“Ten-Four, good buddy”

When I was a teenager, my brother was into CB radio stuff. He’d talk with truckers as they passed through our area, and “Ten-Four” was CB slang for “I hear you.”

I have officially adopted the Ten-Four method of grocery shopping, and so far, so good. It’s taken about of month of figuring, planning, and shopping with two carts, BUT this past week I was able to document that the Ten-Four method had reduced my grocery time by 35%!!! This is significant and I will now explain.

For years, Andrew and I did the grocery shopping together. [Note: “Together” means that I decided what to get, put it in the cart, and paid for it. Andrew pushed the cart through the store, put all the stuff all up onto the belt, put all the bags back into the cart, pushed the cart out to the Durango, loaded all the groceries into the Durango, carried all the groceries into the house, and (with very little help from me) put the groceries away.] But then he started attending school, and since mid-August, I’ve been doing the whole enchilada myself. Slowly. Very, very slowly.

It takes me a heckuva lot longer to do it alone, most of a morning, actually. And when I’m done, I’m beat!

Here’s the scoop. From the time I leave the house until the time I have it all put away is consistently two and-a-half hours, or 150 minutes. After spending several weeks working the kinks of out of the system, on the last Wednesday of March, I worked as fast as I could and managed to do it in . . . 138 minutes, a discouraging 92% of the time it used to take. Sigh and major UGH!

But then last week, I did the whole job in 97 minutes, which was only 65% of the time it used to take! I’m making progress.

We have plenty of pantry, fridge, and freezer space, so my basic plan is to walk through the house and look at each item and ask myself, “Do we have enough of this (Rotel or Frosted Mini-Wheats or mayonnaise or orange juice or shredded cheddar, etc.) to last ten days?” If yes, I don’t buy any. If no, I buy enough to last four weeks. Hence the Ten-Four method.

This means that instead of buying one or two of forty different things, I may buy five or six of only fifteen different things. The result is that:

~ I don’t necessarily have to go up and down every aisle every week, saving quite a bit of time while shopping.

~ The bagging and loading into the trunk is somewhat less complicated, which may save a tiny bit of time.

~ The putting away is greatly simplified in that I have to make fewer trips to the various food storage areas and do less product rotation, saving a LOT of time.

Granted, it is somewhat embarrassing to arrive at the checkout with six gallons of milk, eight packages of cheese, four bags of potato chips, four bags of tortilla chips, and ten cans of juice concentrate (because this is the week to stock up on milk, cheese, crunchies, and juice – but NOT on lunch meat, bread, condiments, or apples), but that’s OK because I am working hard on caring less about what other people think of me, as long as I am living well. After all, they don’t have to go home and put it all away, and if I can be done at 10:15 AM, instead of at 11:00 AM, I have just bought myself a full 45 minutes to do something that’s either more important, more enjoyable, or more fulfilling than dealing with groceries.

Time is so precious, and I want to use it well. Ten-Four, good buddy!

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