Today I feel overwhelmed with the practicalities of my experiment to give up supermarkets for 28 days. Supplies are running low in the house as is typical on a Friday but I don’t have the comfort of knowing that I can easily pop to the supermarket where everything I need is under one roof. Further, my other half is usually very willing and able to whisk the kids off with him for a supermarket expedition but I don’t feel that it is fair to ask him to go round a number of unfamiliar shops, especially with two children who it may not be possible to contain in a trolley or bribe with comics and café trips!
As I’ve documented, I have done a lot of shopping since this experiment began and I’ve had ample opportunity to stock up. I’m beginning to learn where I can shop and where I live I’m spoiled with a reasonable selection of local shops in walking distance and an endless choice within a 30 minute drive. Plus…I have the internet? So, what’s the problem?
Having wrestled with this question, I conclude that the factor slowing down my consumption of groceries is the lack of ability to price compare. At the supermarket when I want something I go to the relevant aisle, look at all of the products, assess each brand and compare the value for money they offer. Yes, I can be thrown by ‘3 for 2’ deals or BOGOFs but I do at least get the opportunity to satisfy myself that I have got the best price. Going through this ritual at least twice a week, I am well practised and can make decisions quickly.
Shopping elsewhere, I feel lost when looking at prices and, as a result, I have found that my supplies of goods such as pasta, raisins, tinned food are running low because I don’t want to commit where there’s a chance I can better the price elsewhere.
A solution is to look up the items on my shopping list on, for example, Tesco.com before I go out so that I have a guide to my usual costs. I feel in despair at the thought of the time that exercise would cost me though and realistically if some items are much higher than I am used to paying, I may keep holding off on my purchase in the hope that a different independent store can match the supermarket.
With regard to the internet, I found a good site in the Ethical Superstore but I still need to ‘shop around’ to know I’m getting the best deal. I am struggling with a lack of spare time in which to do this. For example, I did find one site that I thought looked great for bulk buying essentials but it took about ten minutes of reading plus emailing the company before I discovered that I was actually looking at a cooperative site that required membership and I think a minimum spend of £250. Neither suits me just now.
I do feel that by binning the supermarket, I am learning how to shop all over again. I have never seen shopping as the ‘life skill’ it obviously is but just as I am congratulating myself on discovering that talent, I realise I’ve got to master it at a whole new (trickier) level.