The Grocery Shopping Festival

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.

Festival Foods Grocery Store

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!

Iris, Bency and Cesar in Tot Spot

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!

Close to the front parking for moms with infants. How nice is that? I love all the little details they’ve put in to make this such a great store!

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23 responses

  1. Sounds like an awesome store. Another alternative: online shopping. I’ve been using the online shopping and curbside pick-up service since it finally became available at a grocery store (which happens to be the one I go to) in our community. I had waited and waited for this exciting innovation to come to our small town. Years passed, and I had given up hope when, finally, it was introduced about six months ago. It’s pretty cool — not only convenient, but I feel as though I do save money. You can easily see what’s on sale in each food category as you make your online grocery list, and impulse buying is not an issue. There is just a small fee for the service ($5.00, but it can be less if you commit to a full-month of online shopping, and they are always giving deals or waiving the fee). Even though my kids are now old enough to stay at home alone while I go grocery shopping, I just resent the time/ effort on a weekend. I dread it and put it off. So this has been good for me!

  2. Ok this is TOTALLY awesome!! I’ve actually started doing my grocery shoping at H.E.B (which i loooove…after being converted from a long time shopping relationship w/ WalMart) lol But I started going at 10pm (with my sister) No kids (they are sleeping), No hubby calling me every 10 minutes because he’s with the kids, and NO CRAZY PEOPLE! There is a lot less people grocery shopping at 10 at night on a Friday night vs. Sunday afternoon!l lol The ONLY drawback is that they are stocking, HOWEVER i’ve used it for my advantage and they guys are actually very helpful in finding things! They are starting to know us by name and joke around with us when we go no! 🙂 The coolest thing our grocery store offers tho is Valet for your Groceries! You get a number and they put a matching number on your cart, and you go to the car and pull it around to the front and they load your groceries in the car! I’m really thinking that this Festival Grocery Store is Women Owned! lol Only a women would be so brilliant to come up with such a thing! 🙂 Only a man would come up with this idea if they were tired of “babysitting” while we went to thr grocery store and wanted a way for us to the kiddos so they can watch the Ballgame without being interrrupted and us still be happy while at the grocery store! lol 🙂

    • haha!! That’s awesome! Great idea! I guess I never considered shopping that late at night because I’m usually asleep by then but at least you have a partner in crime…that’s got to be a lot more fun! Festival has valet too when you have more than one shopping cart full which is happening to me more and more often! They load up my van with the groceries and everything…so nice being pampered sometimes!!!

  3. total genius! i’m so glad you found a way to take advantage of this place. and here’s a sneak preview for you…when all the kids are in school full time? Monday morning grocery shopping all. by. yourself! There is never anybody there and all the produce is fresh because they restocked it from the weekend madness. I can’t wait for September 6th!!!

  4. I miss living in an area where there was parking real close for moms-to-be and moms with infants. I used to take advantage of all of that when my daughter was young before we moved away. We went to a grocery store with a play area for the kids once too. That was great. My best friend and I could shop while she played peacefully out of our way. She was never a hassle to go shopping with, but sometimes she would beg for things that were out of the budget. I almost wish stores like that would be everywhere.

    Now with my family of six, we’ve seemed to find some sense of balance with shopping. I still can’t take my partner with me because, much like yours, he’ll be plastered to the seafood cooler, looking at sushi, shrimp, and other things that are out of our budget. He’s also been caught sneaking beef jerky into the cart, or Oreos. He’s really bad about all of those things. I can’t wait until we have a car again so it’ll just be me and the kids!

  5. I’ve heard that when you add items to your shopping list online that the items go on your list in the order that they are in the store….. majorly cuts down on time if you’re not familiar with the aisle layouts!!

    • For the most part they do so it’s really helpful and cuts down on a lot of time spent searching for stuff. Plus they put a lot of their ad items right up front so when you walk in you find a good majority of them right away!

  6. Thank you for the wonderful endorsement of Festival Foods. We love helping our guests with the Tot Spot, online shopping and of course parcel pick up no matter how many carts of groceries. We appreciate you spreading the word and being a loyal Festival Foods customer. Jacque Customer Care & Social Media Manager.

  7. There was a store like that when we lived in Cleveland. I never got to use it because my oldest at the time was two and not potty trained. I could really use something like this now!

    • Oh! The nice thing about this one is they don’t have to be potty trained! They will page you over the speaker if you need to come change them or take them to the bathroom but it only happened once that I had to go and take one of the kids to the bathroom!

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