Traditionally known as that awkward dance you do when you are trying to pass someone in a busy aisle at the grocery store, the Supermarket Shuffle is my name for adding movement to a necessary errand. It will add a little extra time to this errand, so if you are a person who would rather gnaw your own arm off than spend an extra second in the grocery store, skip it. For the rest of you, read on.
Supermarket Shuffle looks like this:
1. Leave all children at home with your co-parent, a friend, or a babysitter. If you cannot do this, I do not suggest this activity unless you make them an integral part of it. This requires planning. For small children, something like “find all the green things” works. Older children can actually help you price-check and practice their practical math skills by doing so. If, however, there are children involved and you have no plan, I recommend getting shopping done as quickly and with as few spills and tears as possible. One must survive to thrive.
2. Walk into your grocery store of choice. Pick up a handheld basket. The reason for the handheld basket is twofold:
- Carrying your groceries burns more calories than wheeling them around.
- Carrying your groceries makes you think twice about whether what you put in the basket is something you really want to buy or not. For example, are those pastries really worth the trouble of carrying them around? Probably not (not to me, anyway). Wine, however, I will carry to Canada and back. Carrying a basket can tell you a lot about your priorities.
Some of you might be saying, “I can’t fit all my groceries in a basket! That’s madness! I have a family of five, and I only go to the store once a month!”
To these people, I say, “You are probably right. You have more mouths to feed and probably more storage room in your kitchen than I do. Our shopping needs are different. You have permission to skip this step.”
3. Do a lap. Walk down every aisle. Put nothing in your basket during this step. This is the information-gathering portion of the trip. This adds movement to your day, but it also gives you the opportunity to notice all the deals and specials that were on the mailer that got tossed into the recycling bin too early.
4. Do a second lap, this time filling your basket with the things on your list, as well as things you noticed on the first walk around the store that you need or want badly enough to carry them around. Go down every aisle again, even if you don’t need something on the aisle.
[I never said this activity was efficient. And yes, you will feel weird the first time you do this. Your feelings are valid. It's a weird thing to do. Embrace the weirdness.]
5. Check out. There’s no way to add movement to this, unless you march in place or something while doing it. Yes, you do look silly, and yes, I do applaud you. I probably won’t be joining you, though.
6. If you are in one of those places where store employees still ferry your groceries to the car for you, offer to do it yourself. They will probably argue (politely, of course) with you, but stand firm. Remember – carrying things burns more calories than not carrying things.
[If you are not in one of those places where this is still a thing, then just proceed as normal and forget I said anything. Store employees don't do that. I don't know where you heard that from.]
7. Once at home, unload all the groceries yourself. This, of course, is a given if you live alone. But if you don’t, fight the urge to
plead with instruct your people to help. This is more impressive if you are a buy-all-the-things person who brazenly skipped the first step. In fact, I so despise unloading the car after a big shopping trip, you get extra points if you do so.
[If you really want to add extra activity to your life, let's coordinate shopping schedules. You can help me unload my car and drag everything upstairs. I would sacrifice my extra movement for you. What can I say? I'm a giver.]
Although this will take more time than you usually allot for grocery shopping, the extra time pays you back in bargains found, better choices made, and calories burned. So really, it’s the more efficient than it seems.