Ever lived in a town with absolutely no big box stores? If so, then you can relate to the frustrating aspects of it all. Furthermore — and on a much more entertaining note — you can also relate to all the hilarious thoughts that constantly run through your mind.
Not a day goes by that you don’t take a mental inventory of your toilet paper supply, or how many loads of laundry you have left until you’re completely out of detergent. Comical? Yes. Totally on par with the reality of living far away from the nearest Target or Walmart? Most definitely.
Without further ado, these are the good, the bad, and the laugh-out-loud moments everyone in a remote town deals with.
1. I need to place my next order of toiletries and pantry staples off Amazon ASAP!
You’re about to run out of conditioner — or even Wheat Thins — and panic sets in. That’s right, it’s time to place your next Amazon order. For you, an Amazon order is a running tally of all things essential to your life, which brings us to our next point.
Next: Always have Amazon open? You’re not alone.
2. My Amazon cart is a running grocery list
Your Amazon account is always up. It’s a staple on your computer, and your cart has its very own tab that never goes away. Ex out of it to ensure your computer is working efficiently? Never. Your running list of everyday products is far too important to ever take a back seat.
Next: Fingers crossed that your package arrives.
3. Will the package actually make it to my door?
Living in a town with no big box stores also means that, more than likely, you’re living somewhere relatively remote. And what does that mean? Deliveries don’t always make it to your doorstep, that’s what. Placing the order is the easy part, it’s the waiting with bated breath that’s the hard part. And you may not want to hold your breath on every order you make.
Next: Why limit yourself to a four-pack?
4. Buying toilet paper in excessive bulk is totally normal
Much like other paper products, toilet paper is one item you never want to skimp on. The solution? Stock up on massive amounts of the stuff whenever possible, no matter how many rolls you may have left at home.
Basically, the lesson here is simple: Forgo the mega-supply, and run the risk of running out too soon.
Next: Get by with a little help from your friends.
5. I wonder if any friends are making a trip soon and wouldn’t mind taking requests
When you live far away from a Target, Walmart, or the like, keeping your home stocked with everything you need is key, and planning ahead is crucial. However, we’re only human, and sometimes that so-called planning doesn’t exactly go as, well, according to plan. For this reason, getting one-off items as you need them really does take a village.
Need to replenish that box of vitamins you can only get at a big box store? No problem, surely you have at least one friend who will be making a trip before you do.
Next: Shopping is much more than an hour-long process.
6. I have to plan an entire day off around grocery shopping
On one fateful Saturday morning, about once every month or two, you wake up early and hit the road. Your destination isn’t some far-flung resort you’ll be getting to by way of airplane, though. Of course, it’s much less exciting than that, which brings us to our next point.
Next: Out of my way, people!
7. I have a well-mapped-out route of every store I need to hit
Naturally, you’re headed straight for the closest town or city that has all the stores you need. You’ve mapped out your course of action, and hitting every place in one day is well within your reach, because hey, you’re a pro by now.
Next: Running to the store in a pinch isn’t a reality for you.
8. Yes, I actually depend on the neighbors when I’m in a bind (and need something like a cup of sugar)
The local market is already closed, and there’s no 24 hour Walmart you can run to. The solution? Kick it old school and knock on the neighbor’s door to get what you need. After all, those bake sale cupcakes need to be finished before the morning.
Next: “I love driving for hours,” said no one, ever.
9. Spending hours in the car just to do a big grocery shop is totally normal
When the nearest chain grocery store is over an hour away, you get pretty used to sitting in a car in order to do a big grocery shop. But who cares? By now, you’re used to it.
While most of your friends and family members don’t live in your kind of secluded town, they’re utterly flabbergasted each time you tell them that you’ve been driving for over two hours, and you’re still not even close to the Safeway parking lot.
Next: There’s no room for error.
10. Keeping a real-time list of everything I need (as I run out of it) is key
Your lists don’t just pop up on the fridge when you run out of butter. Quite the contrary, your lists are a perpetual running tally of anything and everything you could possibly need. And the thing is, these lists exist in real time.
Use the last of the popcorn last night? Straight to the list it goes, because the last thing you’d want is to get all the way to the store, and not be sure of everything you’d ever need to have on hand, just in case.
Next: Everyone gets used to it eventually.
11. Sometimes, I have to live without essentials until my trip to “the big city” next month
The reality is, you’re not making these hours-long trips to another city every weekend. And thus, you’ve gotten used to a certain mentality only those who live in a town with no big box stores have become accustomed to. And that mentality is that yes, on certain occasions, you will have to hold out until your next trip.
Next: Everyone loves a deal.
12. I overpay for every “emergency” or freezer item that I need to buy in town
Overpaying for otherwise cheap items is second nature to you. Why? Because you’re paying three times the price, which is inevitably the entire business model of your town’s one and only local grocery store. And unfortunately, it can’t be avoided 100% of the time. After all, that ice cream isn’t going to hold all the way from your not-so-close chain grocery store.
Next: Buying cold items isn’t totally out of the question.
13. What size cooler should I bring?
To dovetail off the previous point, getting cold items at the store that’s hours away is a possibility. In fact, it’s in your best interest to stock up on as much as possible, because nobody likes paying more than they have to. But the important point here is that this inevitably leads to one very important question: Will I have enough cooler space?
Furthermore, you may be surprised to learn that major grocery stores that have a wide-reaching customer base will provide dry ice if you need it. You just need to ask at the check-out.
Next: There is an upside.
14. Boy am I glad I don’t have to deal with Walmart shoppers
On the flip side, there are some definite advantages to living far from stores like Walmart. In fact, some people really hate living in the near vicinity, and for good reason. Turns out, Walmart kind of sucks. So, if you happen to live far, far away from the retail giant, go ahead and give yourself a pat on the back, because you’re better off without it.
Next: Walmart sells what?!
15. Are they really still making this kind of junk?
Another thing you may have forgotten about is just how terribly people still eat these days. One walk through a Walmart store, and it’s clear that the majority of Americans still chow down on oversize bags of chips and bulk bags of candy. Thankfully, you live far enough away from major big box stores that this is not your reality. Phew.
Read more: 12 Secrets Target Shoppers Need to Know
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