My Lovely Wife and I have been married -- to each other -- for nearly 16 years.
In almost all that time, we have perpetuated a weekly ritual of grocery shopping to keep our cupboards stocked and our fridge full. That's close to 5,800 trips to the grocery store. You might think, with all that practice, we would have perfected the process by now. After all, our staples haven't changed much and our tastes in food seem to remain constant through the years.
So why do we spend the better part of each and every Friday struggling to come up with a complete shopping list? Are we suffering some weekly recurring form of dementia? Should it really come as a surprise to us that we need to buy milk and bread?
Every Friday brings the same conversation:
"Do we need toilet paper?" she asks.
"I don't know," I say.
"Do we need orange juice?" I ask.
"I don't know," she answers.
"Do you have cereal on the list?" she asks.
"No, I don't," I say. "That's a good one."
What the hell is wrong with us? We act like someone invented breakfast since the last time we went shopping and now, like monkeys throwing rocks at the moon, we have to figure it out.
And why do I have to ask if we need orange juice? I'm the only one who drinks it! No one else in our house could possibly be more knowledgeable about how much orange juice remains in the container, yet I don't know if we need more and I expect my Lovely Wife to tell me what I should already know!
It's like we go through our week using up all of our purchased goods and sundries, and then on Friday morning -- right before we sit down to make out our list -- we take "stupid" pills. We might have just finished a five pound jar of peanut butter five minutes earlier, yet we're still going to go back and forth for ten minutes trying to figure out if we need more.
And not only do we completely forget certain essentials -- like, say, food for instance -- we overpurchase other items that have no bearing on our lives in any way, shape or form. "Honey?! Why do we have seven boxes of Snausages?" Sure, we don't have any milk for breakfast or meat for dinner, but you can be darn certain the twelve-pound poodle has enough treats to last halfway through our next dog.
That's why I am going to approach this in a way that is logical and practical -- two words not often attributed to me.
I am going to sit one night at the computer and develop a master list of items we typically need, or at least should be checking to see if we need, each week. Then we can print it out each Friday and not have to rack our brains trying to remember all of the things we use every day.
Call it "shopping for dummies."
© 2010 Mark Feggeler