Hitting the local supermarket doesn’t have to be a stressful experience. The key to mastering your grocery store domain? Knowing the common mistakes that are made, even by the best of us, when navigating the supermarket aisles. So what are these grievous grocery faux pas?
Not making a list
We’ve all been there — sailing through the supermarket aisles, all willy-nilly without a proper list of the items we’re after. And what have we learned? It’s a surefire way to come home with items we don’t need, and it doubles the grocery bill. Before heading to the store, examine your fridge and cupboards, jot down the essentials you’ve run low on, and make some plans for meals that use things you already have on hand (especially the produce you still have in your veggie drawer). Don’t forget to check toilet paper and cleaning supplies!
Forgetting that items appear in more than one place
Feta cheese, an item we go through quite a bit of in my house, can be found in no fewer than four completely different sections of my supermarket. The high-end stuff is in the cheese section, the produce department stocks organic offerings next to other popular salad toppers, the olive bar has fresh blocks sold by the pound, and there’s a wide range of feta cheese all the way across the store next to the shredded cheeses and cheese sticks. Not surprisingly, the hardest ones to find are the most affordable. Knowing this trick of the stores can save you money and can help you find the products you’re really looking for. My local store also keeps my beloved Irish Kerrygold butter not with the butter, but across the store in the cheese section, alongside Kerrygold cheeses. Go figure.
Not double-checking your receipts
Is it a conspiracy by the big box corporate fat cats to overcharge you 30 cents for a jar of pickles? Is your overworked and understaffed local grocery store not staying on top of updating the computer system? No matter the reason, incorrect charges on your receipt are far more likely to happen than you realize — especially if you haven’t been checking your receipt as you leave the store. Common errors include items scanned twice, sale prices not being reflected, and coupons not scanning properly. Take the extra minute or two to peruse your receipt before you leave the parking lot. When you spot an error, go straight to the customer service desk, not your original cashier.
If it’s a coupon issue, bring the item associated with the coupon with you to show you bought the correct brand and item. Yes, you’ll be that person. You’re just doing what’s right.