Grocer X: The last holiday


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We’re staring Labor Day right in the face and, because this is America, that means we’re looking at our last big barbecue holiday of the summer. (I mean really, what else is Labor Day good for?) But as you ready for your final summertime-soirée shopping trip, keep in mind what happened during the last holiday, and probably the one before that, and definitely the one before that.

Remember? You took yourself to the store not only on the day of your gathering, but within a couple hours of your guests arriving, thinking that it would all go swimmingly and you’d be out the door and prepping to party in no time. Unfortunately, everyone and their mother had the same bright idea, and you found yourself battling for a parking spot, cursing the barren shelves, and forced to wait in checkout lines longer than your patience can handle. Remember?

It was an awful experience; everyone, customers and employees alike, were in the worst of moods, and you had to skip some of your usual summertime staples.

So why on Earth, you should ask yourself, would you ever go holiday shopping on a holiday?

How can you be the least bit surprised that the store might run out of red-white-and-blue cupcakes on the 4th of July? Is it really that unbelievable that none of the avocados for sale on Memorial Day are ripe enough to use? Do you plan all our your get-togethers mere hours before they happen? 

I’m not talking about the "Oops, I forgot the blueberries" trip here. I’m talking about the "Our friends will be here in an hour and I need every single component of my BBQ before they get here" trip.

We in the grocery industry plan our holiday stocking through the weeks leading up to it, with the busiest days just prior to. But the holiday stops when the day comes. So while we’d love to have an ample amount of every item you’ll surely be looking for, we’re more worried about time-sensitive packaging and your aversion to buying anything in American flag wrapper after the 4th of July. The risk of sitting on a shipment of “Corn Cobblers” for a year is too great to try and accommodate your shopping procrastination.

It’s not just the summer holidays; the “Holiday Season” everyone knows and loves is a whole other nightmare, but the message is the same: Holidays are for holidays, not for shopping.

So enjoy your Labor Day, the whole day, away from the grocery store.

Thanks for shopping with us.

The man behind the apron is Craig Lemley, digital content coordinator here at the Indy. The Colorado Springs native spent nearly a decade working in grocery stores across the Pikes Peak region before retiring his produce knife for a surprisingly less-stressful media career. Follow him on twitter (@_CraigLemley) or send questions/comments to

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