A few important (to me) rules for the grocery store

Going to the grocery store may seem like a simple exercise, but there are several rules that should be followed in order to make the most of your shopping experience.

If you’re like me (and why wouldn’t you be?), you want to get in and out of the store in a reasonable amount of time while picking up everything you need. I generally make pretty good time in the store, so I thought I should share some of my tips here with you.

I don’t want to brag, but I have been known to shop at speeds as high as 30 aisles per hour!

I should also add that my family members don’t necessarily agree with these rules and in fact think some are wrong. They, however, will have to get their own blogs if they want to explain their rules.

So here are a few rules that I hope will improve your shopping experience so much that you will be inspired to tell my family members that I am right.

Entering the store – This may seem simple, but I can’t tell you how often I see people entering through the exit door. My stepdaughter often exits through the enter door, too. It’s a clear sign of teenage rebellion! I tell her and other family members that they are just asking for trouble by going through the incorrect doors and will no doubt get into some cart accident in the future. My friend Scott will stop and stare up at the exit/enter signs when he sees people going through the incorrect doorways.

Don’t shop if you are hungry or thirsty– This is obvious, but you end up purchasing too many food items. I bought three packages of ice cream at the store recently because I was hungry and thirsty at the same time.

supermarket-674474_960_720Shopping in order – It’s important to have a plan for the grocery store so that you start on one end and go through the aisles in the most efficient manner. You don’t want to get thrown off by the side or back aisles that run perpendicular to the main aisles, because that will slow your pace and sometimes cause you to skip aisles. This is a significant problem with some family members, as well as other people I see in the store who, like my family members, are not always receptive to my shopping tips.

Don’t shop if you are hot – I bought three fans at the store one summer when I was shopping while hot.

Carts belong on the right side of the aisle – It’s just like on the road, although it is easy to get stuck on the left side. I imagine that in countries where they drive on the left side, the grocery carts belong on the left side of the aisle.

Lists should only be used if the items are organized in the order of the store – I hate grocery store lists because they always slow me down. If I would take the time to write the list and then rewrite it in order of the aisles of the store, then it would be helpful. Currently, I always think I am smart enough to just remember what I need as I go through every aisle, but I am always wrong and end having to go back to the store a second time.

Don’t shop while you have to go to the bathroom – You’ll end up buying way too much toilet paper. On the plus side, it will help you shop more quickly.

Eating food as you go through the store – Many people will eat grapes, drink from water bottles and indulge in other food/drink items as they go through the store. I actually think this is ok to a point, but I can’t eat more than one or two grapes. Back when I worked in a store, I ate grapes, apples, cashews and all kinds of items, but I considered that to be quality control. As a shopper, I have a hard time eating the food before I pay for it. Is it ok to open up a box of cereal and eat a few pieces of it and then decide if I like it or not? Isn’t that the same thing with testing fruit? Can I eat ice cream as I go through the store if I’m hungry? I’m torn over this, but if you follow the rule of not shopping while you are hungry or thirsty, you won’t have to worry about this anyway.

The best parking spaces are those that you can pull through so that you can drive out easily – I hate driving in parking lots and will gladly walk a little further just so that I have an easier time getting out of the parking space. My family members are not huge fans of this rule, but my son Ben now follows the rule when he shops. I am a proud father.

Don’t shop if you are sleepy – You’ll buy way too much coffee.

grocery-store-2619380_960_720Putting items back – If you pick up an item and later decide you don’t want it, it’s not ok to just put it on the nearest shelf. I prefer to put the item back in the correct place because I am not an anarchist. If you can’t get it close to where it belongs, then please at least give the item to an employee. Don’t just put ice cream with the coffee!

Packages of paper towels or toilet paper should be thrown over your head to the person driving the cart behind you – This has been a rule in my family for many, many years now.

Keep the shelves looking nice – If the shelf is full of items and all of the items are pulled to the front, then when you take an item for your cart, at least consider pulling the item behind it up to the front in order to keep the shelf looking nice. If the shelves are not full, then it doesn’t matter. Some may say it doesn’t matter anyway (and they are probably right ), but I spent way too much time as a grocery store employee pulling items to the front or “facing the shelves,” as they called it back then, so I sometimes find myself doing this today. That’s normal, right?

Help out when you can – If someone can’t reach an item on the top shelf, please see if you can reach it for the shopper. My family members are much better than me at this. And when an employee helps you, be sure to say thank you and talk with the person. My stepdaughter always opens the bags for the cashiers so that they can put the items in the bags more easily. This makes me very proud, even though I often forget to do it myself. Of course, at this time in the shopping experience I am usually obsessing over how to best arrange the bags in the shopping cart.

Don’t shop when you are sweaty, stinky or grumpy– No one wants to be around you then.

Do you have any rules you want to add? Feel free to comment below. Thanks!

21 thoughts on “A few important (to me) rules for the grocery store

    1. Hey John! I have done that before, but it has been a while since I have had that dream. Usually I am late to work or the grocery store work is too busy or something like that. It’s funny that you have nightmares about working at McDonald’s.


  1. I paid $76 for what was supposed to be 4 bottles of Kumbucha at Trader Joe’s this evening because I’d attended a whiskey club meeting before grocery shopping. So, perhaps a good rule is don’t go grocery shopping after attending whiskey club meetings.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’d do a combination of some rules.
    Don’t go to the supermarket when you’re hot and thirsty or cold and hungry. In the first case you might buy too many soft drinks or ice cream (as you said) and maybe a couple of fans. In the second case you find yourself with too much chocolate, some boxes of biscuits, tins of corned beef, a wide variety of teas, and who knows what else you wouldn’t normally buy (except for the chocolate).

    Also: Start with shampoos, soaps, toilet paper etc on the upper floor, then work your way down to the ground floor for food (and chocolate), then move towards the cashiers and out into the real world. Loading your cart on the ground floor and carrying it upstairs and then downstairs again shows a lack of logic.

    It’s okay if you hum that catchy little tune that plays in the supermarket and, no matter what the words are, its message is ‘you’re happy when you buy, and when you buy you’re happy’. As long as you don’t buy.

    I’ve never thrown toilet paper over my head. Maybe I should start.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Those are outstanding rules, thanks! I had not thought about the music in the grocery store, but that makes sense that they want you to be happy and buy a lot. Also, most of our grocery stores are all on one floor. It’s interesting that where you live you are going upstairs and downstairs. You should definitely try the toilet paper throw, too. It makes shopping much more fun.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’d like it to be in slow motion, with ‘Dear Prudence’ playing (SIouxsie and the Banshees version), and while I toss the paper everyone around gets also very happy and start tossing things at each other, and the security and staff join us, and finally the owner gives pay raises to everyone and says we don’t have to pay for anything. Then we all go for coffee together and it all becomes one of those days you never forget.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Go food shopping by yourself. My husband has come with me and it takes 3 times as long. I leave him in the cereal aisle and do the rest of the shopping and go back to pick him up. I have worked in all types of retail so I fix displays and size racks while shopping, will keep in mind the tip about facing shelves.Try to avoid shopping on weekends; wives send the kids and dads shopping, heard more kids explaining to Dad that they are not buying what Mom buys or sure Dad Mom says we can have this!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks, and those are great suggestions! I love you how leave your husband in the cereal aisle while you are shopping. I do need to avoid weekend shopping, too, it would be a lot easier shopping during the week. Thanks again.

      Liked by 1 person

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