I had thought that tonight I might write one of the meaty posts that I've been wanting to write. But then I saw the news of threats being made on the Mizzou campus, and my heart hurts too much for those college kids to engage my brain to write the post I had in mind.
But I still feel like writing, so I'm going to write about grocery shopping instead. This is sort of the opposite of a meaty post. Except I do buy meat at the grocery store (even though I have one of the best specialty butchers in the city in my neighborhood... sorry, I'm just not that into meat to make a special trip).
We currently get our groceries from three sources. We buy my husband's preferred cheese and cereal, Petunia's strawberry bars, the dried bananas and mangos that Pumpkin likes, and a bunch of wine at Trader Joes. Mr. Snarky goes on Friday night about once a month. He goes on Friday night because our closest Trader Joes is in one of the party parts of town where most of the residents are college kids and other young adults who definitely do not spend their Friday nights at the grocery store. We buy the kids' preferred cereal, applesauce, graham crackers, various fruit snack things that are really candy, beer, more wine, kleenex, toilet paper, and random other things that make sense to buy in bulk at Costco. Mr. Snarky also does this shopping about once a month, because I cannot stand shopping in Costco on the weekend. It makes me hate people. I start to fantasize about running people down with my double-wide Costco shopping cart.
We buy everything else at our neighborhood grocery story, which happens to be one of two stores in a small local chain and not one of the big chains. I'll be honest, if the store down the street from me was one of the big chains, I'd shop there. I clearly prioritize closeness over quality, because our store often runs out of things and doesn't restock until some other similar thing also runs low. For instance, Mr. Snarky likes white grapefruit juice. Our store hasn't had that for the last three weeks. They are making us run down their stock of pink grapefruit juice before they stock more white grapefruit juice. We complain and joke about this, but still do our shopping there. I like to think of it as doing our part to fight food waste. I do this shopping, and I go every Sunday.
As I was checking out this Sunday, the cashier noted that I was alone. One or both of the kids often come with me. I prefer to go alone, but as with many things in my life right now, sometimes my preferences aren't the most important consideration when making a decision.
The cashier and I chatted a bit about how getting to do the grocery shopping alone is a bit of a treat. As I loaded the groceries into my car, I thought back to when I was a kid, when going to the grocery store with my mom was a bit of a treat. I wonder why kids like going to grocery stores so much? I don't hate it (except for Costco on the weekends), but I don't love it like my kids do.
Then, for some reason, I thought back to the first period in my life when I did my own grocery shopping. It was in college. My first two years, I lived in one of the dorms that was not on the main campus. There was a communal kitchen. You could pay a small fee and rent a locker so that you could store pots and pans and food that didn't need to be refrigerated. I also had a small fridge in my room. The closest grocery store was a co-op. I became a member, because that got me a discount on my groceries. Very few students had cars, so we all bought the wire carts that we called granny carts. You could get four full paper bags of groceries in one, if you had the space to store all that food (most of us didn't). I think I went to the store once every couple of weeks. Sometimes I went even if I didn't need anything, just to be with a friend or two and take a break from studying. I ate a lot of meals at the dining hall assigned to us on campus, but often made my own dinner because I couldn't be bothered going back to campus once I was home. And yes, I very clearly thought of my residence hall as my home.
That thought has stayed with me this week, as people have been debating the events at Yale and Mizzou. Campus is a school and a place of work for some. It is a space for learning. It is also home to a bunch of young people, most of whom are out on their own for their first time, trying to become adults. I wish we'd remember that more.
And that's as close to a serious topic as I care to go tonight. Tell me about your grocery shopping routine in the comments. Did you think of grocery shopping as a treat when you were a kid? Is this some sort of weird universal kid thing?