Grocery Shopping05 Jan 2011
With my wife and I both having busy and hectic schedules (well, hers is more hectic, mine is mostly pushing paper), coordinating grocery shopping is a constant challenge.
We have a completely low-tech method of compiling a grocery list: a piece of paper tacked to the side of the refrigerator where we note the staples we're running low on (although "running low" is relative, we could have 1-1/2 cartons of eggs in the house, and my wife will still add eggs to the list). When writing on paper on a sideways wall, there's a 10% chance of any particular item being illegible, just to add some randomness to the process.
Another source of randomness is whether one has remembered to bring the list to the store. This is quite logical; when leaving for work, one is thinking about the things one wants to do at work, not about the grocery list. When one is done at work, one thinks "I could buy groceries on the way home", but one doesn't have the list, and one has to wing it.
Now at this point some smarty-pants is going to tell us to use a mobile app to create a synced shopping list. But what would that mean? That means our shopping list would depend on the internet! What if the internet goes down? We wouldn't be able to go shopping, and we'd starve!
Sometimes I will go medium-tech and take a picture of the list with my cell phone. But this can lead to yet another complication: double shopping, since if I take a picture of the list, the list is still there for the next person. We then both spontaneously come up with of idea of going shopping at the same time without telling one another and we end up with 45 eggs in the house.
But once in a great while the system works. I remember to bring the list, everything is legible, everything is in stock at the store, and I can cross everything off the list. But invariably that evening we'll find we can't cook because something is missing and my wife will ask me incredulously, "How can you only buy what's on the list?"
Figuring out how to guess what should be on the list but isn't is an exercise left to the reader.