College
by Lance Pauker on October 18, 2012

Background: I’ve recently graduated from college, moved to New York City, and now spend most of my days discussing how I’ve recently graduated college and moved to New York City. It’s a life that involves exactly what you’d expect it to involve–going out less (but barely), making fun of people who instagram views from their new apartments, and perhaps most importantly, living out type of nights that evolve into whatever the fuck they evolve into–the seemingly movie-worthy ones where you’ll go to sleep at 5 30, wake up at 8 am for some unworthwhile function, and spend the day in a glorified stupor playing back the weekend’s greatest hits.

It’s a life that also involves food shopping–lots and lots of food shopping. Which, when combined with our generation’s tendency to take something mundane and unnecessarily apply it to something else (how to waste everyone’s time 101, how to make other people think you’re really interesting 201), I’ve made a rather crucial discovery:

Going food shopping as a postgrad is remarkably similar to going to a freshman party. Observe:

1. Hype

Rule number one of food shopping as a postgrad: unless you tell everyone else you’re going food shopping, it’s a pretty worthless endeavor.

Sure there’s that whole “If I don’t have food, I might die” thing, but shit are there holes in that line of thinking. Exhibit A being Chipotle, Exhibit B being hoarding all those dope sandwiches they leave out in the conference room everyday.

The conclusion here then, is that people our age go food shopping because it fits the narrative nicely–in one, plastic-bag filled thrust, we can make it seem like we’re eating a little healthier, demonstrate that we aren’t totally worthlessly dependent piles of filth, and exhibit the sort of economic savvy that will come in handy when talking about how normal we used to be. This of course, is assuming that in 15 years from now we'll all be a super-billionaires being profiled fo “30 for 30”'s, talking we all used to be huge commoners. 

2. “Everybody” Will Be There, But You Won’t Know Anyone

Just like college, this won’t be the case down the road–you’ll get mad tight with Ernesto from the Deli Counter, or put the moves on the cute girl who runs that bread/bakery section. But initially? You’re an overwhelmed noob who wandering aimlessly from aisle to aisle, crestfallen at the fact it’s gonna take at least fifteen minutes to reach the keg slash checkout aisle.

3. You’ll Have to Perfect Your Weaving Abilities

Probably the most underrated benefit of attending overcrowded house parties as a college freshmen is that you'll develop considerable skill when it comes to moving through riot-sized mobs. If I was a college football coach (this is no joke), I’d require all running backs to attend giant frat parties, and time how long it took them to reach the jungle juice.

Maybe its because I shop at an embarrassingly overcrowded Trader Joes (a thinly-masked way of me telling you how fucking awesome I am), but I feel like grocery shopping is one of the rare instances where this underutilized skill can be applied in practical fashion. You need that salt, but there’s like three shopping carts standing in your way. And the only reason they’re there is to put your talents to work.

4. Prestige

You don’t want to go to “just some party.” You want to go to SAE’s fall blowout, ZBT’s dope halloween rager, or the Crew team’s “Eurotrash” kegger.

Similarly, it’s often not enough just to go to “the store.” Sure you got your Kroger, Ralphs, Safeway and Gristedes, but you’ve also got your Whole Foods and your Trader Joes. Aim for the culturally stigmatized equivalent of the core four, and you’ll be the grocery store equivalent of a relatively hot girl being stalked on Facebook–the interest is just as much due to the fact you’re in the right circles as it is your attractiveness.

**Farmers Markets should only be exercised in emergencies. Emergencies are defined as trying to have sex with a girl you like–particularly if you’ve already done four dinner dates, three movies, one picnic, and she still holdin’ out. 

5. There Are A Million Single Girls

All of whom are likely looking for to meet someone, solely for the off-chance to tell people 25 years down the road that they met their husband in a grocery store. For any girl, this is a “how did you meet?” story that's sure to induce a lip-curling smile radiating smug superiority–a story that commands the appropriate degree of “look how much sluttier my friends are,” while also suggesting that the future wife has an impressive degree of extroverted spontaneity and ability to go with the flow.**

Despite this train of thought, it’s quite difficult for a guy to win out here without being obviously overaggressive and/or slightly creepy–unfortunately for everyone, the produce section does not operate on  a “all you have to do is eyefuck me, look away as to feign hard to get, and then lock in for the kill” basis. But if it did? Asparagus would be scarred for life, likely.

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**Nope.