How often do you shop for groceries?
I don't mean for the last-minute half-gallon of milk or package of cigarettes from the convenience store, but the heavy-duty grocery shopping.
All the older siblings and their spouses appeared to shop once a week, filling up the automobile or van to the rafters.
I on the other hand have always emulated the parents, who shopped for groceries every single day excepting Sundays (but then and again, it needs pointed out franksolich has no spouse and dependents, so it's a somewhat different sort of thing).
In the town of circa 3,000 alongside the Platte River of Nebraska, where I spent my childhood, and in the town of circa 3,000 in the Sandhills of Nebraska, the routine of the parents never changed; they went to the grocery store every day (excepting Sundays), usually about 5:00 p.m., and until we were teenagers, hauled my younger brother and I along with them.
I wonder at times if perhaps it was more of a social thing, than a practical thing, as the parents seemed to take ample opportunity to chitchat with others on the premises, employees and customers alike, and to get a mere two bagfuls of groceries would take until nearly 6:00 p.m.
The haul never really amounted to more than that, a couple of those large paper sacks. Sometimes it was only one sack, but never less than that.
At the time my younger brother and I were little lads, the older siblings, of which there were many, were in their late teenaged and early college years; with such a houseful, I have no idea why grocery trips weren't larger expeditions.
Perhaps there were other trips, other haulings, that I didn't know about; after all, I was hardly the most perceptive kid around.
One also has to consider the time and place, a kinder, gentler era. Both towns had three "big" grocery stores and one mom-and-pop operation, each. The parents however always went to only one store, never the others. They got along with everybody in town, including the other grocers, but they always shopped at just one store, all the time.
This was also a time when customers and cashiers used to freely smoke cigarettes, customers while strolling down the aisles, the cashiers even while ringing up things in the cash-register. And the butchers (there were usually two) behind the meat counter, chopping away on wooden blocks, cigarettes dangling from their lips.
The parents were not much into "comparison shopping" or coupons, nor grocery lists. I suspect the lack of a list was okay because the parents always shopped together, and if one forgot something, the other would remember.
And, according to U.S. Department of Labor statistics, at the time the "average" household spent an "average" of 27% of the household income on food, not including eating out. (The current statistic, which includes eating out, is 8%.)
Food was high, but everything else was cheaper, and each kid needed only two pairs of shoes each year.