Grocer X: For the love of gameday

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The grill’s in the tailgate, chili’s on the stove, and you’re suited in full regalia: it’s football season, and Lord knows you love gameday.

You love it so much you’re willing to spend endless hours mastering each layer of your seven layer bean dip, while smoking mountains of meat and negotiating fantasy trade proposals each and every Sunday (sometimes Monday, and a Thursday here and there).

Such a love calls for many sacrifices, but those sacrifices shouldn’t include the agony of prolonged exile from the one you love. So why then are you wasting precious time in the grocery on the sacred day?

I could say something like, "Put your gameface on and score a touchdown with…" but I’m not joking around anymore. If you’re a serious fan looking to cut through the endless pregame and get down to business, spend the least amount of time in the grocery store with this list:

Go early, because every other fan, family, and a multitude of church congregations make their way to the store around the same time the first games start. Besides, you’ll already be up; prepping whatever meat you’ll demolish later on, or agonizing over your fantasy lineups.

Going early — before 10 a.m.-ish — will clear you of most the annoyances of the gameday shopping trip; shorter wait times at the checkout and service counters, newer, plentiful stock, and more veteran employees to get you in and out. (Veteran employees tend to be more inclined to offer a helping hand, they’re used to it.) Chances are some items won’t be stocked yet, but if we’re ordering like we should those items are in the back.

Know before you go, because you can’t make bacon-wrapped jalapeños without jalapeños, and your gluttonous queso recipe is screwed without Velveeta. You’re not the only one who’s “known for your (whatever),” everyone else is on the same level — so yeah, we run out of stuff on gameday.

All I can tell you is that if you didn’t go early, and you’re really concerned about how many pounds of tomatillos we’ll have in stock for your salsa verde, call and ask. It’s hard to tell what tailgating trend is going to hit from week to week; sometimes it’s chili, other times it’s pulled pork, but it’s up to you to be ahead of the game. Puffin’ your chest out and getting all broey with we employees isn’t going to get you anywhere when we’re out of something, I don't care how new that Manning jersey is.

Don’t bring the family, because you know the reason why. The kids are running amuck looking for toys and “snacks,” and your significant other is prepared to conquer a list suited for the entire week. Toting the family along will only increase the amount of time and money you’re spending in the store on gameday. This cannot happen. You need to be in and out, like your chances at the playoffs in your fantasy league, so unless your entire family has their eyes set on the same goal you do, leave them at home.

Practice makes perfect. It’s not easy being the best at anything, but you’ll have more time to practice your gameday rituals if you take my advice and get your pigskin lovin’ self out the grocery store as soon as possible.

— 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 clemley@csindy.com.

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