One of the best feelings in the world has got to be grocery shopping. I mean the kind where you know what you need, you get it all,  preferably some pantry items that you don’t need yet, and you come home feeling a little more prepared for life. It is even better when I manage to clean the fridge out first. You get the great joy of seeing the fruit bowl loaded high, and you can say without a shadow of a doubt that you do in fact have an onion. Seriously, nothing beats it. I even love to shop on busy days like the Saturday before Easter, or the day before Thanksgiving. Wonderful. Bumper to bumper shopping carts, a ham in each one. Or before Christmas when you could look around and guess what people were planning – there are the jello, green bean casserole, and ham carts. Then there are the bittersweet chocolate and champagne carts (probably prime rib, but I’m just guessing), and then there are the people loading up on sweetened condensed milk and coconut flakes. There are usually a few people who are trying to reckon how many 2 liters of generic pop they are going to need. It turns out to be quite a bit. But my favorite of all has got to be the people for whom you cannot make up a story. You stand behind them and wonder. Why could they possibly need a whole a pallette of Dinty Moore, some sweet pickles, and some Bok Choy? Or eight pounds of raw slivered almonds and some dryer sheets? How do these things happen? 

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29 thoughts on “Winco

  1. I worked as a cashier at Wal-Mart for a while and we would make a game at lunch of trying to figure out what people where doing with their shopping.

  2. I’m a “pop” girl too! I totally agree about grocery shopping. People used to say that once I had been doing it a while the novelty would wear off. Well, I have been married for 10 years and I still love it! It is just so domestic :0)

  3. One time I got behind our pediatrician in line. She was buying dozens of those little cans of corned beef hash and a bottle of Godiva Liquor. We started to chat while we were waiting. The whole time we were talking all I could think was, “What on earth is this combination here?”

  4. You are a very wise woman. And I can tell you that, because I don’t think it’ll go to your head. Blessings!

  5. Of course, you know it is a lot more interesting when you live in a county where you can buy your alcoholic beverages with your bok choy. I have to make 3 stops! I like to look around me, too, when the 1 year old is sitting contentedly in the cart, my 4 year old is not trying to see how far he can get away from the cart and still jump on while it is moving, and my 6 & 8 year olds are not having the first good-humored wrestling match they’ve attempted all day as they walk behind me. ha. Just went shopping today, can you tell? :0)
    Thanks for the giggles and encouragement you guys give us!


  6. So now my fears have been confirmed, people are looking at my grocery cart and analyzing what I am buying!

    I usually get many looks because I buy a good deal of milk at one time. Our family can go through 1 gallon of milk a day, and I like to buy a week’s worth. Even the cashier has asked me why I buy so much milk.

  7. Kathleen-
    I feel you on that one! I really like to shop, even with my kiddos, but I don’t do that very often. When I do though, you will not find me looking at other peoples groceries! I put one baby in the baby carrier, one in the stroller, Daphne in the second seat of the stroller, and Lina perched on the front. Then I push the stroller and pull the cart. Then I pick up a sippy cup, then I blow Chloe’s nose even if it doesn’t need it because I am paranoid about having a snotty baby tied onto the front of me and not knowing it, then I ask more “do you see anything green?” type questions, then I realize that we missed the cheese and try to figure out how to turn around, and by the time we check out, I am ready for a nap!

  8. I have 4 babies (6 and under–no twins, though!) and I must admit that I almost NEVER go to the grocery with all of them! Whew! But, my brave, capable husband is not aftraid to tackle this feat. He even happily confessed to me once that he enjoys all the attention and looks of admiration/shock! 🙂

  9. I once ended up in line at WinCo behind a gentleman who was purchasing nothing but two of those large plastic produce bags full to bursting with eggplants. And one movie theater sized box of Good ‘n Plenties. Then he looked back at me and, seeing the inquiring expression on my face, just said, “Don’t ask.” I didn’t.

  10. Ah, I had this exact moment yesterday at the store! I was on my way to meet a friend of mine for a bite to eat and a little shopping, but had to make a quick emergency stop at the grocery store for some suddenly needed “femenine products”. While there I called and asked her if she needed me to pick anything up, which she did – eggs. When I went to get the eggs I saw cream cheese was on sale so I grabbed a few. It wasn’t until I was ringing up my items at the self-checkout that I realized just how absurd it must have looked! 1 large box of tampons, 2 boxes of creamcheese, and a dozen eggs. No more, no less. 🙂

  11. Love it! I agree that the clean fridge to unload into is the cherry on top. When I buy fresh herbs I like to cut the ends off (just like with fresh flowers), pop them in a glass of water and arrange them on the top shelf of the fridge. So pretty! Parsley and Cilantro (both supper cheap) last for a week this way. I also really enjoy making an arrangement of different sized bowels on the end of the island for all of the fresh produce to be displayed in. Thanks for the reminder of simple joys :o)

  12. I remember Sue Struble telling us about how one evening back in the day when Tidyman’s was still open, the college guy in front of her in line was wearing boxers and a coat (and nothing else), and was buying a tallboy can of beer and two bananas. One can only imagine him sitting in his dorm room watching TV in his boxers, and thinking, “Dude. I really could use a beer right now. And bananas. Yes. Bananas.”

