Grocery shopping is a drag. For me the experience of shopping at a store feels unnatural. I'm in my element at a farmers market and shop with great ease, but put me indoors with florescent lights and lots of packaging and my mind goes blank. One small bright note for me in going to the store is discovering someone's shopping list in the bottom of the cart. I play a game where I try to figure out who the author of the note might be and what occasion it is they're shopping for. For instance, a bachelor doing his daily shopping or someone shopping for a party. I love combing the clues.
I had an epiphany the other day when I found a list in my cart (shown above). When I'm stumped for what to buy I could just use a found list. Mind you the list would have to be acceptable, but in the case of the one shown above I think it's a pretty good find. Are they going to cook the fish with the shallots? Will they be making a bean salad that includes the cilantro? Will there be an appetizer platter with the carrots, zucchini, cherry tomatoes, cheese and crackers? Hmmm. What are the cabbage and chard for? Maybe they'll sautee some of the veggies to have with the fish. Anyway, I think it's a pretty good list to fill in my shopper's block (like writer's block).
Then I had another idea. I was drifting up and down the aisles aimlessly the other day when I noticed this one guy had a fetching selection in his cart. He kept popping up on the same aisle as me, each time with a few more appealing items added to his cart. Wow, I could just shadow him. I'll follow him around the store and buy whatever he's buying. Heh!
Well, I was watching The Graham Norton Show the other night with guests Hamish and Andy, and what do you know, they do a thing on the streets called "ghosting". I myself don't see the point (in truth, I love these guys). I think my version is much more productive. What do these guys get out of it? A few chuckles. With my version you get at least one meal out of it. Maybe several, depending on who you choose to shadow at the market. Important tip: try to choose someone who appears to be in the same class as you. I'm talking money. You don't want to follow someone around who is wearing $200 jeans if you're a thrift store dresser. You'll end up with a hefty tab at the check-out. So yes, I'm giving you permission to profile people. Make assumptions about them based on their clothes, accessories and haircut. If you feel like stepping out of your grocery comfort zone choose a college student. Preferably an art student, if you really want to experiment. I'll be reporting back on my results. Cheers and happy new shopping!