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My Secret Domestic Disability: I Can’t Handle the Grocery Store

October 23, 2013
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I like to think that I’m very good at being an adult. I make my bed and with the perfect amount of accent pillows. I know just what to get everyone on my holiday gifting list. I use an under eye cream at night, take a vitamin C pill every morning, and never drink before noon on the weekdays.

And yet there are area of adult life at which I am, apparently, not so skilled. I say apparently because before getting into a relationship with a man who was born the world’s greatest dad, I didn’t know I had a problem. I just thought everyone absolutely hated going to the grocery store, freaked out most of the time they were inside and left with a dozen items they didn’t need, all for prices only an idiot would pay.

Turns out I’m really bad at the grocery store – going, being there, leaving – you name it. I’d like to blame this disability on my five years in Manhattan – a time when I had to carry any and all groceries up four flights up stairs and had a questionably functioning stove – but the truth is those old lady food carts were very in at the time, and the reason the stove didn’t work is because I kept shoes in it.

So now here I am attempting domestic bliss and healthy living with an excellent cook three blocks away from a Trader Joe’s. I know what you kindest of souls are thinking – but you still have to carry all those groceries three blocks! – but the store has its own dedicated parking garage and they validate up to two hours.

Here’s what’s weird about this situation – I love to cook and I love to eat. I find preparing meals relaxing and fun. I find eating meals delicious and delicious. So as I attempted to explore this problem I realized my g-store sitch isn’t actually about the food. And, as you know, I have no issues with shopping for other items. Give me a clothing, home decor or electronics challenge, and I’ll meet it on time and under budget, yes, even electronics!

And so I decided to take my issue to a certified expert, a person who adores the store where they sell food, attacks it like a seasoned pro and absolutely never leaves in tears (one time, and it was because I couldn’t get the recipe up on my iPhone some mean lady with a cart full of Spam was looking at me funny. Fine. She didn’t have Spam. No one in Los Angeles eats Spam).

  • Me: Hey, I’m going to write about how I’m really bad at going to the grocery store.
  • R: Good idea. You really are. 
  • Me: Thanks… So if you could theorize what deep seeded issues might be causing this problem what might you say?
  • R: You don’t like having too many options or spending money. 
  • Me: That’s ridiculous! What is a Forever 21 store if not a plethora of options that cost about as much as a pound of meat?
  • R:  Fine, you don’t like having too many options or spending money on things that aren’t clothes. 
  • Me: …or shoes… Huh. Interesting. 
  • R: But tell them you’ve gotten a lot better since we’ve been together, thanks to my influence. 

So there you have it, and he’s right, I have gotten a lot better, but now that I think of it, that may be because we go to a Farmer’s Market that sells food and clothing…


  1. I can certainly relate to the aspect of leaving with items you did not need at all and for ridiculous prices… I’d pick up kale and miso, thinking this was the week I was finally going to get inventive in the kitchen, or come back from shopping with solely junk food and no milk.

    I’ve had to really restrict myself so I only let myself shop from a list, and on weeks when my inner-spending demon is especially harrassing, I will occasionally relinquish grocery duty to my fiance.

  2. I hate going to the grocery store. I’m never in the mood. And it’s three blocks from my house. My husband usually ends up going and then makes dinner and after typing that sentence I’m realizing I’m the worst wife on earth.

  3. Grocery shopping is a necessary evil, at least for me. The big chain supermarkets (like Stop & Shop, Shaws, etc.) are so overwhelming – they’re huge, there’s too many options, too many aisles, too many other shoppers bumping into me with their carts.

    Like Kelsey Sunstrum, I go armed with a list and force myself to stick to it.

    I also like going to Farmer’s Markets whenever I can. If I can pick up most of my groceries from one of those, I have a much shorter list for the supermarket and thus get the dreaded trip over with much faster.

  4. Going grocery shopping and doing laundry fall into the same category for me – why bother with either if any other solution can be devised? (Take-out in the first instance, and simply going shopping in the second.)

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