Don’t Abandon All Hope, Ye Introverts Who Enter the Supermarket

Both Moms are hosting Thanksgiving dinner this year, which means… dun dun DUNNN! Grocery shopping. Lots and lots of grocery shopping and the accompanying sensory overload.  What’s an introvert to do?

Take heart, readers.  The Moms have figured out a few ways to cope.

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tiffany_head_128I love the Internet. Yes, it has its dark and scary places, but so does my closet. I love it. I love it because I can read my favorite British newspapers and celebrity gossip sites, find recipes, and keep in touch with friends and family via email and social media. And even though online shopping sites like Amazon, Zappos, and Zulily regularly drain my personal mad money bank account, scouring the Web for deals and steals makes me happy.

Arguably the very best use of the Interwebs, however, is online grocery shopping. For me the grocery store is the tenth circle of Hell; going to the store with Slim and Lunchbox is the tenth circle of Hell plus a bad haircut, the flu, and a panic attack all rolled up in one anxiety-coated ball. The sensory overstimulation (see me! smell me! touch me!) is difficult for my introverted self to process. With the kids thrown in I find it an exhausting and superbly soul-sucking chore. Dreamy is great about taking one or both of the kids but sometimes they stay home with me, and that’s an offer I will accept any time. (Dreamy is my hero. Have I mentioned that recently?)

So, for an $8 delivery fee and a tip to the truck driver I order the groceries and they show up at my house at a date and time of my choice. Bliss! Using this service adds to the bottom line, of course, but a) my time and sanity are worth the cost, and b) as Dreamy has pointed out, online shopping probably cuts down on impulse purchases because if you don’t see so  many items, you are less inclined to mindlessly grab stuff and chuck it into your cart. I’ve had nothing but positive experiences with product quality and order accuracy. Convert for life, that’s me.

Does this happen every week? Sadly, no. Online grocery shopping requires time and organization, and some weeks this simply doesn’t happen. A meal plan and list are critical, and I find that doing the order over a few days makes it easier and more time-management friendly. Do I forget things and have to go to the store anyway? Sadly, yes. These mini-trips are manageable though because I’m usually only buying a few things. And I stick with the grocery store I know so I can quickly find whatever is needed and get the heck out.

I’m working on the Thanksgiving order right now.  Because as the slow slide towards holiday madness accelerates I’d much rather be sitting at the computer than experiencing this.

— Tiffany

KathyDeep down, I actually like grocery shopping.

I have a mild case of foodie-ism, so it’s fun once in a while to wander around a store and see what’s new. When I travel, I love to visit supermarkets because I think they give such a cool insight into a place’s culture. In France, nearly all the breakfast cereals had chunks of chocolate in them. Genius.

Of course, I rarely get to do that kind of shopping. My usual M.O. is to forget my list, forget to feed Doodlebug a snack before we get there, and emerge shell-shocked. I do have some tips and tricks for shopping while introverted. I just have trouble remembering to use them.

  • Obviously, go by yourself if at all possible. Especially if your kids are easily overwhelmed by stores, which Doodlebug is. If I do have her with me, I try to feed her first, give her items to look for, bring a jacket for the freezer aisle, and keep the trip short.

  • Dinner and shopping. Like dinner and a movie, only much less exciting. The three of us will go to a shopping center that has a grocery store as well as several restaurants we like. First we’ll eat, then I’ll scoot over to the store as soon as I’m done. iDad and Doodlebug will finish up, pay the check, and meet me at the car.

  • Shop at a smaller store. I know lots of people love Wegman’s. For me, though, it’s an instant headache (and my closest store doesn’t have the kids’ play place. Unfair!). It’s just too big. Trying to navigate all five hundred aisles leaves me worn out and cranky. I like that they have natural and organic foods along with “regular” stuff (I need my Rice Chex), but it could never be my everyday store. And we all know about my Costco issues.

  • Go less often. Daily shopping trips are overwhelming for me, not to mention inefficient. Once a week sounds great in theory, but I hate to plan my meals that far ahead and besides, I don’t enjoy marathon shopping trips anyway. Twice a week seems about right for me.

  • Go when it’s less crowded. Evenings, early mornings, during the football game… As for Thanksgiving, I plan my shopping in waves – I’ve already bought a lot of the non-perishables I’ll need, and I’ll do another run for fresh stuff closer to the time. And I’m definitely sending iDad to pick up the turkey on Wednesday morning. No way am I going in there!

— Kathy

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