There was a time in my life when, if someone gave me the choice of amputating my arm or going grocery shopping, I very likely would have picked the amputation. No one ever made me this offer so I continued to grocery shop.
Grocery shopping was overwhelming even before kids; with all the choices and sales, but once I threw kids into the mix it was downright awful.
There were the typical fights about who got to sit in the cart and the constant nagging on my part for all the parties involved to stay out of the way so I didn’t run anyone over. When my son was three he hoisted himself up to look down into a meat case and fell in. Yes, only his kicking feet were viewable as the rest of his body lay on a clump of packaged hamburger deep down at the bottom. There have always been many dinner suggestions as we stroll down the aisles…either things I don’t want to make, don’t know how to make or things we can’t afford. My favorite expeditions were when my now 5 year old son was 2. He wanted me to steer the cart so I hit every gray tile that was sporadically spread around the store. This was not an easy task unless you wanted to zig ten feet one way and zag 3 feet another way. I wasn’t going to do it and it always ended up in a screaming, howling tantrum that led everyone in the store to just stop and stare. I knew they all thought I had denied him a box of cookies when in fact it was over a GRAY SQUARE.
There’s a grocery store in my town called Festival Foods that offers a free supervised play area. You can drop your kids off and pick them up when you’re done shopping. In theory, it sounded great but when I went there the prices were higher than Wal-mart or Aldi. Our family of five lives on a monthly grocery budget of $300-$350…so every penny counts. They had coupons at the door but it seemed a daunting task to read the sales and scavenger my way through the store. They have an amazing produce, meat and bakery section so I usually only shopped there when I needed some good meat or their delicious croissants.
That is until I discovered their website! Every Sunday they post their new sale items. All you have to do is click on any of the items you want and it automatically makes a shopping list for you that is printable and well organized. By only buying the food that is on sale I have managed to keep us in that $300-$350 monthly budget and get quality food. No, we are not eating like kings on this budget but we get plenty of healthy things like fruit (grapes were recently $.29 lb.), vegetables (sweet corn was $.10 an ear this week), dairy products (butter was $1.29 this week) good quality meat (fresh chicken breasts for $2.48 a pound) and our cupboards are overflowing!
Everyone at this store is really nice too! Not like a forced customer service friendly either. They are sincerely nice. They smile. If you can’t find something they actually bring you to it instead of pointing. They stop and chat with you. They remember my name and my kid’s names. These are the kind of people you wouldn’t mind sitting down and having a cup of coffee with. (I’ve considered making voodoo dolls for some of the store employees I’ve encountered at other shopping centers!)
The beauty of it all lies in the supervised play area called Tot Spot. Now when I announce that we’re going grocery shopping the kids scream with delight! They love it there and all the girls who work in the play area are really good with the kids. My kids are especially fond of Mandy who plays games with them, taught them how to play dominoes and today let my almost 2 year color with markers for the first time in his life. She sat with him and taught him how to put the caps back on!
My husband and I used to utilize this service on Friday night and call it “date night.” We could stroll the aisles in peace and talk to each other without interruption. That is until my husband became a liability and began sneaking packages of Oreos and beef sticks into the cart and I would find his face pressed against the glass containing the king crab legs.
Now I do my grocery shopping during the day when he is at work. It is safer this way. I get the groceries on the list, get some quiet time to myself and can relax knowing that I don’t have to worry about one of my kids knocking down a display or getting run over by my cart! Today if someone made me the offer to amputate my arm or go grocery shopping I would definitely pick grocery shopping! Thank you Festival Foods for making my life so much better!