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Defensive Grocery Shopping, A Supermarket Strategy

Updated on March 4, 2020
Rochelle Frank profile image

Rochelle Frank wrote humorous bits for her college newspaper many years ago. Her funny observations have continued in print and online.

Grocery Shopping Footwear


We might as well recognize the ugly truth and, and say it right out loud: Supermarket shopping is an adversarial situation. It's us against the giant corporate grocers. Buying groceries, especially on a budget, requires a defensive shopping strategy. It's us against them.

Of course the checkers, and boxpersons are friendly enough -- they may even be on our side -- but behind the scenes, hidden persuaders are still lurking. Grocery shopping is a challenge, a crusade, a war of wills -- and a war of won'ts.

You are a smart consumer, so you make a shopping list and commit yourself to shop in the name of Nutrition, Economy, and Ease of Preparation.

Admittedly it doesn't have quite the ring of "Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity", but it's the same idea. After all, didn't the French Revolution have something to do with bread?... or was it cake?

So grab your eco-friendly reusable bags and memorize helpful hints for cart commandos:

1. Assume a defensive attitude.

Don't be deceived by the fact that supermarket doors open automatically. It won't all be that easy. In fact you may notice that the doors close with a somewhat sinister hiss. This is a clue.

2. Wear combat boots.

This is mostly to help you maintain the right frame of mind.

Supermarket terrain is deceptively even, and there is usually nothing to go slogging through unless someone drops a jar of pickle relish in the aisles.

Any good sensible shoe with some traction will do, because you are likely to get a cart with wheels that bump, chatter, or stubbornly refuse to move because of a chance encounter with a stray pinto bean.

Non skid lug soles with give you the needed leverage to counteract those balky wheels until the hoverboard shopping cart is perfected.

3. Read labels.

The confusing statistical nutrition data, which requires some advanced calculus to comprehend, is provided to make us believe we are complete dimbulbs. Additional information shows that the producers are complete dimbulbs.

For instance, the label of one particular product cautions: "Warning: this product contains peanuts." Since this caveat is on the back of a peanut butter jar, I don't find it particularly surprising. The warning is superunecessary and has wasted several seconds of my shopping time.

Another item warns: "This product will become very hot when microwaved." This may be a revelation to those of us who use our microwave for cooling things.

4. Change your mind.

As a child you learned that there is an absolute moral obligation to take the first cookie you touch -- even when you saw something better on the other side of the plate at the very self-same moment.

Merchandisers know this. Flashy special displays beg you to pick up and examine an item.The moment you do, you will get a compelling mental image of grandma behind the cookie plate --and feel committed.

5. Finally, beware of free samples of "delicious-looking things".

A friendly lady in a spotless apron will ask, "Would you like to try a sample of our new 'Delicious-LookingThings'?"

Watch out! I've heard that a serpent used this same line to put mankind on the path to destruction.


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