The Sunday Grocery Shopping Tip You Need To Follow For Big Orders

You could barely find a parking space. The credit card might be maxed out. Inflation is higher than Cheech & Chong — when did Raisin Bran get so expensive? Now it's time to check out. Instead of pulling teeth through painful small talk with the cashier (who really couldn't care less what you say anyway), the self-checkout kiosk will be easier, right? Wrong. Your yogurt won't scan and now a flashing light is flagging down a store employee.

According to clinical psychologist Kevin Chapman, "grocery store anxiety" is a real thing, and strangers constantly bumping into you doesn't help. Especially in the post-COVID age where viruses mutate seemingly every day, seeking out non-crowded grocery stores can be as preferential as utilitarian.

Not only does avoiding crowds help keep you calm (and disease free), but it also liberates you from rushing. Without the impending arrival of a fellow shopper who's "just gonna sneak right past ya" in every aisle, you'll have the time to make more deliberate selections and notice whether there's a cheaper can of chickpeas than the $2.49 can in your immediate line of vision.

Utpal Dholakia, Ph.D. explains that anxiety can have a real impact on consumer shopping behaviors, encouraging impulse buys and splurges as a subconscious strategy for exerting control over a stressful situation. Dodging crowds means dodging higher price tags, and to that effect, here's our pro tip for getting your bulk shopping done the smart way.

The early bird gets the worm (and sleeps on Sundays)

Our top tip for making a big grocery run on a Sunday is: Don't. Simply stay home and avoid it. You're most likely to encounter an overwhelmingly crowded store on a Sunday, and even if you just need a few items, good luck getting through the checkout line.

Instead, rework your weekly schedule and knock out that big grocery order on a different day. According to Keith Fix, CEO and founder of Retail Aware, the least busy time to shop is on Thursday mornings before 10 a.m. Fix drew the conclusion based on data collected from traffic-monitoring motion sensors placed in supermarkets nationwide.

If you want to take your chances and shop on a weekend, there's a feature on Google Maps where you can check how busy a given business tends to be at certain times of the day. That way, you'll know what to expect before leaving the house. In fact, per Google Maps data, grocery stores are least busy on Mondays at 8 a.m. (It looks like weekday mornings are the sweet spot for getting the job done.)

If you absolutely have to make a large grocery run on a Sunday, make it as easy on yourself as possible. Choose a supermarket you've visited before so you'll be familiar with the store layout, and organize your grocery list by store section so you can fly through it without having to backtrack for the bread crumbs you forgot.