I feel like the overwhelming message of social media today is something along the lines of OH MY GOODNESS WHAT IS EVEN HAPPENING IN THE WORLD AND WHY ARE THERE SO MANY PEOPLE IN THE GROCERY STORE TODAY?! To which I reply in a gravelly, seasoned- by- life voice “Uh, it’s the day before a holiday. A holiday that stores still universally shut down for” and then I keep hypothetically rocking on my front porch while shaking my head at the misguided youth of America (even though I still have a toe in that community).
To be helpful instead of spiteful I have compiled a quick list of no-fly or “no-buy” in this instance, times of the grocery store so as not to leave with a semi-permanent eye twitch. (Because let’s face it, if you are in the grocery store with any more than one child and any sort of a budget whatsoever you are leaving at least a half of a step away from being your “best self”). Here goes:
UNACCAPTABLE TIMES TO GO GROCERY SHOPPING:
1) THE DAY BEFORE A HOLIDAY
This seems self-explanatory but I will indulge you. I am a home cook. That means that although I have no formal culinary training, I take responsibility for feeding my family almost every night. Traditionally, I make at the very least two meals each day but since we have had children that number has exploded exponentially with the addition of “snacks” which now means I offer two to eleventy-seven options per person per day. Heretofore, I am no stranger to the grocery store, because guess what? EVERY SINGLE DAY HUMANS LIKE TO EAT. And I facilitate that need for four humans per day. Yes, my husband is a grown man. Yes, he can handle tackling his own food. And Yes, I still generally handle it for him because I love him and simply, I want to. It is no surprise to me that after dawn breaks, I will need food to feed everyone in our house, therefore I routinely grocery shop. However, there are people who only do this on special occasions, such as holidays, or the days literally just before a holiday which means EVERYONE WHO SPENDS LITTLE TO NO TIME IN THE GROCERY STORE WILL BE TRYING TO NAVIGATE THE AISLES THEY ARE INNATELY UNFAMILAR WITH. You need a tomato and a small jar of Montreal seasoning? Guess what? You aren’t going anywhere anytime soon because there are seventeen people in produce on phones asking some remote person to google how many cloves of garlic they need for Nana’s famous garlic smashed red potatoes. That Montreal? Ha! It happens to be on the same spot as ALL THE SEASONING where everyone who has resisted seasoning anything ever has decided to camp out while they watch TASTY videos on Facebook and try to remember how to make a standing rib roast rub.
2) THE DAY OF A HOLIDAY
(see above buuut) Legitimate grocery stores know better than to stay open on this day. Which means you will be doing all of the above however you will be doing it from the comfort of three places. 1) the dollar store – only they won’t have Montreal Seasoning (or fresh tomatoes) so you will end up buying Shmontreal seasoning that unfortunately doesn’t contain cracked pepper or course sea salt and that caprese salad you wanted to make with fresh mozzarella and heirloom tomatoes will turn into chips and queso (a lovely accompaniment to Nana’s garlic smashed red potatoes I am sure) because you will only be able to scrounge up diced canned tomatoes and an off brand block of Velveeta cheese. 2) Walgreens – this is a step up from the dollar store which only means that most people will look there first for the Shmontreal seasoning, diced tomatoes and Velveeta cheese. If by chance the store has not been cleared out of such goods, you will end up paying $27.15 for those three items. Or 3) my personal badge of last minute shame – the Gas station. Here you will find neither Shmontreal seasoning nor diced tomatoes but will end up buying a bottle of Kraft Italian dressing as a substitute marinade for Dad’s famous roast as well as pork rinds and canned chee-Z sauce to be served as an appetizer. (I am not judging here, but if you find yourself at this juncture, feel free to buy a quart or two of malt liquor, because I am pretty sure you will find that alliances have been severed when you return home…).
3) THE DAY AFTER A HOLIDAY
Those who coupon with a capital C will mow you down if they feel you stand between them and their next seventy-five percent off. You may be out for a gallon of milk or some other actual necessity but they see you as one thing; a hindrance that is encroaching on the quest to score Mariah Carey body spay (SPRING FLING EDITION!) for the ultra-low price of $4.99. Skip this and pour water in your kids’ cereal for one day – they will survive.
Do yourself a favor. Buy a calendar. Look at it. Note the holidays. Even if you are spiritual/non-religious. This will come in handy so that you never have to look at the gas station the way I do.