• Calli Townsend

Lessons from my grocery store friends

Updated: Jun 26, 2019

Yesterday I set out with a list, a credit card, and three tasks: buy ribbon and hair ties, check out Hobby Lobby’s leather-making tools, and get groceries.


I found ribbon at Hobby Lobby that matched this little basket I bought a couple weeks ago AND it was on sale, so basically, I was destined to have it. And, after seeing all the leather-making tools, I texted Chance that we’re going to need a big craft room in the future. Let’s just say I left Hobby Lobby feeling very inspired, but who doesn’t? It’s the greatest store on Earth.


Then I headed to Meijer where I felt a little less inspired. There’s just not a whole lot of joy that comes from fighting your way through aisles and avoiding cart collisions.


Also, not that I expected her to do this, but the shopping list that my mom gave me was not in order of the aisles. I walked passed the lady giving out smoothie samples at least five times (but at least I got to try her favorite flavor, strawberry banana). I got eggs from the back of the store, then made it about halfway to the front before realizing I needed a case of water, so I returned to the back of the store only to find out that cases of water had been moved to the middle of the store! So I steered my cart back around and after placing the case of water in my cart, steering became more challenging. And after getting bagels from the front of the store, I realized oatmeal was on the list, which was in the breakfast food aisle—in the back of the store.


All of those Sundays spent in Meijer after Church did not prepare me for my grocery-getting venture. It would have, but I’m pretty sure while I was in Hillsdale they rearranged the store just to confuse me when I returned home.


So yeah, I went grocery shopping and let me tell you, my mom makes that look easy! But, I will say I’m proud of myself for getting everything on the list. I forgot the coupons though…but knowing our family we’ll be back to the store before they expire.


And I also forgot to get almonds, according to my dad, but in my defense, they weren’t on the list. My mom had told me before I left, “Here’s a list with mostly everything, and then you know the rest of what we normally get.” Well, if I’m the one picking things out, the “rest of what we normally get” includes two cartons of ice cream and cheez-its. Sorry dad, no almonds.


I made several friends during this shopping trip as well, and that’s the point of this whole story. I had to ask a lot of questions in order to find the things I was looking for, like hydrogen peroxide. I was in the right aisle, but for whatever reason, I just couldn’t find it. I turned to the young mom next to me and asked if she knew where it was. I figured she would because kids get lots of scratches and moms like to pour this sting-inducing liquid onto whatever cuts their kids may have. She pointed me in the right direction.


And then I had to find tomato paste. I was in the spaghetti aisle and stared at cans of diced tomatoes, whole tomatoes, stewed tomatoes, sliced tomatoes, and tomato juice, but no tomato paste. I was about to just settle for tomato juice when I saw a lady who looked like she knew how to cook. So I asked her, “What’s the difference between tomato juice and tomato paste? My mom told me to get tomato paste, but does it really matter which one I get?” She explained to me the difference and showed me where the tomato paste was. She said I probably wanted to get the smaller can. I told her my mom was making lasagna, and I have two brothers who eat a lot, so she probably wants the bigger can.


My mom did not want the big can, as it turns out.


Then I headed to the peppers. My mom told me to get two of them, but only if they looked good. There was another lady there who seemed to know what she was doing. “My mom told me to only get peppers if they look good, would you mind telling me which ones I should get?” I asked her. She smiled and picked up a few peppers to show me what to avoid.


I’m sure if I could’ve found the peroxide and tomato paste on my own and picked a decent pepper, but if I was going to go grocery shopping, I was going to make some friends along the way. The grocery store is hectic and everyone’s on a mission to get in and get out and do it all as quickly as possible. I understand this, I didn’t want to spend much more time in there either. But does it really have to be so bad? Making friends along my grocery-getting mission was fun. They helped me out and they were fun to talk to. Hopefully they thought I was fun too.


Asking people questions gave me a chance to share a smile. It gave me a reason to talk with them and connect. None of the conversations I had were super important or thought-provoking, but these are people I’m probably going to remember now, simply because I asked a question.



Pretty soon we won’t even need to leave our houses to get groceries and we’ll miss out on smile-sharing moments, and as convenient as it may be, I think we’re going to regret not being able to see people and ask questions.


We weren't meant to go along our journeys alone, even our journeys to the grocery store. On your next trip, try sharing a smile or asking a question. It might make the journey a little more enjoyable.

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