Once upon a time, I wrote in a blog that I bought my cat litter off Amazon. Someone snidely commented:
What? They don’t sell cat litter in supermarkets in New York City? he he he (Ok- I just added the villainous he he he…)
To which I replied-
“No. Space is at a premium in Manhattan. Cat litter is too bulky for most markets to carry it. They’d rather stock food. I would need to go to a pet store which is a fifteen minute walk, and carrying home twenty pounds of litter is just a little too much for me.”
That reader stopped reading my blog after that…
But it basically underscores a point: as an urbanite without use of a car, my day to day life is probably quite different than most.
One of my friends always wondered how I actually do my errands…So today, I’m going to give you a glimpse into how I do the normal things that most people get into a car and do.
I food shop at least four days a week. I consider myself very French when I head to the farmers market to look for the produce that looks nice. My local green market is open Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. I try to get there on those days- it’s a fifteen minute walk from my house, so this is often the first walk that Betty and I take on those days. I only buy what can fit in one reusable shopping bag. It used to be two, but as I now have a hernia, I decided it was best to carry less… I do try to buy as much as possible from the farmer’s market.
When the green market is abundant, like now, I only visit the supermarket once a week. I normally pick up beef, chicken, pork or fish that can be put in my freezer. I also try to get staples like oil, flour etc., but I don’t buy more than one really heavy item at a time- just too heavy. Less stuff at green market means additional trips to supermarket- fifteen minute walk which I can’t bring Betty.
I buy almost nothing in boxes, cans or frozen. My exceptions to this are frozen peas and fruit, canned tomatoes, canned tuna, some canned beans and condiments. this is twofold: I don’t like to eat processed food and I don’t have the space to keep things. I have two shelves in which to keep things that are not condiments/staples like sugar, flour etc.
I do not buy things like laundry detergent at the market. First off- too heavy to carry with groceries. Secondly- they probably cost twice as much as the supermarket. I do separate trips to pick up these items at stores like Harmon or Target. Living in the city means knowing which items are overpriced and where you can get cheaper. The moisturizer I use is seven dollars cheaper in one store as opposed to another. On an item that costs less than twenty dollars, this is a substantial difference in price.
I usually order my pet supplies on line. Litter and bags of food are heavy. Though these days there have been shortages of pet food, so I’m grabbing it when I see it.
My dry cleaner is across the street. Shoe repair down the block (though business has been slow so I don’t know how long that lasts) Post office is across the street. Having these things within a block of my house is a life saver.
I tend to build my errands into my daily routine- walk the dog to Target and Farmers. Hit the market on the way home from someplace else, etc. As I walk everywhere and don’t have the ability to put things in a trunk, I need to plan out my route and when I can get things.
I am not really a shopper of other things though- I rarely hit a store to make a purchase that isn’t household related. I do admit to bookstore and stationary store browsing however. They are places I just love to wander, with little intention to actually purchase.
My errands are set into my planner. I need to think about what I need and how much I can carry and if the dog is allowed somewhere and what the hours are. I do not want to be one of those people who relies on 24 hour delivery services to get things like advil. While you can do that, it’s not how I choose to live. I choose to support my local businesses, both small and large, as much as I can.
I know the way I do my day to day life seems odd to many, but it’s how I’ve learned to operate. This is your day to ask me any questions about living in a city…