I always loved grocery shopping. Even after working at the local supermarket in high school and in the summer when I came home from college, I was never wary of the shiny linoleum aisles and well-stocked shelves.
This is because grocery shopping in a pleasant suburb is completely unlike shopping in New York. Suburban supermarkets get those cool, limited edition products (like peppermint Chobani) while NYC vendors sell crap you forgot existed (remember Kudos bars?). And then there are the prices. $7.99 for a half-gallon of ice cream. $4.99 for a gallon of milk. $7 for a carton of strawberries. All of these things are usually around $3 at my hometown grocery store.
At the store in my hometown, you can push a full-sized shopping cart down each wide aisle, taking your time to choose the right items. You can buy 12-pack cans of soda, 16-count packs of paper towels, and other heavy items, knowing you just have to wheel them out to your SUV and drive home, traffic-free. In New York, I can only buy what I can carry (unless I spring for an Uber).
But it gets worse…the crowds! I have never found NYC to be overwhelmingly crowded, except in midtown during the holidays. Trader Joe’s on a Saturday afternoon is unlike anything I’ve ever seen. When I lived in Brooklyn, the TJ’s closest to me would sometimes have a line of people outside, waiting to go in. Inside the store, the line wraps through the aisles–you’re better off grabbing a basket, hopping in line, and shopping as you weave throughout the store. Whole Foods has an insane (but effective) color-coded system for sending shoppers to open registers, but there is almost ALWAYS a line.
People say that living in a city is worth it for its conveniences, but man, oh man, what I wouldn’t give for an afternoon at Market Basket.