Today was the first Sunday in four weeks that I’ve spent the entire day at my apartment in Boston. I didn’t quite know what to do with myself having an entire day with nowhere to be and nothing in particular to do except get groceries for the week. Both my roommates had pretty busy days, one was working at home trying to finish something up for Monday and one was running random but necessary errands all day long. That’s when it occurred to me that my act of kindness for the day could be to go get their groceries for them. If I’m going to the grocery store anyway, it wouldn’t take that much effort to pick up their food and save them a trip. I brought the idea up to both of them and they gave me a shopping list and agreed to just transfer me the $$ online when I got back.
I grabbed my 40L Osprey backpack along with two reusable grocery bags and headed out. The process was pretty easy considering their lists weren’t too extensive or filled with exotic items I’d have to search real hard to find. I managed to get everything on their lists except for Ben and Jerry’s Oatmeal Cookie Chunk from one roommate (obsessed with Ben and Jerry’s) and apple cider plus four boxes of cereal from the other roommate (obsessed with cereal). Carrying the weight back to my apartment was easy, I just didn’t have enough arms to carry the extra stuff.
I ended up with my backpack full plus two reusable shopping bags filled with grub. I estimated this to be somewhere around 70-80 liters of groceries and after talking with my roommates I found that this would last roughly 1-1.5 weeks. I’ve never really thought about food before in terms of pure volume/household but 80 liters seems to be a lot of food. We could definitely consolidate and share some of the items we get that are common among all of us. For example, we go through a ridiculous amount of hummus, more than three guys in their mid-20’s should anyway. However, we all get the small individual containers, on this trip I bought six individual containers.
We decided that after this trip and really taking a second to see how much freaking hummus we eat, that we would try to make bulk batches of our own. The ingredients are simple and cheap (chick peas/garbanzo beans, tahini, lemon juice, garlic, salt, olive oil, and whatever else we want to experiment with) plus we have a food processor that goes relatively unused. I bet we could go through 3-4 pints of hummus a week between the three of us so making our own will save us money and reduce the amount of waste we’re producing by buying individual containers at the grocery store.
All in all it was a pretty simple act of kindness. Although I’m not sure I’d want to carry home 80L of groceries every week. Offering to pick up a few things here and there for my roommates is probably a more reasonable behavior that I’ll adopt moving forward.