I stood in the bread aisle of the regional chain grocery store and my head spun. White bread. I just needed a loaf of white bread. One somewhere left of high fructose and right of nutty wonder so my kids would eat it. The options stretched away from me ad infinitum and I felt myself being pulled down a slippery chute lined with smooth plastic bags striped in red and yellow. The baby stared up at me from the cart. I knew my window of her compliance wouldn’t last forever. Nor would my will to survive. Yet I was struck inert. I didn’t want to be here anymore, in this bright, overwhelming environment; neither did I have the energy to reduce this bread conundrum down to digestible size.
And this was a quick trip to the grocery store.
I’ve written before about well-meaning old ladies at the grocery store; running people down in those infernal race car carriages – grocery store annoyance has been done. One would think an overabundance of choices and the money to buy them, within reason, would be a fabulous experience. But buying groceries is an emotional burden.
When my third baby was still a baby, maybe before I even realized I had postpartum depression and really needed it, I started ordering groceries through a delivery service. It may have had something to do with my physical limitations following her birth, but it saved me mental anguish as well. Have you ever taken three children to the grocery store? Even if you haven’t, just stop a moment and imagine.
The log-in to my account was serenity.
Having a chipper delivery person walk bags of groceries right through my kitchen door while the children ran and hid in the other room? Priceless. Hell, I’d even take a cranky delivery person. I remember ordering a sippy cup for my toddler for delivery in those early days. Order a non-grocery item from the grocery store? At that exorbitant price? Oh, you’ll bring it to my door? Okay!
Those days, it was all about survival. When the older two went off to school and the baby was more manageable, I ventured back into the arena, but pregnancy and infancy number four retired me once again. And this is the baby in the cart now.
For an anxious person with too much on her plate, walking through a mine field of choices is almost too much. Locating ingredients for a recipe, weighing options within ingredients, prices, health concerns. Now multiply that by five other family members. Multiply that by three meals a day, seven days a week. Compound that with the dread of having to come back for forgotten ingredients. Stick a baby in the cart. Or three free-range children with sticky fingers, no concept of economics, and food ideas of their own.
There are downsides to delivery as well.
Delivery fees, of course. However, new customers get coupons for free or reduced delivery for several months. There is also a flat fee for delivery for a year, which is a tough pill to swallow initially, but actually more cost effective overall.
That obsessive behavior in aisle two? Must be done at home, on-line and in a flurry of cookbook pages. Thought of each meal must be made by midnight on Tuesday night so your family can eat for the next week. And if you forget something – you might have to go to the store in person anyway! GASP!
There are some ingredients you just can’t get. When my husband started moving toward a plant-based diet, I couldn’t get nutritional yeast from the site I use. Guess that doesn’t fly off the warehouse shelves in these parts. But that could happen in any brick and mortar, too.
Overall, grocery delivery saves a piece of my sanity that might otherwise shear off and shatter on the floor of the bread aisle. And to me, the price of delivery is worth all the serenity it buys.