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This is the first part of my "bachelor's guide" series. Sorry for the lack of self taken pictures... but wal*mart is closed due to snow damage to the roof, and my local shopping center has been over crowded... however, I will include basic pictures which give you the idea.

This instructable will give you a step-by-step guide on how to successfully go grocery shopping and always come home with what you need.

We will start with a list, then go on to setting up a game plan, shopping etiquette, check-out, and then bringing the groceries in.

Step 1: The List

My greatest suggestion throughout this whole instructable, is to make a list. They seem old school, and pointless.. you know what you need right? Trust me, you don't.

I keep my list attached to my fridge by magnet, anytime I run out of something, I write it on my list; Anytime I want something special (cookies, chips, oranges); Or anything else I may need... is just a simple few words on the list.

Keep this list neat... and make sure you give yourself lots of space between each entry, I will provide why next.

Step 2: The Game Plan

Most grocery stores, have the same basic setup shown below if you have ever been to your local store apply my map to your store accordingly. Not all stores are the same, but they typically carry the same basic layout. This layout is designed specifically to maximize your purchases... based on your buying habits... that being said, every town has their own buying habits thus there are different layouts (how do you know if you are in a well off town, if the TV/Electronics department is at the very back of your Wal*Mart in the middle, otherwise Wal*Mart will place it on the far left).

On that list you are also going to want keep track of prices when you buy things... instead of crossing things off put the price that you paid next to it. That way you know what you will be paying at the register, and also when you are making your list for next trip... you can have a budget set up.

After you have your list completed, make sure that you look into what you are going to buy and where it is in the store to maximize your efficiency. If you can write down isle numbers next to each item that would be best.

Step 3: Shopping Etiquette

Unless you want to find yourself being beat over the head by a purse... this is the best step to follow, and trust me, this is based on personal experiences after having WAY to many women scoff at me for not understanding the unspoken rules of shopping.

- Always keep your cart tucked as close to the side of the isle as possible

- Make sure to follow local driving rules (ie drive on the right side or left side, and right-of-way rules)

- If you are currently deciding which type of an item to purchase, and that item is on the oppisite side of the isle... make sure that you park your cart a few feet up from you so people can still get around you while you are deciding. If that item is on the same side of the isle, make sure that you are not "parked" next to another person doing the same thing, otherwise do as listed above.

- When you are "turning out of an isle" you do not have right-of-way (just like rule 2), make sure that its clear, than go.

- When you are not in an isle and are pushing your cart along the back or front, and you see someone trying to pull out... just let them out... This pleases the shopping gods, and Shopping Karma is something you can never get too much of.

- If you see someone EXAMINING the last of an item you want... you can look at the items next to it, however, do not just take the item thinking they might not actually want it.

- Know if you want paper or plastic when approaching the teller, look at his/her nametag and just say "Good morning/afternoon/evening (John) plastic/paper would be awesome".

- Always have your preferred method of payment ready. No one wants a guy fumbling for his checkbook and waiting for them to fill it out, this should already be done.

- If you are out in the parking lot, make sure to put your cart in the location they are supposed to go. Typically shopping centers do not make these very far apart... and it goes to your shopping karma. If you see someone else taking their cart, while you are taking yours, go ahead and take the cart for them.

Step 4: Check-Out

Long lines are the devil, and this is the best way to avoid long lines.

If you do not have anything that needs to be weighed, and you don't have a million items in your cart... the best way to avoid those long lines is go the customer service desk (the one that sells the cigs and lotto tickets). They typically can ring you up just like any of the normal checkouts. At wal*mart (Super Centers), go to the jeweler, and they will do it for you.

Please follow the rules according to shopping on the step above for getting yourself ready.

Make sure that when you put your items on the conveyer belt (if you had not used the Cust Service desk), that you have a divider between you and the person in front of you. Sometimes you feel that if there is a big enough gap, everyone will understand that they are two separate orders, however, I was nearly beat up by a midget (no joke)... saying "Stop effing trying to put your crap in my order" they had already rang up his stuff, it was quite obvious that they were two separate orders... however, rule of thumb, if you don't want to be beat up by a midget... put one of those dividers up.

Step 5: Bringing in Your Grocries

What I like to do is take the heaviest items first on my arm then take the fragile items in my hands... that way I can carry all my grocries in at once.

NOTE: Don't do this if you know its going to hurt you, and know your limit.

Put everything on the table/counter and put your frozen/refrigerated goods away first. Now that you have everything else, make sure that you organize things by how you use them, there is no point in putting flower in a place that’s is a spot that you can easily reach if your not a baker, however, putting salt and pepper there would be a great choice.

So there you go... you have now successfully completed shopping!!
You forgot something! Read the sale flyers! You can save tons of money by shopping sales. Everything from produce to meat to non-perishables. Stock up on stuff like cereal and peanut butter and Kraft Dinner when it's cheap and you can save hundreds or thousands a year.
That is very true... Sale flyers are great, but if bachelors are like me, they don't get the paper, thus do not get the weekly ads. Which is why it was not included.
Ah, but you can usually check them online, too.
Touche my friend
:) Just trying to help!
What isle was the baby on. Good instrutable, should shorten many a trip for food.
:) I hear its isle 13 where I am at... I hear in china, you have to go to the overstock/discount department ;) Thanks for the positive feedback!

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