I recently joined the Park Slope Food Coop and assumed a shift as a cashier, which is both exhilarating and terrifying. I am expected to do simple math in high-pressure situations. I am expected to maintain focus as I ring up the endlessly fascinating purchases of my fellow Co-Op members (elk meat, salmon jerky, lamp oil, 80 baby bok choy). I am expected to smile at strangers.
But my short time as a cashier has already taught me a simple, life-easing grocery shopping tip: The whole process will goes more smoothly when you treat your cart like a dresser rather than a dump-truck—that is, when you don't throw the potato chips on top of the bag of potatoes on top of the bag of frozen blueberries. And sadly, when you don't pretend you are a contestant on "Supermarket Sweep."
Instead, as you shop, help out your future cashier or bagger help you—by grouping the groceries in your cart by where they live in your kitchen: Keep the refrigerated with the refrigerated; the dry goods with the dry goods; the potatoes, onions, and other counter-top dwellers together; the fragile vegetables in another section of your cart (preferably that protected upper level); and so on and so forth. Then, unpack your cart with these groups in mind, too, so that the friendly cashier can place them in bags in an organized fashion that'll ultimately make it faster for you when you're unpacking at home.
Not only will it ease the checkout process and unpacking processes, keeping your cart neat will ultimately mean fewer damaged and dented groceries.
How do you make grocery shopping as pain-free as possible? Tell us in the comments below.