Taking time to grocery shop is good for the soul

By Didi Martinez | Digital Managing Editor

Grocery shopping is therapeutic. I know this may sound a bit strange, but I have a feeling that a portion of the people reading this will understand exactly what I’m talking about.

With a grocery cart in hand as you walk down each aisle, searching for products can lead to a slew of new discoveries. A sale on potato chips? Sold. Nutella-flavored cereal? Sign me up. And it’s basically Christmas Day if the store is handing out food samples. You can believe I’ll be asking for an extra bagel for my “sister.”

This is why I’m hard-pressed whenever someone asks me to make a quick trip to the grocery store. I don’t enjoy trips that require me to rush through a store because while I’m there to buy food, I’m also there for the experience.

It’s almost like a game — How many things can you buy with X amount of money and still feel like you’re eating like a queen?

And groceries stores are a bigger part of life than you can imagine. Try moving out of state and see how long you last before you miss H-E-B. We spend so much time in grocery stores that they seamlessly become a consistent part of our lives. Marketing research conducted by IBIS World estimates that the grocery industry is worth nearly $612 billion. And e-commerce giants, like Amazon, know this well. The grocery business is essentially a fight for customer time and loyalty, so it’s best to make the most of a chain’s efforts to acquire your business.

Differences among people are inevitable, but time spent at a grocery store is one aspect of societal behavior that I don’t think gets enough attention. Maybe I’m being a bit dramatic here, but I’ve had friends who I will hang out with on a regular basis but refuse to go grocery shopping with. The feeling is mutual, apparently. Common complaints span from “taking too long” to “being indecisive.” Meanwhile, shopping with a “rusher” makes me uneasy and unable to truly participate in the shopping experience.

One of the most common misconceptions about slow shoppers is that the time we take is “excessive.” I would argue that it’s actually not. While it may take a long time to take one shopping trip, the implication of the journey is that shorter, additional trips will be avoided in the near future. I liken this to the difference between several sprints and a marathon — you can get it done all at once or in sections. Personally, I prefer being intentional about the time I carve out for grocery shopping.

Don’t get me wrong. I harbor no hard feelings for the people who go in and out of grocery stores. I compare each person’s shopping preferences to that of pizza toppings. Each individual has a favorite topping and as much as you would like to share a pizza, sometimes you can’t.