Buying groceries 101

Photo by Casey Gomez

Adulting is hard. The necessities of laundry and feeding oneself can be overwhelming to many. For many students, college is the first foray into the strange world of self-sufficiency. As such, it is a time during which many preferences develop into habits, such as figuring out from where to buy groceries.

Indeed, it is no easy task, striking a balance between bargain, distance, quality and selection. Despite this, a great number of students at Tech are faced with this decision. A decision which once made, tends to be set in stone for the rest of one’s college life.

For some, the decision was easy. Second-year MSE, Max Lenk has been a Publix shopper for as long as he can remember.

“Growing up, the nearest grocery store was a Publix so that’s where my family shopped,” Lenk said. “When I came to Tech it was just an easy continuation. Publix is so close and familiar that it’s just the right choice for me. Plus, they have my favorite kind of pepper. I don’t think I’d shop anywhere else,” said Lenk.

Others, however, do not have quite so easy a decision. For second-year ECE, Isaac Webb, it took a little bit of trial and error before he settled on a grocery store to call his own.

“At first, my roommate and I went to Publix because it is close, but we discovered that Trader Joe’s has a selection that’s closer to what we need, even though they carry less, so now we go there,” Webb said. “We still go to Publix sometimes if it’s just for a few things, though.”

A smaller selection just does not work for everyone, however. Some prefer to peruse the aisles and to make an event out of a trip to the grocery store. For this, there is no better option than Costco. The bulk discounts, countless items, adored food and free samples make this the go-to place for many Tech students.

Third-year CS Kristen Goldie is among the dedicated students who believe Costco is the place
to shop.

“For me, going to Costco is an event I get excited about,” Goldie said. “My roommates and I will all go together, get lunch there and then get what we need. It’s quite a challenge to fit everything in the car afterward, and it takes a couple trips to bring everything to the room, but only needing to go to the store every other week and the great discounts definitely make it worthwhile.”

The hustle and bustle of Costco, with its big carts and long lines, can be too much sometimes. Because of this, many choose to shop at Kroger, where — with a Kroger Plus Card — shoppers can still save money without all of the excitement.

“Kroger is fantastic,” said Laura Kelly, second-year CE about her experience with Kroger. “It’s pretty close, the people are friendly, and, most importantly, they have my favorite frozen peas. I honestly do not know what I would do without my peas. Plus, I get to save money with my card. It’s a deal and a half.”

To some students, the grocery store is not a rigidly defined term. Omar Ahmed, second-year BME, often gets food from the vending machine, which he sees as a grocery store of sorts.

“I have a meal plan so I don’t often need to go to the store, but sometimes I need a snack and going all the way there is simply too far of a walk just to keep getting snacks,” said Ahmed. “I just go to the vending machine, swipe my BuzzCard and pick whatever I want. It’s great … I don’t know why more people don’t do it.”

Whether it is cost, distance, familiarity, convenience or something else, students choose their grocery stores for a great variety of reasons.

However, among this variety one thing holds true. Grocery stores are important to the students of Tech.