Sunday, October 26, 2008

Grocery shopping the geek way

All of my Wii posts are going to be held off for a few weeks. My Wii has quit reading disks. I have to send it off to Nintendo for repairs. That's going to set me back $75, and take about 3 weeks. Let's hope I don't go into withdrawal ;)

So now for something that is working, a geeky grocery system :) My husband and I usually do the shopping together. He works near a couple of stores that are hard for me to get to though (Trader Joe's and Whole Foods), and I've been searching for an effective way to send him to the store with a list. He really needs specifics... name brands, sizes, etc. I don't want to have to write out all of those details each time, so we've been looking for some solution that would involve a master list, with space to enter quantities of each item for a specific shopping trip.

With those goals in mind, we searched the net for a site which organized grocery lists. None of the ones we found worked the way we wanted it to. Being persistent as well as geeky, we worked on our own solution. It came in the form of a Google Docs spreadsheet. The google docs part fulfilled our sharing needs - it's accessible from anywhere we've got net access, and we've shared it among both of our google accounts. The spread sheet part took care of the rest.

We wrote a master grocery list format which has a number of categories for each item: category, name, flavor, size, store, quantity, and notes. We've been adding new items to the master list as we eat them. To make a list we go down the quantity column and add the number we want to buy. The second worksheet in our doc has a query which adds all items which have a quantity of 1 or greater. It then organizes the items by store. When I want my husband to go shopping, all I have to do is add quantities to the items we need, and text him to say a list is up. He goes and prints the shopping list, and takes it to the store.

So far the system is working really well! Of course it's not the same as me being there in person. If something I want isn't there, he may not be able to improvise. It's the next best thing though! The best part is that as the master list grows, the system will be almost effortless. And if I take the time to add the things I buy locally, I can use it for weekly grocery lists as well. With my new G1, I won't even have to print the lists. I can view them on the phone. Step 2 - teaching my dearest to choose produce :-)