March 18, 2023

Irony On a Thursday Morning

This is just the story about my morning on Thursday. I want to write about it because it was kind of unbelievable! (I thought this would be a very short story, but I think I like to set the scene... hahaha)

As I've mentioned a million times, I despise grocery shopping. It's not so much the actual shopping part--walking up and down the aisles--but planning a menu, looking through the pantry and fridge to see what we need, making a list, going to the store and winding my way through people, scanning my groceries, bagging them in reusable bags, loading the car, then unloading the car, carrying the bags into the house while simultaneously trying to keep all of the pets from going outside when my hands are full, and then putting the groceries away.

There are just so many other things I'd rather be doing; I think the only "chore" I hate more than grocery shopping is cleaning the bathroom. (Also true is that I don't like others to shop for me! I have a whole system and it works; it's just not my favorite thing.)

Because of this, I put it off as long as I can. It would probably be much easier if I would go every week, but I tend to wait until we really don't have much of anything left. For fresh produce or a couple of ingredients we may need between trips, Jerry or one of the kids can stop on the way home and pick it up.

On Thursday morning, I couldn't procrastinate any more. Out of nowhere, I decided to go to a different grocery store to change things up and hopefully make it a little more interesting. We have a store called Meijer (I think it's only in the midwest) which is enormous and carries billions of groceries in addition to all of the other stuff that superstores have.

I really don't like going grocery shopping there because it's way too big, usually very crowded, and just kind of overwhelming. However, they remodeled the store last year and I hadn't been there since the remodel; I thought I'd give it a chance. So, after finishing up my list, I headed to Meijer.

When I walked in, I was pleasantly surprised to see that it wasn't crowded for once. Since I hadn't been there in so long, I figured I would really take my time; they have a bigger selection of stuff than my local Kroger, and it's always fun to find new items.

Jerry and I were talking about plantains last week for some reason, and how we'd never tried one. So I even picked up a plantain for us to try. I was SO EXCITED when I saw a sign for passion fruit in the produce section! I *love* passion fruit but I have never seen it at a grocery store. The only time I had it was when we were in Punta Cana in 2014 and it was pretty much all I ate once I realized it doesn't taste like snot with ants in it (hahaha, that's how I described how it looks).

Unfortunately, even though the sign was there, there was no passion fruit. I was bummed, but I knew that I may find it there sometime, which was enough. I also was surprised to see super firm tofu--which is firmer than extra firm tofu--because I've not see that before, either. I have a few recipes I've been wanting to try that call for super firm tofu, so I grabbed a couple packages of that.

I kept finding cool items that we don't have at Kroger--especially things that I thought the boys would like--and I started to change my mind about Meijer. It was quiet, the atmosphere was calm, I was finding items I was excited to bring home... I even thought to myself, "I could totally get on board with grocery shopping more often if I do it here. This is nice!"

My cart was fully loaded. I still dreaded the checkout process and putting groceries away, but I knew the kids would be happy to have a fridge and pantry full of food, especially new things we hadn't had before. I even texted Eli a picture of a couple of things and said, "Look what Meijer has! Want me to get these for you?"

I started making my way to the front of the store to check out when an announcement came over the speaker: "We apologize for the inconvenience, but our computer systems are down so we aren't able to take credit cards or debit cards. We can still take cash at register 13 and at the service desk. We are working as quickly as we can to fix the problem. It could be 10 minutes or it could be all day--we don't know."

Instantly, my heart just sank and I could feel my face and ears get hot. The noises around me got muffled and sounded like I was under water. I was so stunned I just stood there, probably with my mouth gaping open, unsure of what to do. I knew I definitely didn't have the cash to buy all the groceries but I figured I could just walk very slowly, take my time, and of course the registers would be working again soon.

When I got to the front of the store, all of the people I thought weren't there suddenly appeared--in a single file line in aisle 13.

I dug through my purse to see if I had cash and I found $18--no idea where it came from, because I never have cash--so I looked at my groceries to contemplate buying just a few things that I couldn't get at Kroger. The line, growing longer by the minute, was probably about 40-50 people deep.

My head was spinning and I stared at my cart for probably five full minutes, trying to figure out a plan. Leave the cart and go to an ATM? By the time I got back, the line would be even longer. Even if the computers came back online, it would take FOREVER for all of those people to check out. I had already been at the store for two hours, an hour longer than I'd planned, and I was supposed to go help Becky load the moving trailer in a few hours.

I decided to ask if I could put my whole cart in a cooler and come back later. I used to work there (like 100 years ago) and I remember doing that a few times for people who had forgotten their wallet or something like that. There were exactly zero employees around, probably because they were all working on the computer situation. I walked around for a few minutes and finally found an employee.

When I asked if I could put my groceries in a cooler, she said that she didn't think they could do that, but I could go to the back of the store and ask in the dairy department. I really didn't want to go looking for employees (like I said, the store is huge) while pushing a full cart. By this time, it had been probably 30 minutes and they still weren't taking credit cards.

