The perfect grocery store.
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Yesterday a trip to the grocery store was overdue. I dreaded it. I put it off, delaying the trip, and distracting myself with everything else, even laundry. By the time I made it to the grocery store I was in full-on rush mode, flying through grabbing what I could in the short time available before picking up my kids from school.
It brought about a stream of thoughts, wondering why I detested going to the grocery store so much. It is an expensive trip every time, for sure. That’s one thing I suppose. But it’s clean and safe, and there are nice people there. So why such dread?
What would make me want to go grocery shopping or at least help prod me out the door? With that thought in mind I began to create the perfect grocery shopping experience. What would make the perfect grocery store? There are a few stores that have nice features.
You know the ones.
The ones with cereal for $7 a box, or no reasonable paper products, so you end up going to the “regular” grocery store anyway to fill the gaps on the shopping list. Then there’s the store in the next county over that has my favorite coffee shop inside the store. But can I justify a trip 20+ minutes out of the way so I can clutch a giant mocha like it’s the consolation prize for having to endure the drudgery of grocery shopping?
Yes, I understand that grocery shopping is a chore. It’s something we all have to do at least once in a while. But why can’t it be fun too? I say it can.
Here are a few ideas to create my perfect grocery shopping experience. Please add any others you may have.
1. The basics. Clean stores, with wide aisles that can comfortably fit two cart widths, with wheel on those carts that don’t shake or rattle. That’s basic enough.
2. Pretty colors. This ain’t rocket science. Nice colors evoke nice feelings. Personally I’m into calming greens, blues and browns. But ask Martha. I’m sure she’d love to help.
3. Mood lighting. I hate overhead lighting. It’s necessary I know, but tone it down. There’s a store I get to occasionally that has mastered the lighting balance quite well. But they bomb on #1.
4. Music. How about a DJ? Let’s make it a party people. Take requests, have 80’s music shopping hour. There’s no reason we can’t bop to our favorite tune while cruising the aisles.
5. Electronic shopping carts. I’d really utilize a shopping cart with an electronic shopping list and layout of the store. Take the first five minutes in the store to check off needed items (or sync it with one you created at home) and if you leave that aisle missing an item, it lets you know you missed something there. And if you can’t find something, it will indicate with exact GPS positioning of your favorite item. You could also send in a song request to the DJ through your cart or order something from #6.
6. Coffee/smoothie bar. Yeah, I know, not very original. Many stores have this, but not all. It’s a must.
7. A different layout. Most grocery stores I visit have parallel rows. What if the store was laid out kinda like a wheel, with the DJ and coffee/smoothie bar in the center, and all rows radiating out from there? I can’t tell you how many times I forget something on row 1, to only realize it on row 20 (although #5 would help avoid that). If the store is laid out differently you could go up and down rows from a central point and scoot over to row (or spoke) 1 much more easily.
8. No more member cards. I’m spending money people. I should get the best deal you offer because I walked through the doors, not because I filled out a card with my personal information for you to share with who knows. Plus, grocers, if you have #4 and #6, I’ll be back anyway without feeling like I have to go there because I have a special card that gets me in on the deals.
Well, that’s a good start. I could only come up with 8 right now. Would be nice to have a nice round list of 10, but i’m sure you’ve got a few ideas of your own.
Care to share? Let’s create the perfect grocery store, even if it only exists in our dreams.
Happy shopping! Maybe we can meet up for shopping sometime and visit as we stroll the aisles.
I think my biggest complaint is just that anything that’s actually healthy for you is more expensive than the “convenience” products. I’m trying more and more to do most of my shopping at farmer’s markets, and only fill in the gaps at the grocery store. But even so I’m with you; I’d really like to shop at a store with wide aisle and a comfortable atmosphere. And yes a coffee bar is a must. 🙂
I’ve always wanted a grocery store that prices things based on nutritional value. The better it is for you the cheaper it is, the worse the more expensive. It would make staying on budget and being healthy so much easier. You would think twice about those $45 cookies, but not the $0.06 plums.
If I could have that AND a DJ I would be in heaven.
Love #5…what a brilliant idea…imagine if you could blue tooth your list from say your phone to the shopping cart…fab! Oh please someone invent this!
I love a grocery store. I agree wide aisles is a must. We have one whose aisles are like spokes in a wheel and I can never find anything in that store. You cannot look down the row and see what’s there. I also like a really great produce section. I could spend all day looking at produce.
There’s your money maker! Create the electronic cart. Show up, and there’s your shopping list with the aisle where it’s located next to it.
I’ve always wondered why sometimes the same product (different brands and prices) are scattered throughout. I’m always second-guessing myself on what’s the best option.
And being able to request a song? Hell yeah!
I like the wheel spoke lay-out that is a great idea! I would say I must be pretty lucky to live in the land of Meijer “one stop shopping” Meijers is only in the midwest mainly in Michigan. They have it all…almost. Amy I think you need to contact PigglyWiggly and get them movin on your ideas! Cha-Ching$$
#5 is pure genius! You should sell that idea, it’s that wave of the future. How amazing would it be if we never had to search for an item all over the store or spend time trying to track down an employee that can actually tell us where the stuff we are looking for is! I’m serious, this is gold.
Oh my. I adore grocery shopping. It’s the highlight of my week (well, bi-month). The only thing I ask for is a well-stocked store. I want fresh lemongrass. I want 5-6 kinds of mushrooms. I want bulk bins of grains.
I don’t even notice the music, honestly. My mind is so totally focused on everything around me, especially if I venture into a new store. It makes me so happy. So, if you’re ever in a store and see someone meandering the aisles oblivious to everyone and everything except the shelves in front of her; that’s me.
I love your photos. Especially the artichokes. And leeks at the bottom. Don’t suppose you’d tell me where that is, would you? 🙂
I am all about the lighting and displays. I want things to be visually appealing.
It doesn’t hurt if the place smells nice, either.
A. I WANT:
1. A Traders’ Joes
2. A Whole Foods Store
B. I WANT:
1. Someone to do my grocery shopping for me.
C. I WANT:
1. Someone to unload those groceries
a. and put them away for me
D. I WANT
1. Someone to cook those groceries
a. preferably healthy meals
E. I WANT
1. Someone to clean the kitchen
a. for that matter, just clean the whole house
F. See A and repeat
I’m so bad at forgetting something from aisle #1, when I’m now in aisle #9. Your spoked layout sounds fabulous to me!! And I agree…just give me your best price. No cards, no special coupons required!
Love this post. 🙂
The coffee bar is very important. It’s just about the only time during the week that a buy a coffee. It makes me feel like my grocery trip has a tiny element of luxury. Silly, but you do what you have to!
I particularly like the grocery stores that sort of look “natural”… like a farmers market inside. Narrower row though!
#5 is absolutely BRILLIANT. I would kill to have that!!
Number five rocks my world. 😉
Mine too Amanda!
I love this. I’m also totally curious as to what store you were at, as someone who used to frequently shop with my then boyfriend at SC grocers.
My list includes all of those things, but my biggest pet peeve is when people have so many but fail so terribly at another. For instance, we have a fantastic store here that is pleasant to walk through, has great selection, is borderline luxurious, and then the carts are terrible and the whole system is not set up for people with kids at. all. Even when I’m only bringing the two I have left at home during the day, I want to cry a little thinking about going there with them. Experience ruined. Trader Joe’s provides a similar experience with their carts that threaten to tip over every time one of my kids sneezes.