Doin' It Halfway Since 1996

being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus

Late Night Rendezvous

It was a normal Monday afternoon, like any other. I was running a few errands with my girls when I saw it. The sign. The store hours.

“Open 24 hours”.

I had forgotten that in some places in the United States, there are grocery stores open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week (they don’t exist in small towns and Alaska).

But there it was. Right next to the bin with the apples.

B.H. (Before husband) and B.C. (Before Children), I used to LOVE going grocery shopping late at night, sometimes in the wee hours of the morning. I don’ t know why. Maybe it’s because all the really interesting people come out late at night. Maybe it’s because the store is empty. Maybe it’s because I like being alone (I’m one of those weird people who has no problems going to a movie by myself).

So I had a thought. What if I did my grocery shopping at midnight? I mean, the store’s open. The kids are asleep. Hubs is home. It is the perfect time for a night owl stay at home mom like me to go grocery shopping.

So I shared my thought with my husband. And after he finished laughing at me, he agreed that it might not be a bad idea.

So, I did it. I put the kids down for the night (or at least a few hours because none of them sleep all through the night . . . ever. That’s a whole other post entirely). I grabbed my coupons and headed to the store.

I turned the corner and whoa, prime parking. There was the parking lot, in all its empty glory, giving me my choice of any parking spot I wanted. I didn’t have to compete with the grandma who wants to park as close to the store as possible. There was no game of  chicken with the lady on her lunch break who is running in just to get a few things. Except for the entourage of college students huddled outside the store puffing on some cigarettes, all was quiet.

Like any good American, I parked as close to the store as I possibly could. I walked into the store, grabbed my cart and commenced the shopping experience. Do you know how it good it feels to compare prices without a child vying for your attention? You don’t? Well let me tell you, it feels pretty darn fantastic. I like to take my time. I like to see what my options are. I don’t like to be rushed into my purchases, even if those purchase are just groceries. I compared the name brand over the counter drugs to the generic store brand. I looked at my coupons to see if they were really going to save me money. I got first pick of the Manager’s Special discount items. I actually went down the candy aisle without a meltdown. Well, there was an internal meltdown because I told myself, “No, we didn’t come to the store today to get that Ghiradelli chocolate.” I rationalized with inner two year old, and then moved on.

I did feel a little odd, as I was one of the few in the store who was actually pushing a cart. Apparently, most people who shop at that hour are singles who need no more than a carried basket. Or people who are just running in to get a single item like diapers or milk or ice cream. I soon got over it and just enjoyed having the store practically to myself.

One annoyance was the maintenance man who was changing the light bulbs at the front of the store. His light bulb fixing contraption made a high-pitched beeping noise. However, I’m a mom. To three little girls. I am an expert at tuning out annoying high pitched noises.

My favorite part of my shopping trip however, was the frozen section. In this particular store, the lights in the freezer had some sort of motion detection. The aisles were fairly dim, but as soon as I stepped toward the aisle, a section of the freezer lit up. As I ventured further down the aisle, sections kept lighting up. I felt like I was on the red carpet or I was walking on a deck of the Starship Enterprise. I’m not sure how those two correlate. In some alternate universe it would be like Carrie Bradshaw on the arm of Jean Luc Picard. It made me special. Like the freezer section was saying, “Welcome. We’re so glad you’re here. Let us show you our selection.” And we don’t care that you’re wearing sweats and flip flops.

All in all, my late night trip to the grocery store brought back fond memories of my single days, when the basket was lighter, and the total on the receipt was a much smaller number. However, it was abundantly clear that I was not a single lady doing my shopping in the middle of the night. A jumbo pack of toilet paper? Check. A couple packages of diapers. Check. Check. A container of generic Tums? Check.

I shouldn’t need to go to the grocery store any time soon. I stockpiled enough to get me through to possibly Christmas. But if I do, you can bet your pretty little head that  I’m going to do it without the kids. I’m going to go at midnight. And I’m going to go in my pajamas.


2 responses to “Late Night Rendezvous

  1. Renee Ann December 1, 2010 at 2:19 pm

    Love this idea! I don’t have kids to worry about but I’ve always hated the crowds–especially at this time of year. I may have to get my mom settled down for the night and take off for some alone time in my local Shop Rite!

  2. Erin December 13, 2010 at 11:03 pm

    So, right now, Emma is sleeping next to me on the couch because, well, because her little sister is three (which I know you know means she’s been onery and won’t let her school-age-no-napping-sister get enough meltdown-preventing…oh, I mean, beauty sleep), and I am laughing out loud at so many different things in your post that Emma wakes up. “What are you doing being so loud while I’m sleeping, Momma?”

    If only we lived closer…. I am all over the midnight grocery shopping (but hubby won’t let me go it alone…doesn’t want me getting abducted and all that good stuff).

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