Sticking to My List (Maybe)
How many times has the lure of the grocery store caused you to buy everything in sight?
My friend, Ann, said that she went to the store for chips and milk, but ended up spending $120. It started a whole discussion from several women who reported the same thing. I can’t tell you how happy I was to know that I’m not the only woman to suffer from this condition.
I excel in keeping a list of things we’ve run out of; I even bought neon-colored paper so that the list would be noticeable. I’m proud to say I have rarely left the house without it. Unfortunately, the problem isn’t taking it; it’s keeping it and sticking to the items on it.
After watching TLC’s “Extreme Couponing,” I decided my next trip to the grocery store was going to be well-planned and thought out. My goal was to collect and clip coupons to put in an organizer. I resolved to go through grocery stores’ flyers to determine which store had the most sales to match the coupons I had.
I also planned to eat a good breakfast, because you should never go to the grocery store hungry. I’d then gather my list, coupons, check book and head out the door to reap the benefits of thrifty coupon savings.
Sadly, here’s what actually happened.
I woke up late because I’d been on Facebook until 2 a.m. I wish I could report that my friends and I were discussing something important, like brokering peace in the Middle East. Sadly, our discussion was about the best restaurant within a 30-mile radius. The talk of food reminded me that I hadn’t checked the weekly circulars, but I figured I could do it before my trip the next day.
Regrettably, I hadn’t taken into account that I would be running late. By the time I was dressed, checked my emails and touched base with my Facebook pals, it was almost 1 p.m. Frantically, I tried to locate the local sales flyers but they were already lining the ferret’s cage.
Instead of clipping coupons as I’d planed, I’d gotten distracted by photos of animals up for adoption at a new animal shelter. I knew I could go online to get some, but a quick glance at my watch told me that I needed to get going if we were going to have something to eat that didn’t revolve around Girl Scout cookies, canned soup, and stale bread.
I grabbed my list, checked to be sure my wallet was in my purse, when I realized I hadn’t eaten anything. Not wanting to break my cardinal rule of going to the store hungry (yeah, THAT’S the rule I won’t break), I grabbed a handful of Thin Mints and a bottle of water. I figured that if doughnuts were considered breakfast food, Thin Mints would do in a pinch.
First up, the produce section. As I was buying peppers and onions, I noticed that strawberries were buy one, get one free. Not wanting to pass that bargain up, I put them in my cart.
I passed the salad bar on my way to the deli for lunch meat when I noticed they had marinated mozzarella and tomatoes. I’d planned to have spaghetti with salad for dinner that night; what could be a more perfect addition than mozzarella? I scooped out a container and added that to my cart.
I got to the canned goods aisle, and suddenly realized I couldn’t find my bright pink list. I rifled through the items in my cart, but it was nowhere to be found. I stood there with my mouth agape, staring at can after can, knowing that among them was something I needed. Since I use a lot of canned goods, I reasoned that I’d buy things that I normally use and loaded my cart. Aisle after aisle, I stared at hundreds of products, not remembering what was on my list but throwing items in the cart.
Over at the meats section, turkey breast was on sale, which my family loves no matter what time of the year. I grabbed a few, and then remembered that I’d better get stuffing. I turned around and got that. But what if I didn’t have time to make gravy? I went down that aisle and grabbed a jar or two. I started to head back to get the ground beef and sausage we needed for that night’s spaghetti sauce, when I remembered cranberries. I went back after them as well.
Nearing the frozen goods section, there was a nice lady handing out micro-waved samples of some type of bagel pizza. My stomach had begun to growl, so I gladly accepted the free sample and accompanying coupon. Thinking it was pretty good for frozen pizza, and justifying it because it came with a coupon, I tossed a few boxes in the cart.
By the time I headed to check out, it was almost 3:30 and my cart was so full I was concerned it would tip over when rounding corners. I got my wallet out of my purse, and realized I had used the last check at the dentist and forgot to replenish it. I had to use my credit card, knowing Matt’s head would explode once he saw the bill.
I got home and began to put my haul away, when I spotted it – my bright pink grocery list; it was wedged under the marinated mozzarella. I couldn’t bring myself to go through it, as I was fairly sure there wasn’t anything on it I didn’t blindly buy.
Later, as I begin to assemble ingredients for that nights’ dinner, I realized that I had, in fact, failed to buy the most important ingredient and the main reason I’d gone to the store in the first place: Spaghetti.
Thank goodness for micro-wave bagel pizza.