Saturday, March 29, 2008

The List

"Hi, my name is Superchikk, and I am a Type-A personality. It has been 2 hours since my last list."

Ok, so I'm a bit of a freak about some things. I'm the first to admit it, and even laugh at myself. It all started when I was growing up in a household with six younger siblings and a Mom who could not only pinch a penny from a raindrop, but then organize those pennies into three different categories if need be.

It only stands to reason that for our monumental grocery trips, the list was always organized, usually in the order you'd actually pick up the items from the shelf. When you wrote a particular item on the grocery list, Mom would tell you where to write it...left side of the page, 1/3 of the way down. And she always wrote the estimated cost out to the side so the list could be added up before the grocery trip. This allowed her to see where she stood in the budget and if she needed to drop an unnecessary item or had room to add a box of Pop-tarts. And she taught us to shop with a calculator. As kids, we used to fight over who got to push the numbers on the calculator. We would also see who could guess closest to the actual amount the groceries would ring up to since there was a slight variation on the taxes and our estimations. But I digress....

After I got married and made my own grocery lists, I continued in this practice. I mean, it was easy to write the list in the order you shopped. It just made sense. I marvelled at the people who dared step foot in the grocery store without a list, much less a calculator. How in the world did you know what you needed or manage to stay in a budget without a list or calculator? (I came to find out pretty quickly that most people did neither.)

But several years ago when life was a bit hectic for a while, I took it a step further. It had gotten difficult to know exactly what I needed from where since I was forced to shop at three different grocery stores (long story). So I actually came to my computer and made a blank grocery list - with three columns, sectioned by the store departments in the order in which I shopped. You know - Dairy, Snacks, Canned Goods, etc. Then it was easy to fill in the blank lines in those sections and not worry about where on the list an item needed to be placed. It was heavenly. Yes, I felt like a bit of a nerd, walking around the store with a giant piece of white paper and my little calculator, saying to the world, "Look at me...I'm a dork with a pre-printed grocery list!"

I got away from using the nerd list some time ago, but found that recently my grocery list making skills have gone down the toilet. (Maybe it's the sleep depravation.) So I pulled that computerized list back out. It has definitely made things a bit easier.

Last week, there was a retired couple making the same loops through the aisles I was, only going in the opposite direction, so we passed each other on every aisle. After about the second pass, I noticed that the man was carrying a clipboard. On the third pass, I saw what was on the clipboard: a pre-printed grocery list! I couldn't believe it. So on the fourth pass, I had to get a better look at his list. I came just short of stopping and asking if he wanted to compare list methods. But here's what made me feel really good about my list. His list was made by the aisle.

Yep, his list was pre-printed with the aisle numbers and the groups of items contained on each aisle. I couldn't believe it. Here was someone more anal than me about their grocery list, and it was a man. I've decided I'm going to look for them again the next time I go shopping. People this uptight are creatures of habit. I seriously want to see that list up close.

So there it is. I've completely ratted on myself, exposing yet more of my weirdness. You still love me, right? Pin It


  1. I'm trying to convince myself this is a true story of "Melissa Swain's" life! You CRACK ME UP! I can sit here on my couch and just see you not only preparing your list at home but walking through the grocery store trying to sneak a peak at the OLD MAN's METHOD! HA!

  2. Curly8:33 AM

    Hey, I make my grocery list "by the aisle." And I often use the computer to type my list so that I can insert things in the correct places. The Aisle numbers are not on my list, but everything in on the list in the order that I will pass by it on my usual route around the store. I don't usually carry a calculator, but I do have an excel spreadsheet of all of our common grocery items and their prices so that my total can be estimated before I leave the house.

  3. I made a list onetime. It was a list of 50 reasons why I don’t do lists, EVER.. I got to #2 and stopped. I discovered all I needed was one reason!

  4. Wow - Curly delved into an area of the grocery list I was afraid to mention...more later.

  5. It occurs to me that neither Emily nor Jessica will have refined shopping list skills. We still have the list - no way to get away from that - but it isn't very refined. There is one rule that still applies: if it isn't on the list then it doesn't exist. I have often been aware we were out of an item, but the "last user" didn't put it on the I walked by and left it on the grocery shelf. Tough lesson when you wish you had some pancake syrup!

    That reminds me of turning socks and spitting out "stolen" candy.