At the Grocer's

MANILA - SUNDAY was one of the days I look forward to every month: grocery day.
A grocery and going to the grocer, like other words and events in our cosmic past, have evolved. My youngest daughter Ani Laya was more accurate and succinct: it's shopping at the supermarket. The latter sells products other than food supplies, which a grocery does, while the former couches the "experience" of buying grocery and non-grocery products.
A mall developer once told me that: shopping in itself is no longer just buying but an "experience."
Hence, some retailers built hypermarts that have wider aisles, interactive advertisement, and non-traditional market products like toys and garments.
The kids love wider aisles since we can race push carts. We also welcome the toys section because we can leave the kids there while we tick off the items on our shopping list.
But there's no such thing as a free lunch. Products in these markets are more expensive, as if they charge for the "experience." Likewise, parking is also not free.
In view of crimped budgets, we tend to move to smaller supermarkets, like the one we went to last Sunday.
The aisles were narrower -you tend to bump into other buyer's carts, and the selections were also fewer.
Still, the prices were lower compared to hypermarts. And they didn't charge us for the parking or the "experience."
Kids were running around shelves of glassware. Ani Laya found a way to squeeze into a push cart her size, hold on to the one I had, and imagine being on a train.
Despite being crowded, employees were cordial and helpful and buyers didn't frown when carts bump into each other. Nothing was broken and nobody got hurt while we were there from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m.
It was a good culmination of a 4-hour family bonding that started with a ride from home and preceeded by an early dinner.
Usually, we have dinner after shopping but last Sunday, as I said, was something I look forward to after days of going home late from work and leaving home sans seeing the kids before they go to school in the morning.
Even my eldest daughter Katha asked me what the special occasion was when we entered the restaurant that serves her favorite fried potatoes and Ani Laya's favorite pizza.
Cheeky as it may sound, it was another special day for me for the month of August since me, my wife and daughters again enjoyed each other's company.
Grocery bill: P3,000. Dinner tab: P900. Being a family: Priceless.
Notes on where we’ve shopped for the month’s supplies, arranged according to frequency of visit:

* Cherry Foodarama Mindanao Ave. - lower-priced goods, good meat and fresh produce section. parking's free but tip the guard and porter.
* ShopWise Araneta - great idea on free parking for shoppers and a play area for kids, complete with TV and slide. love those magnetic flat escalators (they call it "walkalator") to the parking area, which is just a floor above the supermarket. nobody to give a tip to.
* Landmark Trinoma - kiddie cart with steering wheel, aroma of freshly-baked bread to cap shopping, near food court. pay parking across a two-way avenue.
* Hi-Top Quezon Ave. - good if in a rush. free parking.
* SM North Hypermart – has a toy section, wide aisles, wider selection of products. online ATM payment. pay parking at another building.
* SM Pasig Hypermart - like SM North's. great idea on selling Filipino delicacies after cashier. pay parking.
* Hi-Top Aurora Ave. - low-priced goods like coffee, tissue, creamer, sugar. free parking.
* Puregold Commonwealth - wider aisles. ATM payment system breaks down. ramp from parking area tricky.

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