Common Ground: Shopping for convenience mid-week

Everything in my refrigerator seems to disappear on Wednesday.

If I’m looking for an egg, it’s gone. If I want a glass of milk, the jug is empty; cereal is out, and the bread bag is reduced to one crusty slice.

Without a doubt, it is time to head for the convenience store near my home or to the nearby dollar store to re-stock.

It beats standing in long lines, walking through endless aisles of merchandise and parking a mile away at big-box stores, only to pick up three or four small things.

Convenience is tempting. It can cause me to bypass buying something at a cheaper price.

On taco night, I placed the lettuce, tomatoes and salsa on my kids’ plates, but I’d forgotten to buy the sour cream and shredded cheese earlier in the week.

After my kids begged for those ingredients, I dashed out to the gas station/convenience store where I paid about 50 percent more.

On another midday night, my husband, who sometimes has cravings for butter pecan ice cream, wanted a bowl. So, I visited the neighborhood convenience store where I bought two $3 pints of ice cream, one for him and one for me.

I didn’t mind because I avoided making a 15-mile-long trip back to Wal-Mart, though I could have saved more and bought a half-gallon’s worth for the same price.

There’s also not as much pressure to dress up for a dollar store or convenience store visit, where I can dash in and out wearing a baseball cap, a frumpy T-shirt, shorts and flip-flops.

But gearing up for an hour-long shopping trip inside Wal-Mart requires more preparation, applying my makeup in case I run into the rest of the neighborhood in the long grocery store lines, wearing my sneakers for those long walks between the toiletries and the groceries, and bringing a sweater to wear when shopping in the meat and frozen-food aisles.

Though shopping requires thought and planning, nothing can take the place of finding a small store to ease those mid-week urges and buying fill-in items for the refrigerator and pantry.

Other shoppers throughout the country are also looking at convenience, smaller stores and less time spent waiting in lines during those mid-week dashes to the store, according to analysts.

Some of those conveniences have helped to contribute to the success of such stores as Family Dollar and Dollar Tree, which combined have 13,000 stores throughout the country and $18 billion in annual sales, according to Reuters.

Regardless of how much money big-box stores and dollar stores stand to profit from consumers, it’s important that both types of stores continue to suit families’ needs during anytime of the week.

Chante Dionne Warren is a freelance reporter for The Advocate. She can be reached at chantewriter@hotmail.com