Seven shopping mistakes to learn from


Last week was par for the course. My husband had found the ambition he needed to go down and work on the bathroom for a bit. I was having a staring contest with the refrigerator and the pantry cabinet, hoping some inspiration would take over and give me the answer to that age-old question I was facing that night and every night.

“What’s for dinner?”

After opening and closing the fridge and pantry doors several times and garnering a quizzical look from my 16-month-old that seemed to ask if I was inventing a new game for her to enjoy, I spotted some sliced baby mushrooms in the fridge and the dim bulb in my brain finally flickered on.

I checked the status of the other ingredients I would need and realized I was only missing one thing. Easy enough to get and easy on the grocery budget.

“I’m going to make beef stroganoff for dinner,” I announced to my husband. “I’ve got some mushrooms I need to use and the only thing I’m missing is sour cream. Can you watch Vivi while I run to the store?”

Vivi talked with delight about being in a room normally closed off to her. (Or at least that’s what I imagine she’s jabbering about.)

“Yeah, I guess, but I’d really like to get this done tonight,” he said.

Well, I knew that, cause when my husband finds his Bob Villa mojo, it’s best he’s not disturbed. He’s meticulous and focused. And since he was working on drywall — his least favorite project ever — I knew the mojo could vanish in the blink of an eye.

He set down the trowel and took Vivi out to the family room to play. From the sound of her protests, I gathered she wanted to stay and kick around in the dust instead.

“I’ll be right back,” I told her.

I grabbed my purse and keys and headed to the store.

Sour cream. That’s all I needed. I was hoping it would be on sale.

I parked the car and went on to make an egregious amount of mistakes.

First mistake: I glanced at the ad placed purposefully at the entrance of the store. That reminded me that we were running low on pork and beans so I decided I’d check on those, too.

Second mistake: I decided to take a shopping basket.

Third mistake: I walked down the wrong aisle and found myself looking at soups, which were on sale. Never mind that I have more condensed tomato soup than I will use in the next six months. The store brand was 50 cents a can. I grabbed four and moved on.

Fourth mistake (although this one’s not really my fault): Canned vegetables were on sale and were right next to the pork and beans, which were also on sale. I may have a basement full of canned goods, but since green beans are my husband’s favorite, I grabbed four of those, along with four cans of corn for good measure and four cans of the only thing I was originally going to check on.

Fifth mistake: I decided that since I had already blown my mission, I’d check on the price of toilet paper. That’s also something I know will get used, so if the price is right, it’s always time to stock up. But, no luck, toilet paper wasn’t on sale, so that saved some room in my basket.

Sixth mistake: I rounded the corner and walked by the milk cooler. Milk was on sale. Did I mention I have a 16-month-old? She seems to decide every other day or so that liquid diets are in vogue and milk is her drink of choice. So I grabbed a half gallon and finally made it to the sour cream.

None of it was on sale, so I picked up the smallest container they had and headed to the exit. Somehow, I made it from the dairy cooler to the cashier stands without adding anything else to my basket.

I paid and headed home.

As I was setting down the sacks, my husband told our daughter that “Mommy must have gotten lost.”

“No, I just can’t resist a good sale,” I responded.

I pulled out the sour cream and got to work while my husband informed me that since I was gone so long, there was no way he could finish what he wanted to finish so he was just going to play with Vivi.

“If that’s what you need to tell yourself, that’s fine,” I thought to myself.

Seventh mistake (or the very first, depending how you look at it): I never checked the mushrooms and when I pulled them out of the fridge, I realized they were no longer fit for consumption.

I was back to square one and had just wasted a precious 45 minutes with a “quick run to the store.”

At least I had options staring me in the face from grocery sacks on the counter.


Deann Stumpe

In her weekly column that runs Mondays in the Hastings Tribune, Deann Stumpe gabs about relationships, movies and TV, and life with a baby. She is the Tribune’s special sections editor.

Copyright © 2014