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Sunday, March 17, 2013

Grocery Day

Today was grocery day.  Exciting right?  As I was standing in the check-out lane (wishing there were more open lanes!) I caught myself thinking about the people emptying their carts onto the conveyer belts. 

First, there was a woman - probably late twenties, hair in a messy ponytail, dressed in tennis shoes, yoga pants and a college sweatshirt - maybe straight from the gym?  She brought her cloth grocery bags with her and had a cart half-filled with fruits and veggies.  At first, as I watched her unload all the healthy goodness, I thought, "Wow, there is nothing processed, nothing fatty, no bread, nothing sweet.  I bet she makes everything fresh, no take-out nights for her!  Her food looks healthy...and a little boring.  She must not have any kids."

Next, there was a little old lady - hair done just so, dressed in her Sunday best - maybe straight from church?  She had a mini-cart with a few odds and ends, mostly basics, such as grainy bread, butter, milk, orange juice, eggs, chicken, and a few fruits and veggies.  Probably a few days worth of meals.  As I watched her unload her cart, I thought, "This is a Grandma.  She probably shops twice per week so nothing spoils, she most likely cooks all her own meals using recipes she's used for years, just smaller sizes now that her children are grown."

Then, there was a man - probably mid-fifties, dressed in jeans and a sweatshirt, sturdy, no frills tennis shoes, clean cut - probably thinking he will have to drag his youngest teenager out of bed when he gets home (at noon).  He has a cart full of pop - one 12-pack of Pepsi, two 12-packs of Coke, one case of Diet Pepsi, and two 12-packs of Mountain Dew.  That's it.  I started thinking, "This man was sent to the store by his wife this morning, just after he was done reading the Sunday paper.  As he read, she search the store ads and saw that pop was on sale and figured they should stock up since their older kids had depleted the stock pile while they were home for spring break from college."

Finally, as I emptied my own cart onto the conveyer belt, I began to wonder about what the lady behind me was learning about me.  On went the diapers, wipes and two gallons of milk.  "I guess she has baby."  On went the lettuce, strawberries, kiwis and cuties. "I guess her family eats a lot of fruit!"  On went the muffins, the pop tarts and the Fruit Loops.  "Must be she has more children, a baby and some older kids."  On went the chicken nuggets, the french fries, the mac and cheese.  "I bet she has picky eaters at her house."  On went the birthday cards, the jeans and the cake mix and frosting.  "Someone is having a birthday!"  And finally, on went the cough medicine and the cough drops.  "Uh-oh, someone is sick in that household!" 

I think it's pretty interesting what a full grocery cart says about a person and/or the person's family.  Check it out next time you are in the store!


  1. I love this--telling "stories" about people in the grocery store based on their carts. Mine would say that I'm too busy to shop often, that I value organics, vegetables and fruits, and prefer not to eat meat. My cart also shows that I am a risk-taker in that I purchase a lot of fresh foods and hope that they won't spoil before we eat them!

  2. I do the same thing when I am at the store. I wonder about people's lives. I know others do too. Several times I have had people come up to me and ask if they can eat at my house during the week. We buy a lot of fresh produce. Watching others in their habits can be pretty interesting and entertaining!

  3. Funny! I do this too! If it was just me, I would buy mostly healthy (not as healthy as the 20-something girl in front of you, but pretty healthy). My son, however, consumes vast amounts of junk food. On his list today-- sunchips (two flavors), oreos, orange and grape fanta, etc., etc., etc. I always wonder, when I start to unload my cart, what people are thinking about me. Hope they don't think I eat all that junk!

  4. I have never stood in a grocery lane and noticed the other shoppers before. I am usually in a hurry and not positive i got everything I needed! Thanks for giving me something to do the next time I shop and a new perspective.

  5. This is great, Robin. I watch, too, and actually had such fun last week because I got to load my cart for a change because my son & family were coming. Today, I bought tootsie roll pops & a bag of soft mints (for students). Now you'll have me looking & imagining even more!

  6. I think about people's groceries too. Sometimes they have multiples of something, then I think they must be doing something with a large group of people. I wonder if I was a cashier if I would have thoughts about the food going out or would I be numb from the continuous line waiting to be checked out.

  7. This was a fun read. I do this same thing and I too wonder what people are learning about me when they peer into my cart. I also wonder about the cashiers and all they must learn everyday about many people. What a job that must be.