmallows. Items are grouped together, but not always in a way that makes sense to you. Saying you couldn't find it is worse than forgetting it. You're guaranteed to get 'Well, why didn't you just ask someone!".
Fruits and vegetables are bound to be on your list and even as one who shops, it's a minefield. I couldn't pick out a ripe avacado to save my life. But, this is another chance to get help from people at the store - they know how to pick that avacoado out of a pile of a hundred of them that will all look idential to you. They're not. Not even close.
Don't improvise. That means considering carefully before adding to the list. You may be tempted to get 5 gallons of milk so you don't have to go out again anytime soon. Unfortunately, lots of stuff actually does 'go bad' and if you show up at home beaming with pride at your cleverness in stocking up, you'll get a quick education to the contrary.
Last, but definitely not least, add things at your own risk. While it may seem too tempting to resist a few cases of beer, bags of chips and steaks...you will. When you get home and it's discovered that you spent twice as much as expected, you're going to get a lesson in supermarket economics.
Follow these rules and you'll be the shopping superhero when you get home. Ignore them at your own risk. As I was checking out and I mentioned the odd number of guys shopping, the cashier whispered to me that the guy who was in front of me and had just left...was on his third trip through her isle. You don't want to be that guy.
Good luck and godspeed!