Grocery Getter

In high school I drove the family station wagon, which we’d dubbed The Grocery Getter. I’ve never owned a car of my own, but I have to admit cars really do make good grocery getters. Especially when you’re doing back to school shopping. For the weekly trip to the farmers’ market my bike is a great option, but when bulk buying it’s great to have a car. This time around I decided to do my back to school shopping with Car2Go. Typically I would have done this with Getaround and in the future I probably will since it’s cheaper, but I like giving a little notice with Getaround and this was a fairly spontaneous trip. As I noted in Smart Phone + Smart Car = Smart Errands, Car2Go is great for opportunistic autoing.

I just stocked up on cat food at the pet store and realized that if I had a car I could pick up plenty of tasty, healthy food to get me through Winter Term, too. I found the nearest Car2Go just a couple blocks away and drove it to Grocery Outlet. I parked on a quiet street and decided to take my chances with someone else snagging the car while I was in the store. I ended my trip on the Car2Go menu and headed into the store with my bag o’ cat food. Now, Portland is a strange enough place that people don’t really think you’re weird walking into a grocery store with a bag of cat food, so if you have qualms about this, sorry, but golly I am grateful for our practical quirkiness!

Have I ever told you how much I love Grocery Outlet? There’s a great natural and organic section. Some of my staple foods (almond milk, Franz bread, local tortillas, Tillamook cheese, butter, and yogurt) are available for a fraction of regular price. I often think of Grocery Outlet (which my friends and I affectionately refer to as the Groc Out pronounced “Gross Out”) as a thrift store for food. (Remember, thrift stores are cool here, so this is a good thing!) You never know quite what you’ll find (why hello, chocolate hazelnut spread, agave syrup, dolmas, smoked salmon, artichoke dip, etc.) but it’s always a good deal. Of course, you might never be able to find your new favorite flavor again. Yup, turns out I’m the only one who is obsessed with Ben & Jerry’s Mission to Marzipan Ice Cream. That’s why they’re discontinuing it and why I’m getting such a good deal. What’s wrong with you people?! This stuff is delicious! Maybe if I buy all of it they’ll reconsider. Wait, no, now I have a mini fridge. It was a nice thought… Oh, oh, they also have my favorite vitamins. Kids chewables, how I love thee. Hey, don’t judge! Years ago when I was complaining to a friend that I HATE swallowing giant multivitamins, she simply said, “So don’t. You’re little like me and I still take kids vitamins.” This was utter brilliance. I LOVED taking my vitamins as a kid. I would beg for them. “Minimum! Minimum!” I would shriek before I could say the word properly. I wanted to gobble them up. But I was limited to one a day. Now that I’m a grown up I figure I can eat two of them every day. Ta da! I win!

Mama always said not to shop on an empty stomach. And she was right, of course. I wanted to eat ALL the delicious food! But a hearty appetite is a good thing when stocking up. It’s hard to do a big shopping trip during crunch time so I love filling my pantry before school starts back up and doing weekly trips for fresh stuff like produce, yogurt, and bread. As my cart filled up I realized that if someone had snagged MY Car2Go I was going to have a hard time getting my groceries home by bus. I checked the handy app on my phone and was relieved that MY Car2Go was still there. So I reserved it for myself, picked a few more groceries and then checked out. The checker had no problem at all with me having a bag of already-paid-for-somewhere-else cat food there, too.

I had way more than I could comfortably carry at this point so I loaded up my Car2Go and headed over to Trader Joes. This time on the Car2Go menu I made a stopover rather than ending my trip. I picked up a bunch of dried fruit, nuts, seeds, and some produce and loaded that into the car, too. While I was packing up I explained the Car2Go concept to people, one right after the other. I told them that most people who have cars don’t find Car2Go very useful but those of us who don’t have cars love it!