Journey through a Grocery Store

This blog is a place for me to share my musings. Some of the topics I think about are more serious. They range from current events to my career to choices I make for my family. But sometimes I think about more trivial matters, like how many times my carton of milk or bag of apples travels around before they are consumed by my family. More specifically, I think about my regular travels through a grocery store and the many steps that are taken to get those items from the grocery store shelves to my fridge and pantry. Have you ever thought about this?

I will walk you through the process.

While I know the actual food production and distribution process begins days, weeks or sometimes months before I even step into the grocery store, this post is about the actual grocery store experience. I am going to use a carton of milk as the focus of this post. However, I never go into a store and only buy milk. Anytime I enter a grocery store, whether I have a long list to cover for a week of groceries or only a few items, I always find a way to load up my cart and spend at least $100.

My first step, once I park my car, is to pull out my “bag of bags,” which is my huge pile of reusable grocery bags. I grab a cart, place the bags under such cart and enter the store. Again, let’s stick to the example of a carton of milk.

I head over to the refrigerated section and find the milk. I pick up the carton of milk and put it in my cart. This is its first step on its journey from grocery store to my home. I wander around the store to pick up everything I need and walk over to the checkout line.

When it’s my turn, the milk takes its second step and goes from the cart to the grocery checkout conveyer. Then the grocery store clerk lifts it and places it in one of my many grocery bags. Then I place the milk, in the bag, back in my cart.

Once I have paid for my groceries, I roll my cart through the exit and over to my car. Now the milk, in the grocery bag, goes into the trunk of my car. I get in my car, and the milk and I drive home. How many steps is that so far? If my math is correct, that’s five steps.

Once I arrive home I take the carton of milk, which is in a grocery bag, in my trunk, and I carry it inside to my kitchen. Step six. I take the milk out of the grocery bag and place it in the fridge, where it will stay until it is consumed by my family, which is step 7.

You may be asking now, so what’s your point? I don’t have one. There are just random thoughts that swirl through my head sometimes, in particular when I wander through a grocery store. I pick up that carton of milk and put it down and move it around so many times before I drink it. Same for the apples. Actually, there are more steps with apples. I start by placing those apples in a clear plastic bag before they hit my cart. And I don’t just place that bag in my fridge – I take the apples out of their bag and put them in the crisper in my fridge. So many steps!

So those are the random thoughts that were in my head on my most recent visit to the grocery store. I wonder what I will think about next.

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