I went grocery shopping yesterday and, as I was standing in line to check out I had the pleasant realization that every single thing that was on my grocery list was actually on the shelves for the first time in, well, quite awhile now. It was a wonderful surprise. I think I had become so accustomed to there being at least one item unavailable that my grocery list had become more of a wish list.
For a few months, every trip to the grocery store was filled with some degree of trepidation. The questions always hovered, "Which aisle will be empty?" "What substitute item might they have for the items they do not have?" "How many people will I see blatantly defying that 'one per customer' signs and take everything on the shelf instead?" and of course my favourite, "How creative can I get with what little product I can find?"
During the meat shortages we ate a lot of chicken. I mean a lot. It was one of the meats we were able to buy in bulk (thank you Costco). Luckily chicken is versatile. There are a ton of things that can be done with a chicken. And I think I did them all. But, there comes a point when no matter how a chicken is prepared, your mind and your body know it's still a dang chicken, which is the same thing you had the previous 14 days in a row and, as Tim once said, "I think I'm about to sprout feathers". Hah!
While I kind of did enjoy the creative part and actually was proud of myself with most of the results, there were times when shopping was kind of stressful. We got through it tho, we didn't starve, we didn't go without anything that was absolutely essential and now most products are back on the shelves, hurrah.
However, I am now noticing a different trend. The price tags are a wee bit higher on things. The prices are creeping up and while, as an individual item it's really not a big deal, when it's all added up, the total can be a bit of a shocker.
In the olden days (pre-virus) I used to go to the grocery store multiple times a week. Yeah, I know, crazy. Generally for just that one thing I forgot. Usually, I decided each morning what I would prepare for dinner that night and well, sometimes I didn't have all of what that particular dish required. Or maybe I suddenly got the urge to bake something I haven't made in a long time and naturally I would need to rush out to buy everything for that project. So it was practically a daily trip. And once there, I had no qualms about buying any other little item that caught my eye.
There was always so much. Abbondanza! Grocery shopping, if you had the time and the inclination was fun. There were items I'd never heard of before, new things to try, choices for recipe experimentation and every single aisle was crammed with options! I could spend a very long time on each shopping trip.
Nowadays, in an effort to mingle with strangers as little as possible, I plan an entire weeks' worth of menus at a time. Yes indeedy. Every Sunday night I plan all of the meals for the next 7 days and then I make my shopping list from there. Many of the meals involve leftovers from other days which is so efficient! I'm rather proud of myself. My thought was that I would be shopping less often - a good thing and spending less because I am using food more efficiently - another good thing and only buying what we actually need - which is the very best thing. I am throwing out a lot less food these days.
And bonus to this was that I was actually spending a lot less money on groceries! Woohoo! How great is that? (the answer is, really great) And that lasted for about a month. Because now, even though I am still planning a week's worth of far more efficient meals at a time and shopping only once a week, somehow, the final tally is beginning to, ever so slowly, get bigger again. Ratz. They are on to me.
It's happening in tiny bits. We adjust slowly to one tiny increase at a time. The same way that gas prices go up. Generally the price doesn't go from $1.98 a gallon to $5.00 a gallon over night after all. Nope. It's a penny or so at a time. Doesn't seem like much. No big deal. It's just a penny. But 5 pennies is a nickel. and twenty nickels is a dollar and, well you get the idea.
Do you remember that old science thing about boiling a frog? Theoretically (or so the myth goes - frankly I never tried this myself. Ick!) If you put a frog in room temperature water and very very VERY slowly increase the temperature one degree at a time, the frog will eventually boil to death and never notice.
My guess is that the frog myth is exactly that, a myth. And wildly untrue. Because this particular frog is noticing.
Yup, this is me. Some people said, "Sam, you should write a Blog". "Well, there's a thought", I thought to myself. And so here it is.