A few years back my wife started recording our weekly grocery bill. I don’t know why. We’re not living check to check, so that’s not it. We absolutely never eat out, so it’s not a comparison sort of thing. Eating out is something we only do once or twice a year, so that’s not it. She was just curious, and before long I was following along as well, watching the bill’s weekly highs and lows and comparing them to the previous months and now previous years.
It’s the kind of pointless, low-cost entertainment one turns too when they don’t have children or a reliable way to watch Netflix, I guess.
As you might know, I normally get tricked, cajoled or forced at gun point to come along on these weekend shopping trips, but what you don’t know is that I will volunteer to do absolutely anything while she stalks the produce aisle in search of the perfect leek or eggplant.
Need the recycling turned in? I’m your man if it gets me out of grocery shopping. Need to return an purchased a year ago and never opened even though you’ve long ago lost the receipt? Sounds like more fun than debating the pros and cons of various vegetable stock. Hell, if you need a ring tossed into the fires of Mount Doom I’d rather do that than smell and decide on which new bathroom hand soap is the best.
Frodo, saddle up, but first tell Gollum I’m badly hungover and he needs to shut the fuck up already. Hey, stop bitching, at least we’re not at the grocery store.
That said, I normally arrive back at the grocery store shortly before check out. I can tell from things in the cart approximately what the damage is going to be. Was it a heavy meat week? Well that’s going to cost us. If however we’re eating lentil soup (gross by the way) for lunch this week the bill will be lighter.
Basically, I’m a primary factor in how much the bills is going to be. If left unchallenged my diet would consist of Frosted Flakes, steak, potatoes and a crap ton of bacon. My wife on the other hand has threatened/enthusiastically volunteered to subsist on nothing but rice and beans for a month. I say threatened because this is her go-to statement when I spend too much money on beer, strippers or remote controlled quad choppers drunkenly purchased during late night Amazon binges. I say enthusiastically volunteered because I think she secretly hopes I’ll agree with this idea. Only the threat of my flatulence after three weeks of a rice and bean subsistence keeps her from actually following through with this plan.
I’ve also come to understand that when I’m gone for a few weeks on business the bill is dramatically less. So much so that she’s been known to skip the grocery shopping altogether. I suspect that shocking amounts of rice and beans are consumed during these periods, but cannot confirm such.
Having just returned from three weeks away, my wife and I went to the grocery store Saturday morning. I, as usual, ran some recycling to the recycling center and returned a cat toy that wasn’t particularly expensive or, I guess, interesting to the ca. I returned to the grocery store just in time to find my wife about to hit the checkout lane.
It was a banner trip to be sure. Our bill not only broke all previous grocery shopping trip records, it destroyed all previous records. It was approximately 80 percent higher than the previous record. I say approximately because — math. I have no idea how much, percentage-wise, higher it was, but it was a lot higher. The previous record was $140 and this Saturday’s purchase came in at $230. Basically, it blew the old record out of the water and onto land making it the king of the grocery-cost-list ocean by a long shot. (It is a 64.28571428571429 percent increase, according to this handy calculator because Google ~Fran)
As I said, I’d been gone for three weeks and she really hadn’t been shopping while I was out. There was also a lot of meat, cleaning supplies and candy that we both plan on torturing our coworkers with so yeah, the bill was going to be high. And, like I said earlier, we’re keeping the record of our weekly bill because a real hobby would require effort and energy.
We both laughed about it, discussed why it was so high and had forgotten about it by the time the groceries were loaded into the car.
I do recall that it took slightly longer than normal to unload the groceries though. It was a lot of stuff to be honest.
Cut to the next morning: I tend to wake up before my wife does when we are both allowed to sleep as late as we want. I get up, make the coffee, scratch where it itches and contemplate what it was I posted on Facebook after 15 beers the night before that has everyone so mad. You know, quality alone time.
Dagmar was up an hour or so later. I offered her a cup of coffee and we started to discuss the day’s events. Though I was never informed previously it turned out that I was going to spend my Sunday cleaning out the garage. Not a horrible fate, I like it in there. That’s where my beer fridge is after all.
Then she dropped the bombshell. She wanted to know if I could run to the grocery store again, to pick up some chicken. I agreed and trudged into the shower. I contemplated how, after running up a gargantuan (by our standards) $230 grocery bill for two people, how I could possibly have to go back there for more stuff the very next day? How is that possible? It seemed impossible, but here I was putting on pants and looking for my wallet.
When I went back downstairs the simple one-item shopping list had grown to seven items.
Incredible. Just incredible. I’ll be in the garage contemplating just how much I don’t know about running a household.