Getting in/out of the store quickly

Right now, it’s so important that we are physically distancing from other people. We do have to go out sometimes though to get groceries (the most frequent reason I’m hearing people say they’re going to stores around here). When you know you’re going to the grocery store, there are a couple of things you can do that will get you in/out of the store quicker (thus limiting your exposure to other people in the store).

  1. ORDERING GROCERIES ONLINE- If you have the option, place your order online and pick it up outside the grocery store. Many places are offering this now – Kroger, Target, Sam’s Club, and Walmart let you place your orders in an app and online. I’m sure there are other grocery stores that do the same. It’s worth looking into it. This keeps you out of the grocery store altogether, and it minimizes your physical face to face contact to just one person bringing the groceries out and loading them in your trunk/truck bed.
  2. ORDERING FARM AND PET SUPPLIES ONLINE/APP/PHONE – Tractor Supply also allows online ordering and pick-up at the store; I’m not sure how it is everywhere, but here I just ordered online at their website, called the local store’s phone number when I got there, explained I’d placed an online order, and the stockboy brought it out to me. The only difference was there were no specified parking spots for pick-up; I think maybe it’s just something new or else our local store just hasn’t set those up yet. At any rate, it was as easy as any grocery store pick-up I’ve ever done. Our local feed mill allows phone orders (and always has); we pull up outside and someone loads the truck, and then we mail in payment or she runs the card over the phone.
  3. GETTING IN/OUT OF THE STORE FASTER – Make a detailed aisle by aisle list so you can get in, get what you need, and get out of there as quickly as possible!

We are going to focus on #3 in that list today. I am sure you make a grocery list (at least I hope you do – shopping without one means you’re likely to forget something important which necessitates another trip to the grocery store or you’re impulse buying which means you won’t have all the items you need to make multiple healthy meals which necessitates more frequent trips to the grocery store, and we’re trying to avoid as many of those trips as we can right now!). What I’m going to teach you today is how to make an aisle by aisle detailed list so you’re not hunting through the store to find any items. Gramma Izzie taught me years ago to make a detailed paper master list, aisle by aisle, of the grocery stores where I shopped and then use that to create my shopping trip lists. It saved me so much time, especially when I had the kids with me!

TIP: If your middle school or high school aged kids are at home and have no schoolwork provided by their district, have them follow the steps below to make the master grocery list. Kids are tech savvy anyway, and they will have this done in no time! This helps them learn this as well, and it’s an invaluable life skill to have.

First, open a spreadsheet on your computer. Label the top like this:

You can also do this in a Google doc or Word document if you don’t care for using spreadsheets. I just like spreadsheets because they’re easy to sort, filter, etc.

Second, type in every item you normally buy under the item column (one item per line). As you do it, try to do a walk through of the grocery store in your head in the way you’d normally shop, starting right at the front door and going through the aisles in the direction you normally flow. Try to think about going through each aisle only one time. This will help you fill in the items. Remember, you’re listing every possible item you MIGHT want to buy at the grocery store as this is a master list, not a list for your next shopping trip.

Third, open the grocery store’s website or app. Start typing in your items, one by one, and look at where in the store (aisle number) the site/app says the item is located. Many sites/apps now also say if the item is in stock, limited quantities, or out of stock. Fill in that info for each item. Fill in the QUANTITY with how many you want to buy so you’re not even thinking about it once you get inside the store.

Fourth, look at the WHERE column and fill that in however you will best remember it. For instance, the printer paper in our Walmart is in two different aisles in front of the television/video game section of the store. My row for printer paper looks like this on my spreadsheet to help me remember exactly where it is while shopping (I numbered each WHERE section with how I flow through the store so I could sort quickly by section on my spreadsheet if necessary):

If you’ve completed all four steps above, you now have a master grocery list for that particular store! You can add to it any items you find you need in future grocery lists by simply following the steps above. To get a shopping list for a particular trip, I just hide the rows of anything I don’t wish to buy during that particular trip. Sort the AISLE LETTER column alphabetically, and your list is now in a quick and easy order to help you flow through the store and get in/out as quickly as possible! Print a copy, and you’re ready to get in/out of there as fast as you can.

Some of you are looking at this post and thinking, “That’s it. She’s lost it finally. This woman is nuts!” I beg to differ and will just offer this as my counter-argument: on my last grocery trip during which I purchased an entire cart full of groceries (all things we needed and were completely out of at home), I was in/out of there in 32 minutes, and that’s from the time I locked my car in the parking lot, shopped, paid, unloaded the cart full of grocery bags, and slid the cart into the corral, stripped off my gloves, and disinfected my hands, to the time I sat back down in my driver’s seat.

We all have to do our part to keep each other safe. Every little thing that we each do to limit contact and limit exposure to possible infection of COVID-19 makes a huge difference in life and death situations right now; even though we will not be able to physically point at a situation and know how what we are doing right that moment changed one specific thing, know that every little thing we are doing IS helping with life and death situations somewhere as we all do our part to fight this. Getting in/out of the grocery store as quickly as possible is just one more way that we can all help each other so just do it. You will never know whose life you just saved by the choices you’re making….but you are saving lives somewhere.

I’ll say it again – Protect our healthcare workers and each other as much as possible.  Flatten the curve as much as you possibly can by changing your habits.  We can do this – but only together, America!

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