I don’t think most people would consider grocery shopping as an “escape,” but when I go to , I kind of feel like it is.
Of course, it certainly does help that my children are 11 and 14 and rarely accompany me to the market anymore. I remember a certain power struggle with my very independent–and defiant–daughter when she was a toddler and refused to get into the shopping cart at the tiny Trader Joe’s by our old house. We'd sit outside on the curb next to the carts for an entire ten minutes until she agreed to get in. (I remember telling her that I’d sit out there all day if I had to, but there was no way she was going to walk the aisles of that very crowded and spatially challenged store.)
“I see that you won,” I recall an elderly woman saying to me after we'd entered the store. Yes I had, but that was certainly no escape!
But these days I look forward to walking up and down the spacious aisles of our Trader Joe’s. The flowers that greet you when you walk inside the front door always make me smile.
I love to walk up the produce aisle and pick out fruits and vegetables for the week. Will I be roasting cauliflower coated with olive oil, lemon juice and parmesan or making sweet potato fries? Should I get romaine lettuce or a bag of spinach and arugula? And I will definitely need pomegranate seeds to mix into my Greek yogurt. (Mmmmm!)
I always treat myself to a tiny cup of their featured coffee (with lots of cream of course–I don’t think calories count for samples!) and try whatever it is their kitchen is cooking. I have a binder full of their sample kitchen recipes, and one of these days I even plan on making one or two of them!
Trader Joe’s frozen food aisle makes my life as a busy mom much easier. Frozen green beans, Mandarin orange chicken, organic brown rice (that only takes three minutes in the microwave) are staples at my house.
I always run into a girlfriend or two at Trader Joe’s and will take the time to chat while sipping my coffee. I’m starting to feel a little disconnected now that my kids are out of elementary school, so TJ’s is a great place to catch up on the news of the neighborhood.
And, of course, I could get lost in their wine section. This great escape artist really does enjoy relaxing with a glass of wine at the end of the day, and Trader Joe’s vast and interesting selection always makes me happy.
The employees at the store genuinely seem happy and friendly–as if they really enjoy their job–and checking out is always a pleasure. And they almost always call me “Miss;” you know, instead of ma’am!
Grocery shopping may be a necessary chore, but if I’ve got to do it, it's nice to do it somewhere where the people are friendly, the atmosphere is lively, and I feel as if I’ve truly escaped.