And Whatever Looks Good

“A box of Tide, a bottle of Dawn, and six cans of green beans.  And whatever looks good.”


That was my mother’s grocery list.


Many, many years ago my wife Jenni and I lived in San Antonio with access to huge warehouse grocery stores whereas my mother lived in a small town with limited options and she didn’t have a driver’s license.  When planning a shopping trip for ourselves, Jenni would always call my mother and ask her what she needed.  The above was her standard order.  We joked there was really no need to call!  (But the one time we didn't, she had an abundance of Tide!) And so we would procure those items and deliver them the next time we made the 70 mile trek to my childhood home.


But to be clear:  I am not a “whatever looks good” kind of shopper.  I leave that to Jenni.

Case in point:  This morning Jenni was preparing several meals to be frozen and delivered to a friend with a broken arm. There were a few items she needed to complete, or modify, the recipes and she said “I should just send you.”  I replied, “You really don’t want to do that.”  She realized her mistake.  So she’s at the store right now while I write this.

I don’t shop well.  If I’m asked to go to the store it should not be for more than three items without a written list.  I don’t handle substitutions well—I could never be a personal shopper.  If I do have a list I am going to stick to it and run the aisles with tunnel vision.  The impulse items at the check-out are never tempting because, other than batteries, they are never on my list.

This past weekend we went to town to buy a gift for our son’s birthday.  I had two stores in mind.  We purchased items at one.  It was suggested that I needed new shoes and should look while I was there.  But we had come to town for a birthday gift, not shoes.  That's an entirely different frame of mind. Even though I did have socks on, it just wasn’t going to happen.  We went to the second store for a gift card but they didn’t sell them.  I was now ready to go home.  I offered to drive my wife anywhere else she wanted to go while we were in the midst of civilization, but I think she knew I had reached my max for the day.

Shopping is just not my thing.  During the pandemic we started out doing it together—fast in, fast out!  After a year of that I learned that I was depriving my wife of some enjoyment as well as ‘alone time’.  Now, I usually tell her I will stay home and write.  (I better have something to show for my time!)

She does a great job of picking up ‘whatever looks good’ all by herself.


  • So true. Especially the three things and even then I forget one. The new trick is text me the list. But then I wind up with several messages and still miss something. Good job staying busy. Hmmm blog = stay home How do I get one of these.

  • Love you stories, David. I put myself firmly in the category with Jenni.

    Helen H. Ammons

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