I’m hugely proud of my grocery list system. I’ve worked on it for many years, evolving it into a highly refined state. It’s time to offer it to the world. Behold The Hines Household Grocery List!
Now, the main use of this list is for my weekly shopping expedition. I’m the designated grocery hunter. I bring back the bulk of the supplies. My goal is to get everything on the list and to waste little time on getting anything that isn’t on the list. Fast and efficient, that’s me in the grocery store.
(See “Moral angst in the grocery store.”)
My wife, Laurel, is the grocery gatherer. She likes to wander around a store looking for interesting new items. To me, that’s an appalling idea. I’ve got better things to do with my life than shop. Like, spending an hour on my laptop writing a blog post about shopping.
This list is in a three-column Word document format. It’s divided between the two stores that I mostly shop at: LifeSource Natural Foods and Fred Meyer. Items in each area are arranged roughly by aisle.
I say “roughly,” because fairly recently both of the stores chose to disrupt my grocery shopping system by remodeling. I had to go through an agonizing period of reshuffling the items into new aisle groupings. Believe me, retirement isn’t stress free.
What’s on the list are our frequently bought items. The bold faced items are generally bought every week. Note the brilliance of my system—how much time it saves. Most of the 1000 discarded grocery lists featured at grocerylists.org are handwritten.
People still living in the dark ages of grocery shopping simply write down what they need, and then go buy it. Yet it’s quicker to circle a regularly-bought item than to write it out. Plus, with the bold faced items, not even circling is required.
However, it pains me to note that a system is only as good as those making use of it. Even though I have instructed Laurel in the Hines Household Grocery List system, she persists in doing her own thing with it. If I die prematurely of a heart attack, this will be the reason.
For example, observe how the first six bold faced items on the LifeSource list are circled. I’m quite sure that is not my doing. The “Fuji (a few)” by Apples is in Laurel’s writing. And is totally acceptable as a clarifying comment, though my focused grocery hunting brain prefers unequivocal instructions such as “(4)” rather than “(a few).”
What isn’t acceptable is the “Butter Buds” written in at the bottom of the Fred Meyer section. Blank spaces on the list are for additional items not on the list. Additional! About a third of the way up the Fred Meyer list you can clearly see “Butter buds.”
It drives me crazy, absolutely insane, to get to the last Fred Meyer aisle, plunk salad mix (broccoli slaw) into the shopping cart, then glance down and see something written in that should have been circled on the list. As I roll my way back to the butter bud aisle, I feel astoundingly sorry for myself.
Of course, I guess I could have glanced at the bottom at the list to see what was there when I entered the store. But I enjoy feeling like a grocery shopper martyr.
Invariably, when I get home and shake the list in Laurel’s face, demanding to know how such a travesty could happen, she shrugs her shoulders and says, “I looked for butter buds but couldn’t find it. So I just wrote it down.”
This is, admittedly, a drawback of my system. The items aren’t arranged in alphabetical order, but by aisle. Some time ago I used to use a grocery list on a Palm Pilot that, if I recall correctly, could reshuffle the alphabetical list into aisle by aisle order. It was cool.
However, it was excessively techno-geeky for me. I could sense that other shoppers were thinking, “Look at that doofus using his Palm Pilot while he’s shopping.” Nowadays most people are talking at their cell phones, so I’d fit in much better.
Well, I think I’ve covered most of my grocery list bases. It isn’t copyrighted, and I don’t expect royalties if you use a modified version. Nonetheless, feel free to leave me in your will if you start using this shopping system and find that it changes your life for the better. As it will.
I was excited to see that grocerylists.org says that it is missing a list from Oregon. I’m just about to email my list off. It may end up in a book! My grocery shopper’s heart is fluttering.
See you at LifeSource or Fred Meyer. I’m the graying guy with an 8 1/2 X 11 well-organized shopping list in his hand, looking superior at the check out counter.