Ultimately, I left the store with nothing. NOTHING.

I was fuming when I got into the car. For someone who hates grocery shopping, it was a nightmare come true. I know, the store can't help that their computers were down--stuff like that happens with modern technology--but I just felt so stunned.

On the way home, my anger kind of subsided and I either totally lost my mind or I simply found humor in a situation I never wanted to be in.

I started laughing. Out loud. Maniacally. By myself.

By the time I got home, I was almost giddy. I couldn't wait to tell Jerry because I knew he would understand the irony of this happening to ME of all people. He knows how much I hate grocery shopping.

He couldn't believe it either, and he felt so bad for me. I didn't know it at the time, but when I was busy doing something (I don't even remember what) he grabbed my list and went to Kroger. The cart wasn't nearly as full, as it was lacking the impulse buys, but he got what we needed. I was SO grateful!

I think I'll be sticking to my small, crowded cozy Kroger from now on. And I'll remember this incident every time I complain about grocery shopping! ;)


  1. What a day you had. I'm SOOO lucky my husband is good at shopping, and really doesn't seem to mind. And he likes to cook, and does such a good job with that too. I tell him he'll make somebody a good wife someday. Jerry did the shopping after your bad experience. He's a keeper too!

  2. Oh my. This would be such a nightmare for me as well. Hats off to Jerry!!

  3. I feel like Meijer has credit outages regularly. I can think of 3 in recent memory.

    For how much you don’t like grocery shopping, I feel like you should try pickup. No additional cost and Kroger and Meijer both do it. You, Jerry and the boys could all add to the online app then you schedule pick up. It’s usually no more than drive time and 5-10 minutes. I love not spending time in the store.

    1. Grocery stores in general. I recently had it happen at Aldi and Costco. I carry extra cash with me, just in case this happens.

  4. I know you said you don't like other people to do your shopping for you, but I agree with the above comment about pickup. I fell in love with it during the pandemic because I actually do not enjoy walking around in a supermarket, so I have not stopped using it since then. I get most of the stuff I want that way, and after I pick up the order, I can walk into the store for just a few things that I would rather select in person (produce or anything I forgot to add to the pickup order). Kroger has a good pickup order app, both phone and computer.

  5. Omg what a nightmare! I really thought I wouldn't like people grocery shopping for me but I did a grocery store pick up at my local Pick n Save (a Kroger owned company!) one week when I was just sooo busy and omg I'm obsessed now. They do SUCH a great job! I've never had bad produce, they always tell you about out of stock items and if you want to substitute and if you spend over $35 there is no pick up fee. I'm in and out in 10 minutes, the best thing that ever came out of this pandemic I swear! Plus the best part is you can grocery shop on your couch in your jammies the night before and just schedule your pickup for the AM! Truly a game changer :)

  6. Honestly, with as much anxiety as grocery shopping seems to cause you, I would seriously consider grocery delivery or pickup. If you hate 95% of the task, but insist to keep doing it, then any misery you experience is self-inflicted. Kroger often has great coupons for pickup and delivery options, as well (I think they are trying to encourage more people to do it). And if the delivery/pickup happens to miss something, or get something wrong, well, you can hop in for just one or two items, which is much easier than doing a big haul on your own.

    I used to do all the grocery shopping, and enjoyed it, but during the pandemic my husband took it over because he was going out to work anyway, so it made sense to not have another person possibly get exposed to COVID. At first I disliked having somebody else pick out my produce, and other items, but you know what? I got over it. And it turned out he's very good at finding deals and shopping frugally, so it's a win-win. What I'm saying is, you seem to be clinging to a task that you absolutely loathe, making yourself miserable, for no real good reason. If I were you, I'd use pickup or delivery for the bulk of your shopping, and maybe save produce shopping for your own task, cut your anxiety down, and make your life a little easier.

  7. What a pain! Jerry sounds like a great husband for realizing what an ordeal that was and going back out to get the groceries.

  8. If you mainly shop at Kroger I definitely would try pick up. I mainly shop at Aldi and Costco so their pickup is through Instacart and they charge extra and I'm way too cheap. But these days it seems like there are more people in the aisles picking out stuff for online orders than there are actual customers in the store. I'm sorry you went through that, but I'm glad you were able to find the humor in it.

  9. Like a few others said - you should really do pick up! I don't "know" you, but I assume what is holding you back is you are particular about fruits/vegetables, etc. I am too. But honestly, the amount of time, energy and angst it has saved me just by adding stuff to a cart as a I think about it and then ordering it - so worth it. I never wait more than a few minutes for them to bring the order right out to me. And the minimum at King Soopers (Kroger) is only $35. I also hate hate hate hate HATE grocery shopping, and it is SO worth it.


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