Grocery shopping takes 3-4 hours, you are overwhelmed with choices and making decisions on the fly in the supermarket, and you always end up blowing your budget because you can’t stick to the list (which, incidentally, you probably left on the counter at home, anyway…).
Sign up for Grocery Pick up OR Delivery IMMEDIATELY. Seriously. Do it now. I’ll wait…
I didn’t realize how horrible grocery shopping is for an adhd person until I took it off my plate. There are so many pitfalls for us. First of all, It’s a stimulation nightmare. Sights, sounds, smells, many many people, too many decisions to count. I THOUGHT I enjoyed shopping. I THOUGHT I enjoyed “finding the best deal.” I really believed I needed to look at each piece of produce to determine the perfect one. And to calculate the price per ounce of this brand versus that. Or, look at all the ingredients to make sure I wasn’t getting dosed with sugar. What’s worse: I thought this was a good use of my time.
I was wrong.
In the last two semesters of finishing my degree this spring, I started to fully understand the concept of opportunity cost when it comes to time. I’ll need to go into more detail about this later, perhaps, but the basic concept is (and thank you to Algorithms to Live By for really getting this point to hit home for me), if I decide to spend my time doing X, I am thereby giving up all the other options. For a long time I truly believed that if I chose to do X, I could still do ALL the other things, I just would have to do them quicker. I erroneously thought I’d somehow be able to read or write faster than all historical proof otherwise. Or vacuum. Or whatever. Once I finally got that piece of the puzzle (that I was unrealistic!), and I really came to understand that by CHOOSING to do X, I’m GIVING UP everything else…I started to DEFEND my time much more militantly. Actually, what happened was, I started to get very very angry at everyone. When I was asked to drive someone 40 minutes out of my way on their whim, I’d quickly calculate all the butterfly effect impacts elsewhere in my life. I’d start to get very angry. “You want me to fail my class?!?!?” Would race through my mind. Here’s how that played out:
If I take you where you are requesting, that’s 40 mins down, 40 mins back. I won’t get home until 8pm, and I still have to make and eat dinner. By the time I do that and clean up, it’ll be 9pm, and then I have to start winding down for bed by 10pm. Or I could stay up late doing homework. But that would mean I oversleep the next morning. Then I’d start the day behind, which really impacts the whole rest of my day, setting me up for failure tomorrow. The paper is due tomorrow, so if I don’t get some work today, then I won’t get it finished and submitted tomorrow, but also, I have these six other things tomorrow, so I won’t be able to do much work tomorrow. I have to work on this tonight or otherwise I’ll not get the assignment in at all, and then I’ll fail the class since this is like 40% of the grade. Clearly this person wants me to fail to ask me to do this thing! Why do they hate me???
So, yeah. The better I got at “enforcing my boundaries” the less I ventured into “Why do they hate me???” Territory. I still struggle with saying no to other people, but also, to myself. Grocery shopping is one of those things.
I had seen the ads for grocery delivery services like Shipt or Instacart. My parents used Harris Teeters Express Lane for over year. I still refused to get on the train. For some reason I believed going up and down every aisle, carefully considering every purchase was necessary. I reasoned I would waste money if I couldn’t carefully consider all the alternatives of price and weight.
Then the reality of opportunity cost started to click. And I started observing. I’d spend 3-4 hours every Saturday on grocery shopping. I’d arrive at the store with my Iphone and my shopping list in the Paprika app. I’d go through every aisle, carefully considering all the alternatives, making the cheapest decision, unless it was a brand or style my picky son demanded. I’d end up realizing I “probably” was out of this or that, and oh! This or that looked good/interesting/is on sale.
I never came in under budget. And, I never had 3-4 hours to spare. With juggling 3 classes each of the last two semesters, plus full-time employment, constantly being on-call, international travel, and raising a teen-ager…3-4 hours of weekend time is freaking gold. I was squandering it…AND my money.
I looked at Shipt and Instacart, but was very annoyed with the fact that this products aren’t everything availabe in the store. Also, that the prices differ from what is in the store. I also found the pricing model annoying/confusing, and the reviews were sketchy. Finally, the feedback from the professional shoppers who have worked there was not admirable. I decided, ultimately, on Walmart Grocery Pickup. I have a lot of issues with Walmart as a company, but I decided to bite the bullet and put my politics aside in favor of getting through the semester with some sanity. Here’s how that played out:
Friday night, with my Paprika app open, and the walmart grocery website up, I built my cart (and added most things to my favorites). I checked out and selected pick up for Saturday at 3pm. Total time: 17 minutes.
Left house at 3pm
Arrived 3:07 pm
Car packed and on my way at 3:13pm
Home by 3:20pm. Car unloaded and groceries away by 3:35pm
Back to working on Homework at 3:40pm
I was STUNNED.
I just got back (most of the time) nearly 3 hours of golden productive time. No extra fees, and they don’t let you tip the associates that load your car. Plus, it’s the same price in the store or online.
Then…it got better. Walmart started offering DELIVERY at my local Walmart. This was, unfortunately, after my classes were over, but I’m still using it. It’s a 7.95 delivery fee, and you tip the delivery person, but I’m extremely ok with this.
The concept of opportunity cost is really coming up everywhere in my life these days, and I hope to write more about it in the future. I think there are many more ways I should be applying it, honestly.