Posted in Food, Life + Living, Menu Planning

Optimizing the Grocery Shopping Experience

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Have you ever gone to the grocery store and found the shelves sadly lacking?  Not just the basics, but things that were on sale, too!  If I wanted to exaggerate, I would say that there’s nothing worse.  Suffice it to say that it is a fairly disappointing experience.

To save this from happening to you, here are a few simple tips:

1. Plan ahead.  Know when the ads/coupons run for the store and make note of which deals you want to take advantage of. Avoid shopping on the evening of the last day of the ad.

2. Call ahead.  New to the area?  Thinking of switching things up?  Call to ask which times/days they struggle to keep shelves stocked.   Explain that your time is limited so you’re trying to get a good feel of when it would be the best time to shop. Grocers are friendly and knowledgeable and can help you figure out your list before you go home empty handed.

3. Have a back-up plan.  Don’t get so stuck on your list that you can’t deviate at all.  This week, for example, they were sold out of the cherry tomatoes that were on sale but I was able to bring home grape tomatoes instead.  If the item is important to you and you have the flexibility in your schedule, check at the service desk before you go to find out when the shelves will be restocked.

When I put these plans into action, I found out that my new grocer works much the same as my old one–the ad runs from Monday to Sunday.  While weekends are generally busy, Sunday Evenings are the worst day to shop as it is the last day of the ad and folks are rushing in “last-minute” throughout the day to scoop up the deals and so choices are limited towards sun-down.  My grocer said that based on the patterns and my work schedule that Friday after work would likely be the best time to shop so that it meets my needs for produce, budget and time constraints.

Does your grocery store run a weekly ad? Which days does it go on?

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