  13. Beer & Bananas–that’s actually an easy one! He needed to gain weight. It’s the perscription of military recruiters everywhere who have underweight recruits! Maybe he was down to boxers for weigh-in?

    Hannah, I suspect a pregnant wife craving eggplant?! 🙂 And a husband who did not!

    Sheila, we get 6 gallons of milk at a time, too! I’m hoping our goats are bred and that will end this summer, though… Cuddling up to the side of a goat is ever so much more pleasant than lugging 6 gallons of milk, at least to me! 🙂

    Rachel, you’ve got more patience than I! I like to go to the store during odd hours, but that’s particularly b/c I have to take all the kiddos with me (only 3 so far, but 4th is on the way) and grandmotherly types out shopping at 10 am are ever so much more kind and accomodating than rush-around business types shopping at 5:30 pm!

  14. I must confess that mine is the green bean casserole and ham cart at Christmas. Tradition wins out over culinary creativity in our home for the holidays. (I miss shopping at Winco).

  15. It can be extremely difficult to shop WITH COUPONS and 4 children under 8 years old! It has become an interesting training process – if I have patience that day…but I think I have a system down. (I tried it this week)
    My husband doesn’t want me to go at night by myself and right now we only have 1 car. So we all go together. Sometimes a train of carts with kids in most of them (a kind elderly lady stopped with a smile and commented “I didn’t know that they sold children on aisle 7?”). Our local double couponing store only allows 20 coupons per cart. So here is my system – I get my first 20 items and send dh with squirmy ds2 to the check out. He unloads and comes back in to receive the next 20 coupon cart. It keeps him busy and the older ones I have help me get the items off the shelves. You have to keep an eye on them though. My dd8 innocently put in a few boxes of Kraft mac when my back was turned. When I got home, I was flabergasted to find something I had not “bought with coupons” in my bag. I asked around and my dd8 says “I put it in the cart b/c I thought we needed some.” I naturally asked “Was it on sale?”

  16. You must have an extra dose of patience to enjoy shopping before the holidays! My husband and I must encourage each other to avoid getting frustrated at WinCo on a typical Wednesday! We’ve even been known to give up and save shopping for another day if there’s not a parking spot in sight. I completely agree with you love of how it feels after a good shopping trip, especially one where you didn’t just get what you need for tonight’s dinner, but next week, too!

  17. I love grocery shopping! I love having a mission, I love contriving dishes from whatever produce is on sale, I love finding my favorite apples on sale, I love finding polenta at Winco for 0.68/lb. It just doesn’t get more exciting.

    And you can tell a lot about a person from their groceries. As an ex-grocery cashier (a very formative experience, I might say), I am guilty of making moral judgments based on the food people buy. You can learn their parenting styles, how their family opperates, what their schedule is like, what their attitude towards life is, not just how soon they’re going to need assisted living or medication.

  18. Your posts are always encouraging and inspiring. I can’t say I love shopping for groceries but your perspective is a delight to hear…thank you for sharing with us!

  19. For some reason, I always have onions on my counter (and I cook with them all the time) but never seem to run out. Do I have a case of the omnipresent onion?

  20. I can’t resist sharing this….
    When I was one week shy of my due date with baby number four, (numbers one through three being 4, 3 and 2)…I went for a big shop at one of those places where you put your own groceries in boxes.
    So as I’m getting boxes loaded and corralling kids, the cashier said something really funny. I laughed a little too hard and my water broke.
    We all got home in plenty of time, even got food put away, and it was a fine birth.

  21. While I also enjoy going with all the kids and loading up the cart around them, you can’t leave out the delight of a solo late night shop. Hardly a soul in the store, the men in their little forklift trucks toodling about unloading massive quantities of refried beans or canned corn, and the luxury of staring at the forty varieties of cereal and deciding which one you *really* want. Night grocery shopping is my retail therapy.

  22. I enjoy grocery shopping too, even with my kids. I am very self conscious about what I’m buying. I’m not concerned about what the 19 yr old check-out-boy thinks so much as what the elderly lady behind me thinks.

    I am particularly self conscious when purchasing pregnancy tests with my 2 yr old and 1 yr old in tow. I’m sure everyone there thinks I’m nuts.

  23. Billie….
    I tried to remember what she said later, and it never came to me. I have other vivid memories of that trip, but whatever she said is lost forever.

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