Supermarket Sweep: How to Achieve the 15 Minute Grocery Shop

Quick Grocery Shopping

How do you feel about grocery shopping? Do you love it? Could you spend hours meandering down the aisles, chatting with neighbors, delicately squeezing each melon before you buy it? Yes? Then this post probably isn't for you.

Me on the other hand? I have a need for speed. Under the right conditions I can actually achieve a 15 minute grocery shop for the week. It isn't pretty, but I can show you how to get it done.

Here are some tips:
Plan, plan, plan
1. Unless you have a photographic memory, do not go in there without a list. Plan out each meal and organize your list by sections in the grocery store/store layout.
2. Leave your husband and kids at home. Seriously, this is key.
3. Select the ideal grocery store. Characteristics include: low traffic, standard layouts found in the larger chain stores, wide aisles, stores that maintain consistency.
4. Keep your 15 minute grocery shop list similar- stick with the classics, same brands, etc. Again, consistency is key and you'll become very familiar with specific locations. A word of caution - when products you're looking for are out, be prepared to make a quick decision.

Visualize
5. For each 15 minute grocery shop session I will visualize my path through the store, including where I'll pick up most of my items. Luckily, I shop mostly on the outside of the store layout (product, meats, some packaged goods, dairy, frozen). This will help you to eliminate backtracking, a surefire time-killer.

Keep Moving
6. Wear something comfortable if you can. Yoga pants and sneakers aren't a bad idea, afterall, I liken my 15 minute grocery shops to a workout. Last timeI was in work attire, but still made it happen. Don't let that hold you back.
7. Drive your cart at a decent clip. This is the one that embarasses my husband to no end. Also a reason why I have a 'No Husbands Allowed' policy.
8. Limit eye contact and definitely avoid small talk. Visit a grocery store on the outskirts of town if this will be a problem for you.

A few parting notes. 
- Play the first 30 seconds of Eye of the Tiger in your car before heading into the store.
- Getting this done in 15 minutes is not easy, it's going to take some focus and energy. Caffeine helps.
- When I first started my 15 minute grocery shops, I included the checkout process in my time. Unless you want to develop an ulcer or have a panic attack, don't count checkout time as part of your 15 minutes. You'll be foiled every time.
- I save these for special occasions of limited time and/or patience to grocery shop. The rest of the time I'm just like you: no plan, husband and child in tow (I hope you're picturing us in matching Supermarket Sweep sweatshirts), driving around in an oversized kid-pleasing car cart. It takes an hour. I spend way too much money on impulse purchases. Boooo. Everyone loses!


When you get to your car it's ok to do a serious victory dance. You've earned it.