Random Grocery Lists

aluminum black and white business cart
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I admit I have one weird habit. (Okay, maybe more than one. Let’s not quibble.)

When I’m grocery shopping, I like to find a previous shopper’s grocery list in the shopping cart I’m using. I grab the list and bring it home. I try to imagine what situation at home forced them to make a list with these particular items on it.

Now, before you gripe, yes, I realize there is usually not  a direct line of cause-and-effect between the items on a random grocery list and whatever is going on at home. Heck, my own grocery lists are two columns wide, are ordered by aisle as found in the store, and make up more than a week’s worth of items that are running low.

But those short lists seem to mean something. Like, someone was in the middle of a project and realized they needed a few things to keep going. So, they wisely jotted down what they still needed and made a quick dash to the store… so quick that they left the list in the cart and hurried back to their cars.

In the past month I’ve found two of these little lists. What stories do these lists tell?


quart milk
Sobee – 6
Corn – Sun.
Smucker’s: Natural creamy PB
Couple of Benefuls


Soft Scrub
Clorox toilet
Baking soda

There’s a simple reason I grab these little lists when I find them. I’m going to continue taking random grocery lists until I get one that looks like it came from a serial killer (“axe, chainsaw, bleach, large plastic tote, latex gloves“). Because writers see stories everywhere. Do you?


9 thoughts on “Random Grocery Lists

    1. I’ve thought about that… but I’d have to really ratchet up the search for these things or it’d take quite a while to find enough to make a book. 🙂 But don’t think it’s not in the back of my mind already. 😉

      1. You COULD ask people to send in pics of their old shopping lists…that might speed up the process a bit. 😉

  1. Absolutely yes, there are stories everywhere. I love finding other people’s lists. Everyone who knows me even a little bit knows I’m a list maker, and that I carry my lists everywhere I go. One day, I reached for my list in the car and I couldn’t find it! Egads! Where had I left it? I shouldn’t have worried, because it wasn’t long before my cell phone rang. The receptionist at my previous stop was calling to let me know she had it. Even though my name wasn’t on it, she just KNEW it was mine, because, in her words, “You’re the only one who always has a list in her hand.”

    1. I’m not sure if that’s hilarious or eerie. But now I’m thinking I want to make a fake list that sounds like a serial killer’s list and LEAVE it somewhere. Let’s hope nobody could look at it and say, “Hey, that has to be Linda’s…”

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