A young friend of mine will be getting married soon, and I feel I need to have a talk with him.
Most young husbands have no idea what they are in store for during those first few weeks, to say nothing of the months and years, of marriage. One of the early stumbling points for those husbands in training is the dreaded honey-do list. (As in, "Honey do this, honey do that.")
One of the items on all husbands' honey-do lists concerns going to the supermarket for their wives. For the most part, the supermarket is like a foreign country, yet wives figure we have some sort of sixth or seventh sense about knowing where something like white almond bark should be.
Over the years (on second thought, make that decades), I have formulated a battle plan for those trips to the supermarket. It's a blueprint I will soon share with my young friend to let him know there are five key steps to follow that will help in turning a negative into a positive -- while keeping your sanity.
1. Be patient: When you enter one of those massive supermarket parking lots and there are no empty spaces for what seems acres, be patient. Drive around the lot, staying as close to the front of the store as possible. At some point, some other shopper will be leaving and you can grab a close parking spot. It's all in the game. Just stay the course and you'll get a decent parking spot.
2. Be alert: If at all possible, park near one of those cart return areas, preferably right beside one. This isn't always possible, especially on a busy day at ye olde grocery, but if you can snare one of those parking spots, it will save walking a half-mile to return your cart after unloading your bags of groceries in your vehicle. On a rainy day, this can be invaluable.
3. Be smart: When entering the supermarket, first go to the snack aisles and other areas that interest you. Buy the stuff you want the most first, then worry about all of the other boring items. A trick to remember is always go to the supermarket hungry -- you'll be thankful later that night when you have that extra bag of chips you might not have bought because you went to the store with a full stomach.
4. Be friendly: Always allow yourself an extra 15 minutes to chat with friends you might run into or store employees who have become your buddies over the years. You know those conversations are going to happen, so be prepared ahead of time and enjoy them.
5. Be smart, part 2: Never go to the supermarket without your phone. You'll need it to text or send a picture to your wife to help clarify a purchase you may have a question about. This also comes in handy when you can't read your wife's handwriting or understand her shorthand. (Who knew that "cheese" and "cake" did not mean buy a cheesecake, but rather a packet of cheddar cheese and a white cake mix? Wives often think husbands can automatically read their minds.)
And when your shopping duty is finally finished, you'll be grateful that your car is close to the building and (hopefully) next to a cart return. I hope my young friend listens closely to our conversation.