The Inconvenience Store

I am on record as a Stay-at-home Dad who isn’t a big fan of being a stay-at-home dad.

There are some things I like about it, such as spending quality one-on-one time with my son and slowly making myself his favorite parent, thus severing the sacred bond between mother and son. But everything else? Pretty much sucks.

Especially going grocery shopping with kids.

Going grocery shopping in Raleigh is vastly different than going grocery shopping in Brooklyn. For one thing, we had no car in NY. So we’d just order what we needed online and have it delivered. No muss, no fuss, no toddler grabbing things off the shelves.

Down here, though, you need a car. So we just bought one over the weekend, in a grueling five-hour bullshit session in which we totally got everything we wanted (read: a shitload more debt and nothing we wanted). So earlier today, my son and I went to the nearest Harris Teeter to do some shopping since all we have left in the fridge is turkey and congealed cranberry sauce. And stuffing with cherries in it. For the last time, woman: GET YOUR FRUIT OUT OF EVERYTHING THAT’S NOT OTHER FRUIT! Fail, stroller, kids, parenting, fathers, dads, shopping

I hate grocery shopping. Now, I hate shopping for just about everything, but going grocery shopping is its own special torture. When we actually went into a bodega or mini-grocery store in Brooklyn – I say “mini” because there simply isn’t enough real estate for the huge, sprawling stores you get in the suburbs…or in Raleigh – we just targeted the things we needed and took what they had with little fuss, mostly because with less shelf space we had fewer options. Grocery shopping outside of a city is an ordeal. It’s not an errand, it’s a Herculean task. It’s like going from shopping at Qwik-E-Mart to shopping at Monstromart.

The grocery store in my new town is enormous and overwhelming and in the South, which makes the experience even less fun than normal. I stood in the mustard aisle for ages trying to decide. It wasn’t easy; there were varieties to consider, and exotic brands, and coupons! How could I not use a coupon! (P.S. I HATE MYSELF.)

There’s just too much stuff and too many aisles and tons of housewives (how you doin’?). It’s all very confusing and very time-consuming and not fun at all. You need clarity of purpose and a good deal of endurance, and when you are pushing a carriage with a toddler mounted on it, clarity and endurance are hard to come by. All the kid does is point at, talk about and reach for the things he wants, which is everything. Which is super delightful. (I had friends in college who loved going to the grocery store stoned, which I can’t even imagine. It took me the better part of an hour just to choose a mustard, and I was dead sober! Anyway, they all went broke buying Ben and Jerry’s and cheez whiz and had to drop out.) Simpsons, cartoons, shopping, grocery store, TV, Homer, Barney, FOX, toddlers

Four hours and several hundred dollars later, I finally got home, unloaded everything while my kid was wrapped around my legs screaming for something called “strawbaloobers!!!” and then my wife got home and told me that I’d gone to the too-expensive store and forgotten several necessary ingredients.

Thankfully we now have a car. So I hopped in and was on my way back to the store when I accidentally took a wrong turn and ended up on the highway out of town.

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11 thoughts on “The Inconvenience Store

  1. Strawbaloobers! My new favourite word! As for the whole suburban/ rural grocery shopping thing, I’ve never done it in the south but I’ve done it in huge stores. You eventually get a routine and you know which isles to go for and what you need and it takes an hour or less two do two weeks worth. Promise. Just gotta get a routine first….and strawbaloobers apparently.

    1. You may be right – this was the first time I’d entered that store, so I was running around without a clue. But the prospect of learning the store well enough to shop efficiently doesn’t sound fun either. I don’t wanna go grocery shopping anymore!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. You’re doing it all wrong. Design an excel spreadsheet of the grocery, by aisle, according to the groceries you purchase (let your wife specify the brand and size). Then keep it on the refrigerator at all times and check what you need as you finish it off. This is a fool proof plan not to forget things as your kids fight and yap in your ear. Whoops – is my OCD showing?

  3. Your shopping method makes it much more of an ordeal than it needs to be. If you are in the store for hours, you are simply doing it wrong. A grocery run takes me 30 min from start the car to stuff put away. They trick is do it often. When you try and buy 2 weeks worth of groceries at once, you overload the trip. You buy lots of things you don’t need. You have lots of waste. Fatigue and frustration kick in, and it becomes something you hate. Break shopping down into many more, much smaller trips. My typical shopping list is Bacon, Lettuce, Tomatoes, bread, milk. That’s it. Enough for one or two meals. I am at the store often enough I could find this stuff blind folded, but since it’s only 10 min of shopping each time, I hardly notice. Going to the store is not an ordeal I must steel myself for.

  4. Hey DadandBuried,

    I’m a new stay-at-home-dad and a grad student. As part of a Culture & Worldview course I’m hoping to interview other stay-at-home-dads to see what they believe and if there is any correlation. I’ve turned to the internet to help find qualifying dads and came across your blog.

    Thus, I was wondering if you would be available to answer questions about what you believe (your worldview). We can use phone, skype, gmail chat, etc., so let me know if you’re available and we can schedule a time.


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