In the Supermarket

The odds of going to the store for a loaf of bread and coming out with only a loaf of bread are three billion to one.  ~Erma Bombeck

Cartoon grocery cart

Grocery shopping is not one of my all time favorite sports.  When my husband was alive we used to shop together and as he was the cook, most of the decisions on what to buy were made by him.  Now there’s only me to make these important decisions.

But today when I used the last of the tea and the butter was down to a scrape, I just knew that this was going to be one of those days.

So armed with a list (and determined to buy only what was on the list) I sallied forth.   We have a couple of mini marts in our suburb but I had quite a long list and so I took myself of to one of those behemoths called supermarkets.

Pak-n-saveOne supermarket promises “the lowest grocery prices in New Zealand”.  And “everything we do we do to save you money”.

The stores are like big warehouses.  there are no packers – you bring your own bags and pack them yourself.

New World SupermarketThe second carries all manner of imported things and offers you great service. There is always somebody around to take you to where that item you wanted is located.

They pack your bags for you either in your recyclable bags or their plastic ones.

They also give you Fly Buys a loyalty program whereby you accumulate the points from a variety of sources and choose what you will redeem them for.

Countdown supermarketToday I opted for the third.  This chain positions itself between the other two.

It has packers and plastic bags if you need/want them but don’t look for any help on the floor.  It is non-existent.  It also has its own loyalty program.  Again you collect the points when shopping and every few months they reward you with a discount voucher for use in their stores.

Well really, none of this makes me jump with joy.  Both New World and Countdown offer the possibility of shopping on-line but I really like to see what I am buying.  Although, my daughter who used this service for some months, assures me it is very good.

So back to my story.  I appeared at my (local) Countdown store to be faced with a car-park absolutely filled to capacity.  As there is no mall in the area, and apart from parking on the street adjacent to the strip shopping, there is only the supermarket car-park to use.   So therefore, on a Saturday morning, parking spaces are at a premium.  I have already asked myself the question – “Why are you shopping on a Saturday when you can do so on any day in the week?”  There is no good answer to that question.

That was not a good start to my shopping expedition.  Remember that it is not one of my favorite occupations anyway.  A man pulled out of his park right in front of me.  Then, coming from behind, and at a great speed, another man slipped right into that space.  Bearing in mind that I am adding ‘gracious’ to my list of values, I smiled sweetly at him.  He got out of the car and apologized leaving me still without a parking place.  He walked off only to come back a few minutes later to say that his wife was holding a park for me.  That restored a lot of my faith in human nature.

To get into the store one had to navigate around various people who had been given the opportunity to sell their wares there by the supermarket owners.

There was a kid raising money for a school trip by selling chocolate bars.  All kids need to raise money so I bought a couple of bars.  Saturday night at home with Lotte and the TV for company.  Don’t I deserve chocolate and didn’t the kids deserve help with their fundraising?

Next there was a couple of women cooking sausages and wrapping them in bread to raise money for a soccer club.  Don’t ever succumb to this – can’t stand the smell of the sausages cooking. And

then there were three of four young, fit guys asking for a signature to support the All Blacks in the upcoming Rugby World Cup.

It was a mission just to get past them all.

My shopping was hassle free I am pleased to say and I only bought a few small items that were not on the list – apart that is from the chocolate.

While wandering around with my list I noticed several harassed mothers with grumpy and/or crying kids and I am glad that I have passed that stage.  I noticed another mother arguing with her teenage boy over which cereal to buy.  I am really glad that I am past that.  And I noticed an elderly couple shopping together.  She held the shopping list and he held the calculator.  Obviously they are on a tight budget.  I am grateful that I haven’t reached that stage yet.

So now the shopping is put away in the larder and refrigerator.  I can complement myself on a job well done and not need to worry for at least another week.

And oh yes, my favorite bread was on special so I have enough in the freezer for several weeks.

Am I the only one who hates grocery shopping?

Now if I had been shoe shopping that would have been quite a different matter.

As Bette Midler says

“Give a girl the correct footwear and she can conquer the world”


18 responses to “In the Supermarket

  1. “Give a girl the correct footwear and she can conquer the world”
    Now there’s a lady who knows what she’s on a bout !


  2. Now that I am alone shopping is the pits. I will go days thinking empty..bread gone…and it isn’t that I am not out everyday and grocers are close by..I just don’t think of it. My son says I live like a college food I’m fridge when he comes except an out dated yogurt or to!


  3. One way to stop impulse buying is to leave the credit card home and bring only enough money for intended purchase. I have a different problem. My 88 year old parents live with me.The 3 of us go together and mother buys several of each item. Why do we have 6 bottles of jam, 17 cans of tuna and enough soup and canned goods to feed an entire division of the United States Army? I tell her “Ma, we don’t have room for all this.” She replies “But is was 2 for price of one !”. Parking? No problem. The store opens at 7 AM and it is 6:43 here in Miami, Florida and we will leave as soon as I press “send” and will be first in the store as it opens.


    • Hi Carl – I used to have that problem when my husband was alive. He could NEVER buy one of anything. We shopped together as he was the cook and made decisions on what we needed in the larder.
      After he died and I moved house, I could have fed a family of 6 for at least 6 months out of the larder and freezer.


  4. Shopping on line is only experimental in certain areas here in the States. I would LOVE that. I hate to go grocery shopping so much even though I had a supermarket a mile from home that I pass nearly every day.
    Sounds like your shopping adventure went well and I’m glad for you. No one deserves a nightmare.


  5. Grocery shopping is pretty much the only kind of shopping I like (other than used book scouting!)…Erma Bombeck was right on with that quote though…



  6. No, you’re not the only one who hates grocery shopping. I don’t like shopping of any kind and would avoid it if I didn’t need food, clothing, and other necessaries.

    I’ve often wondered about grocery shopping online. I haven’t tried it (not sure it’s available in my area), but would like to some day just to avoid having to go to the store and shop.

    I love that the guy who took your space made up for it. That’s something that doesn’t happen very often. 🙂


    • The problem as my daughter put it with online shopping is – the groceries are shrink wrapped and delivered to the door. Problem is you still have to unload and pack away – that’s another pet hate of mine.
      And yes I felt good for the rest of the day after the carpark space happening. I suppose that might be a reason that the rest of the shopping went so well.


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  8. You had my full attention when you started with Erma! Someone saved you a parking space? What a blessing! Can’t say I’ve ever seen or heard that before. Not a big fan of grocery shopping, but we do like to eat. 🙂 Enjoyed your post.


  9. Well wasn’t I lucky – and I am sure that not only did it make my day, but it made his as well.
    Thanks for commenting.
    Judith 🙂


  10. I’m with Erma! My worst ever was going to the corner deli for some tomatoes to make a salad for my parents who had turned up unexpectedly for lunch.. and having to get a lift home in the deli’s van because they had a great special offer on wine so I bought two cases! Needless to say I forgot the tomatoes!


    • OMG – that has to be the best – I will have to devise a prize for you.

      Dis you ply the parents with the wine so they forgot you were going to have tomatoes in your salad?
      Judith 🙂


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