Grocery Shopping with Grace

Do you hate grocery shopping as much as I do?  I hate dragging three reluctant children through the store, trying to find the best deals to save our family money, while simultaneously entertaining and keeping track of the kids.  It’s one of my least favorite tasks in my vocation as a homemaker.  But recently, I realize I’ve gotten better at it.  Now it probably helps that my older children are in school and my youngest is a great shopper, but I also think that I’ve come to peace about the job that needs to be done.  I don’t dread it as much as I used to.  Here are some tricks that I used when my children were younger to keep them entertained and in check, while making your trip as fast and efficient as possible.

grocery shopping

  1. Go as early as you can manage it.  Parking places are easier to find, there aren’t as many customers, and the lines are much shorter.
  2. Sing songs and nursery rhymes along the way.  Who knew that Old MacDonald and Baa Baa Black Sheep could be so entertaining!
  3. Play the Beep beep game.  Every time we saw a baby, we said “Beep beep.”  We tried to make it a game to see who saw the baby first!
  4. We had a rule to help the kids from wandering off.  They weren’t allowed to walk outside of the cart until they were 4.  We are soooo mean!  But they didn’t really know any different.
  5. I also let one of my kids sit in the body of the cart and organize all the groceries as I put them in.
  6. Sometimes, we would pretend that I couldn’t actually touch the groceries, but that I could point to them and the older child got to put it in the cart.
  7. When the children got a little older, I made lists that they were in charge of.    They had to pick out certain cereals or snacks or fruits and vegetable.  For the ones who couldn’t read yet, we cut out pictures of the products or drew pictures to show what we needed.

Once when I was pre-kids, I saw a mom and daughter shopping together.  Her daughter wanted to ask her a question, so she said “Mommy…….Mommy…….Mommy….Mommy..Mommy!”  I couldn’t figure out why the mom didn’t answer, but now I get it!  She was simply trying to finish a thought!  It wasn’t that she didn’t want to answer her beloved little sweetie, but she was trying to decide which product was actually cheaper and couldn’t do that and respond the exact second that her daughter wanted her attention!

It’s tough to juggle both kids and efficient shopping!  Now that I shop with just my youngest, we spend our whole time chattering.  I try not to ignore her questions but rather engage her in my shopping reasoning.  “We need to buy some cereal right there, but let’s get the bigger box because it’s actually less expensive if we get a little more.  And I know that you’ll eat it!”  You get the idea.

One last thing about grocery shopping – the interaction with other customers and cashiers.  Many times, I feel like I am getting dirty looks from other customers.  And I feel like those looks are frustration with me or my children for being in their way or their chattery nature.  But I have to remind myself that perhaps they are actually having a bad day, stressing about problems in their own lives and they barely notice me and my shopping crew.  So to test that theory out, I have just smiled at them or said a polite word or two.  And nine times out of ten, they smile and interact back.  This has inspired the smile collecting game that my kids and I play sometimes.  We have talked about giving a smile to someone nearly always makes them give a smile back.  So we count up how many smiles we can collect on a shopping trip.  Who can’t resist a four-year-old’s smile?

And those poor cashiers, they must become exhausted being on their feet and cheerfully greeting everyone that comes through!  I have found the occasional disgruntled employee who sighs or makes a comment as I roll my full shopping cart and crew up to their register.  Once I even offered to go somewhere else because she seemed so disgruntled!   But then we began to chat with our cashiers on a regular basis and being truly interested in their lives.  That’s how we found our beloved Miss Debbie.  She is always kind and happy to see us and it truly makes the end of the shopping trip a joy rather than a painful chore.  Hopefully, you can find someone like that to make your life a little easier, but even more, maybe you can give that joy to someone that you encounter!

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