Every apartment I’ve lived in since moving out of my parents’ house have shared one common trait: close proximity to a grocery store. In college, we never lived more than five minutes away from the campus grocer and our preferred liquor store (AKA the one that took fakes without raising a stink about it) was equally as close. The place I live in now is only two city blocks away from the closest store. Shit, my first apartment after college was situated literally across the street from a grocery store. From my bedroom, I could look in through the store windows and make snap judgments about what people were putting in their carts.
With the exception of central air conditioning and roommates who aren’t assholes, I have valued living extremely close to a grocery store more than any amenity or feature of my apartment. This has been especially crucial for me since I do not own a car.
As a result of this, I have very rarely ever gone full-fledged shopping for groceries. Once in a blue moon, I’ll make a list beforehand and actually buy everything I’ll need for the week ahead, but for the most part, I go to the store in spurts to buy things of immediate need. In fact, 90% of my credit card statement is comprised of small-to-medium purchases from the grocery store. It’s not the most efficient way of doing things, and more trips to the store means more occasions where I have to exercise a Herculean amount of self-restraint to not walk out of the place with a case of beer, but it works for me. I constantly eat fresh fruits and meats, I don’t have to worry about dairy products going bad, and if I forget something (and I’m in a perpetual state of forgetting something) it’s easy to just go back and get it. Also, I can use that vital fridge space for more beer instead of wasting it on storing a week’s worth of food.
But that all changes at the end of this month. I’m moving to a new place in a new neighborhood, and with that move presents a new challenge: I will no longer have a grocery store within the immediate walking vicinity. I am now confronted with the reality of completely overhauling the shopping habits that have been an integral part of my routine for the past six years or so. Being the creature of habit that I am, this will probably end up being far more difficult than it should be.
For years I’ve been used to just going to the store on a whim whenever I wanted or needed anything. Now that I won’t have any stores I can quickly stop into that are conveniently located along my route to and from work, I actually have to plan a time and date to get groceries. And because I am a basic millennial who hates sticking to plans, this will be a drastic departure from my current lifestyle.
Of course, now that I’ll only be spending one day a week at my local grocery store instead of popping in every day with a stunning regularity that would make Norm from Cheers blush, I’ll have to adjust for the amount of food I’ll be buying in one trip as well. This will be an annoying adjustment period because I’m terrible at gauging how much of a particular food I’ll have in a week. Part of the trouble is that I go in phases of eating certain things and they can end at any moment. I can absolutely see myself buying half a dozen bananas, eating one, then the next day saying “Man I wish I had oranges instead, fuck these bananas” and letting them go bad. The other half of that equation is not buying enough stuff and having to trudge my ass on another long trek back to the store, which is explicitly what I’m trying to cut back on now.
There’s also the matter of hauling all this shit from the store to my new place. Currently, I walk a couple blocks home with the few things I bought with no issue, including dairy and frozen products. Now I have to figure out if I want to spend a ton of money taking a Lyft home or bring my big-ass reusable bags filled with a ton of groceries with me on the train and pray the air conditioning on it works so the ice cream I bought doesn’t melt.
I’m fully aware of how over dramatic some of this sounds and that I’ll likely be able to adapt to these changes in due time. But this concept of having to plan out and maximize each trip to the grocery store so you only have to go once a week is completely alien to me, and I fear change in my routine, so it’ll take some getting used to. More importantly, I would really like to not have to make this pain-in-the-ass trip multiple times a week if I can avoid it. On the bright side though, there’s a liquor store pretty close to this new place, so my beer runs will still be casual strolls down the block instead of a field trip. So maybe if I continually fill my fridge space with beer I won’t have to worry about planning to buy so many groceries. Priorities! .