I hate grocery shopping

I hate grocery shopping. And so does Dave. I’m not even slightly kidding.

We miss Publix, our go-to grocer in Florida (for those of you in the South, you don’t know what you have until it’s gone, so cherish those Publix trips). There was something about Publix that always made shopping a pleasure …

These days, we dread the weekly grocery store trip. We go on Saturday or Sunday and do one big load. We go to Safeway and not because we love it. It’s not all that easy to get to, and the parking garage is tight. And the aisles are so narrow that more than one cart cannot pass through. If you stop even for one second, someone will give you a look like you are in their way.

While there is a small Trader Joe’s in walking distance from our apartment, we get way too much stuff to get through the week and don’t want to carry it all by hand. Thus, our weekly Safeway hauls continue.

When we walk into Safeway and the cart area is empty, we just look at each other and grumble: “ugh,” knowing it’s going to be bad.

There isn’t a time that it isn’t busy. We’ve tried going at all hours of the day, even on Friday nights. We’ve tried other Safeways further away, but it’s the same thing.

Go prepared, leave happier

But the good thing is, I’ve been much better about showing up with a list and getting new things.

It’s important to be prepared. When you walk into the store in a defeated rush, you’re bound to settle and get the same things over and over. That’s why I was in a food rut for so long and would just pile boxes of protein bars, pre-made stir-fry meals and sandwich fixings in the cart, when I should have been staying on the perimeter of the store where the healthier fare is located.

These days our cart is full of much more fresh produce, because we take the time to discuss some potential new recipes before going, and I write down the ingredients we’ll need. (For more on my food journey, head on over to the growing Food page.)

Our grocery trip staples include apples, bananas, kale, spinach, blueberries, peppers, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, nuts, chicken, salsa, fish (a new addition since I debuted an easy fish recipe), whole wheat pasta and pasta sauce, as well as eggs, three different kinds of milk, Greek yogurt, oats and so on.

It’s about four big bags and a backpack full, and this is what it looks like most of the time …

Grocery shopping

Yes, I set it all out for that photo. It’s like a piece of art, right?

Safeway actually has a grocery delivery service, in which you can store a listing of your favorite items online. However, you have to pay for it, and of course, I’m just too frugal for that.

The low-down on City grocery shopping

Here are some fun facts about grocery shopping in San Francisco, which I’d imagine apply to some other large cities too.

  • You have to bring your own bags or pay 10 cents per bag. It’s a city-wide law for all retail stores and restaurants.
  • Fruit and produce is better in California. I’m not sure why, but it just is. And much of it is locally-sourced, which I really enjoy.
  • Like everything else, items in San Francisco grocery stores are more expensive than other places.
  • The stores are always busy.
  • The stores are small and cramped.
  • The stores always run out of things.
  • The stores don’t always stock the same items.
  • There are no BOGO bins welcoming you when you enter like there were in Publix.

And then there were stairs

In addition to the fun of the actual shopping, Dave and I have the added enjoyable activity of lugging all of the bags up several flights of stairs. While our building does have elevators, we park on the lowest level, which isn’t fully accessible by an elevator. Therefore, once we enter the stairwell with full hands, we usually just keep trekking up the four flights until we are both breathless when we arrive on our floor. It’s always the icing-on-the-grocery-shopping-cake to haul up the stuff once it’s been bought.

There you have it.

Grocery shopping is a major pain in the you-know-what, but it’s also an essential part of healthy living to make fresh meals at home.

Guess it’s always been a fact of life that you’ve got to spend time foraging for your sustenance.

Alright friends, it’s Saturday morning, so I’m off to teach BODYATTACK. I hope your day is fabulous.

Questions of the day

Do you like to grocery shop? What’s your store of choice? For those of you out there that still have Publix, do you know how good you have it?

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  1. I too find grocery shopping in SF completely stressful. I split it up between Target and Whole Foods, which are both walking distance from my apartment. I used to do the Safeway delivery, but they were always out of some staple, and you could never check out the produce quality in advance. So now I haul 2 heavy bags plus maybe a backpack between the farmer’s market, Whole Foods, and Target every Saturday, with maybe a monthly Costco run. Shopping at a suburb Safeway was definitely easier, but I wouldn’t trade living in the city for ease of grocery shopping 🙂

    1. Hi Emily,

      I know, I know. There are some difficult things that come along with city living, but there are also so many benefits that it all works out. I’m soaking up my urban living, because I know I won’t want to do it forever.

      But hey, at least hauling your groceries is a good workout. 🙂


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