"But the house brand is cheaper," I attempted to explain. "They are two for $4.00. You can get two of these for the price of one box of Zip-Locs."
"Just give me the Zip-Locs." She didn't want to hear it.
Going grocery shopping with my mother is an experience. Everything is a convenience item. Everything is a name brand. Is it a generational thing?
I spend my time carefully looking at and comparing prices. I look at the unit cost. I buy what's on sale. I use coupons. I am very brand dis-loyal. In fact there are only a handful of brands I won't compromise on. I have to have Best Foods mayonnaise and DeCecco or Garofalo pasta and Milton's whole grain bread, but that's as far as my brand loyalty goes. I'm committed to shopping organic, sustainable, and local wherever possible. That's where our food money goes, and every else plays second fiddle to that.
Everything my mom tossed into the basket was a name brand. Dawn. Clorox. Tide. Saran Wrap. She never looks at the cost. Ever. She just knows she's been using it for 40 years and that's what she likes. Why change?
I also only buy what we absolutely need, normally food for meals and school lunches. I found myself getting jealous of the extraneous (by my standards) things my mom was putting into the cart: a giant container of roasted filberts, a smaller container of dark chocolate-covered cranberries, a whole carrot cake, tubes of pre-crushed ginger paste, and pre-cut sweet potatoes and already-trimmed green beans in cute little microwaveable bags. Things just to "have around the house." I don't buy snacks and prepared items mainly because I cannot justify the cost. I'd rather spend the money on more vegetables and fruit. Or on olive oil which we go through like water. Which is why my family loves going over to my mom's house, of course. Especially J.
Once my mom came to visit us and we were all sitting around the living room. J. was sitting at his laptop working and every once in a while he would reach over to a nearby Altoids container, pull out a mint and crunch on it. "Get the man some snacks!" my mom admonished as if I was the worst wife in the world for forcing my husband eat Altoids.
J. immediately perked up with a "Yeah! You should listen to your mom!" before he realized what he was saying and who he was saying it to, and hunkered back down over his keyboard.
So, yeah. Going shopping with my mom is an experience. But I have to admit, now that she's living here part-time, it is nice to be able to visit her (snacks) anytime we want.
Or so two little girls tell me.