The Ordeals of Grocery Shopping

In those days Grocery shopping was pretty easy. It usually involved only a few steps:

– Mom makes a list of things to buy in a sheet of paper.

– You take the shopping bag and walk to the store with the list of things and some money.

– You struggle a few minutes to get Balu, the Shopkeeper’s attention. This is the only tough part and requires some skill of Tamil Yelling and hand waving and saying “Anne”(Brother).

– You hand over the paper to Balu.

– Balu begins packing your list for you, while you count the stars during the day, look at the nearby wall poster of the latest Rajinikanth movie, try to put bracket for the girl next door who is standing near you.

– Balu completes and you walk away with the things.

The whole process is completely seamless, as in you don’t seem to have the need to bother about anything. Life was so simple in those days. It can also be pictorially represented as follows:

The figure is not to scale, but who cares really. It is just 2 boxes and arrows.

But now, to shop for Groceries requires Super Human powers. The steps are similar but they are laborious:

– Wife makes a list of things to buy in a sheet of paper/you bring wife with you.

– Drive the cart with kid on the front seat in a huge supermarket as big as a foot ball field.

– Look for signs to find where you get Coconut milk and end up in the Pets Aisle.

– Look for Icecream and end up in Greeting cards Aisle.

– Lose track of where your wife is and go up and down the aisles looking for her, while kid is getting tired of simply sitting in the cart and trying to do the Minority Report Stunt.

– Deciding on which brand of items to buy.

– Read Ingredients and Reject items with High Fructose Corn Syrup as per Dr. Oz’s advice from the Oprah Winfrey Show.

– Count calories from Fat and Sugar on the label using complex abstract algebra with differential equations and transformed with Lagrange’s theorem.

– check expiry dates on each item.

– Mathematically and logically compute which cashier’s lane will move you faster.

– Ransack your wallet to decide which credit/debit card to use.

The list goes on.

There are so many things that the super market carry, you just wish that there was a Google Grocery. A web based tool for your mobile phone to show you the shortest distance to the item you are looking for in Aisle 7, or you just feed the list of things and Google Grocery gives you the shortest distance map of all the things. Of course, there will be ads of nearby and related items and you shouldn’t be distracted by that. But one such thing like Google Grocery is needed for us dear shoppers. If Google doesn’t come up with one then we will all have to evolve Supervision, which will help us track down the items that we need through our high powered Supervision Eyes, like the Terminator Robot.

But until then a common man like us will have to suffer the ordeal of grocery shopping and here is how i will pictorially represent it:


Blue Rectangular Strips – Aisles of racks with grocery items

Yellow Rectangular Strips – Cashier Lines

Yellow Star – You are Here (Duh!)

Green Diamond – You need to be here.

Red circle with a strike – You don’t need to be here but you will end up being all over here more than once.

Little blue square – 100x Magnified view of your house.

The grocery store will be gigantically huge that your house will be just a dot when compared to the store’s size. In order for your naked eye to catch the glimpse of your house a 100x magnifying glass provides the necessary enlargement for your viewing pleasure. This makes the diagram not to scale.

Good luck with your next grocery shopping. If you have more fun facts and ideas about this please feel free to drop in your comments.


17 thoughts on “The Ordeals of Grocery Shopping

  1. Good thought on using Google maps in Supermarkets. But I guess it may end up a loss to the retailers coz I think one of the important factor for sales is to make consumers walk across different racks. This way the consumer more often than not ends up buying atleast an item extra than whatever he had written in the list.

  2. Cool idea man..nice blog…had great fun.and laughed outl oud..

    particularly the “anne” part…and all the antics to get his attention..i used to get pained of it some times then..particularly..used to hate those old ppl with long lists..and now all that makes me laugh only…

    but great blog…

  3. Praveen – Yes that is the idea of big supermarkets, is to try and upsell. Google maps can also place ads of nearby items or on the way items in the map. This post was meant to be in good humour, so just laugh it out.

    Sudipta – Thank you for visiting my blog. Yes it is a wonderful idea if someone implements it. It will be very useful.

    Pradeep – Thank you for visiting my blog. Yes the “Anne” part was the difficult one. I thought a blog post with 2 spoons of humour will make it more enjoyable and so I am trying to do that in most of my blog posts. Check out some of my old posts when you find time.

  4. Amreekandesi, Welcome to my blog. Yes when I first entered a supermarket here in the US, my first reaction was slight shock. Even now it is a difficult job to spot what you need, especially if it is something new that you are buying.

  5. This is really a great post. As my father running store I know it very well. He will fill all the items given in the list and make a tick for all the items he provided. And now that’s right. What we want is absolutely in the opposite rack of the one we find 🙂

  6. Tabbie
    Shopping is the necessary evil
    Only Evil is not a necessary evil, everything else is with regards to something else.

    at least now I can laugh about it. Great post!
    Thank you 🙂

    This is really a great post.
    Thank you 🙂

    What we want is absolutely in the opposite rack of the one we find
    Wow, you are absolutely right. Only, most of the times we refuse to believe that it might in the opposite rack.

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