by Esther Johnson
Do you know the best way to get away from cleaning house, looking for your child's lost articles, escaping the constant drone and sometimes roar of the TV set and jangling interruption of the telephone (which is always for some other member of the family anyway)? Go to the supermarket. It's a legitimate reason after all, we do have to feed our families, right? And it does take time to read labels and go through the coupons. (Don't forget to take along a big selection of coupons).
First, announce to everyone that you have to go buy groceries. No, you don't need help, until you get home and the sacks have to be carried into the house. Then you pick up your purse and the keys to your husband's car. He can use yours if he decides to go anywhere, but he'll probably just watch TV or read the Saturday morning paper. And, you can save your gas. Go to the store, any one will do, and take a minute to read the ad of the current bargains that is just inside the front door. Read both sides. Isn't this peaceful?
Now, take a cart...try out several to be sure all the wheels are functioning properly. After all, this will be your vehicle for the next hour or so. Check over the shelf of day-old baked goods and the carts full of dented or out-dated items. So you don't need a home permanent and never intend to. Maybe there's something more interesting hidden underneath the seven boxes of permanents.
It's time to get to the serious stuff. Take out your list and coupons. You'll need a pencil to jot down prices or cross off items as you put them in your cart. First, the produce section. Be sure you find those plastic bags that are on a roll. They never put them near the particular produce you need, and they move them to a different spot every two weeks. If you need grapes, the plastic bags will be tucked away behind a stack of oranges. Now that you have found them , tear off two or three and open them before you pick up the grapes. Aha! Here's a time consumer. Near the center of one edge will be printed the words, "Open here." Try a corner, you'll have better luck, and the other customers who are waiting behind you won't mutter unkind words. Place your grapes in the bag and place them on a scale so you will have an idea of how close to bankruptcy this purchase will put you. Use the other bags for peaches or plums. Don't forget the fresh vegetables - take your time. Relax. No one can reach you here with the any demands. (Obviously, Grandma wrote this before she owned a cell phone).
Next, we come to the bottles and cans. Read the labels. Just push your cart close to the shelves and hurried people can go around you. Check for calories, sodium content (remember your hubby's high blood pressure), and ingredients that aren't foods at all but chemicals. Take the brand with the least of each.
Ah, the meat department. Hamburger for the kids and, after you look at the prices, hamburger for your mate and you, too. Remember things like cholesterol and fat content. If it started out with fins or feathers, buy it.
Oh, yes, the dry cereal section. Read the salt and sodium content here, too. If it's puffed, it's less fattening but not as filling or tasty. If the grand kids are coming for a few days, try to judge if they will get less tooth decay from the presweetened cereal or if they are allowed to shovel sugar into their cereal bowl themselves while your back is turned to make toast. Don't miss a single opportunity to use coupons here, and don't figure up how much these crunchies cost per pound. It only makes you angry, and you are here to relax.
Oh, hear, your forgot to go through the generic shelves. Well, there's no hurry. Just retrace your steps. Adjust your bifocals precisely. Here, everything looks alike. Maybe your family likes the generic peanut butter but not the catsup. Get some generic instant coffee to mix in with the name brand...in the name brand jar. It looks more impressive when somebody drops by. How about rice, noodles and other pasta? Don't forget the generic aspirin.
Your escape time is almost over. Stretch it out a bit by chatting with someone - a neighbor, a friend, a toddler, or an older senior citizen. There's always the weather or the prices to start the conversation.
The dairy department and the frozen foods section don't take much time, but be sure to check for salt content in the frozen foods. It can fool you.
Just sail right on past the junk food shelves. Look at your watch. If you've relaxed a little too long and it's almost time to eat, pick up something in the deli. It's less expensive than going to a good movie and it's a necessity that we all have to eat. Get your coupons together and choose a line at the checkout counters. It doesn't matter which one; you're in no hurry and if there are just a few things in another customer's cart ahead of you, at least one of them will require a price check or the packaging will be defective and a stock boy will have to find another one to replace it. Be sure to smile at the clerk. If her back doesn't hurt, her feet do.
Now you are home, and it's back to the rat race. Select the two lightest sacks and carry them in the house with a few grunts so your hubby will know you are home and offer to carry the rest of the groceries in the house for you. If he doesn't offer, just sing out, "Hi, honey. I am home. Could you please help me carry in the groceries?" You get the best results with this if you shop in the morning before any sporting events are on TV.
As you put the groceries away, say a silent prayer of thanksgiving for food for your family, a car with which to get it, and a family to love and care for. Don't forget to add a blessing for mothers who have to see their children hungry with no way to stop the hurting.
Now, it is time to prepare the next meal and set the table. Next week you can do it all over again.
It just goes to show, mom's of all generations and decades need a break. Now days we call it "alone time" or "mommy time". Her generation called it grocery shopping. Either way you look at, all moms need a break from time to time...even if it is at the grocery store.