An Urban Grocery Shopping Story

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It was a Wednesday morning. I woke up a little late due to working until midnight (you guessed it, on the magazine). As I sat down with my bowl of Oatmeal mixed with natural peanut butter and almond milk, I took a sip of coffee, and glanced at the overcast sky through the bay windows. Today started just like every other day, with just one difference. After breakfast I’d proceed to do some urban grocery shopping, walking to the Walmart that’s just under a mile from my house. And taking the bus back.

The weather channel predicted a thunderstorm in the afternoon around 1pm, with a temperature of 60 degrees. On a sunny, warm day, I usually head out the door, dressed in casual khaki pants, a hoodie, and comfortable slip on walking shoes. But, seeing that the weather was going to turn foul later in the afternoon, I’d have to dress more appropriately for the upcoming weather.

What to wear and bring when urban grocery shopping during bad weather

When the weather gets bad, wearing the proper type of clothes can make all the difference when urban grocery shopping.

I’ve learned from past mistakes that you want to wear clothes that keep you dry, warm, and don’t easily get stained or dirty.

What are the type of items I suggest when urban grocery shopping in horrible weather?

  1. A dark pair of pants, preferably black: Pants are the first thing to get wet, besides shoes, when the wind is blowing, and the rain is coming down in buckets. I like to wear pants that are dark, and have a blend of cotton and polyester. This makes them comfortable, but still resistant to getting too wet.
  2. Dark sneakers that are made of smooth leather: On warm days I like to wear slip-on Sketchers with a breathable material. This makes them easy to get on and off, and keeps your feet nice and cool, especially during humid weather. Unfortunately, when the weather gets bad, these are not the proper type of sneakers to wear. They tend to get stained easily, and your feet get soaked quickly. Dark sneakers with smooth leather and no air vents don’t get stained as easily, and keep your feet much dryer.
  3. A good rain jacket: Having a good rain jacket can make all the difference between having a lousy urban grocery shopping experience or a great one. For days when it’s warm out, a rain jacket made of nylon is a great choice. It’s breathable, so you don’t sweat as much. For colder rainy days, wear a rain jacket that’s made of polyester. It will keep you warmer. Just make sure any jacket you wear has a hood and long enough to cover your pant pockets in order to keep your cell phone and wallet dry.
  4. Clothe shopping bags: While riding the bus we saw a guy picking up his groceries from the ground, because the paper bags he was using broke. The poor guy had to carry everything onto the bus, and use the plastic ones without handles, that’s available on the buses for trash, to gather up all his groceries. I recommend you purchase some clothe shopping bags from the grocery store. They are more sturdier, and don’t suddenly break without warning. Plus, they are water proof.

How this urban grocery shopping story began

Seeing that I was walking to Walmart, I quickly gathered my essential items, before heading out the door.

There would be no riding my folding bikes (the Brompton or Tern), and no kick scooters (my Xootr Mg or Street).


It would be all walking. An hour of shopping. And catching the bus right out front, in the loop, at Walmart.

My rain jacket

My Gage rain jacket all ready to go and tackle the elements.
My Gage rain jacket all ready to go and tackle the elements.

Besides the casual slacks that I usually wear, I choose my Gage rain jacket that I’ve had for over 7 years now. I use to wear this jacket when I cycled to work each day, 2.5 miles each way, for a total round trip of 5 miles. It’s held up extremely well, with no visible signs of wear and tear yet.

I purchased this jacket on Amazon, for approximately $65 from a company called Grundéns.

Grundéns was stared when Carl Grundén, the son of a fisherman, grew tired of the unforgiving weather on the west coast of Sweden.

He decided to make something for people with a passion for fishing and started manufacturing water repellent garments to withstand the forces of nature – keeping all men and women warm, dry and safe when doing what they love.

Today they carry on the tradition of developing products you can trust. They help fishermen, both professional and recreational face any condition on waters across the globe.

Clothe shopping bags

Two clothe shopping bags were used for this urban grocery shopping adventure.
Two clothe shopping bags were used for this urban grocery shopping adventure.

In order to be able to carry my groceries home on the bus, I couldn’t forget my shopping bags. Seeing that I wasn’t buying  much, I figured two bags would be enough. In the corner, I have about 7-8 bags, all from various places, but they all basically do the same thing. They allow me to carry groceries home without worrying about them unexpectedly breaking. Unlike the paper ones they sell for 5 cents at the store.

My mom was going with me on this particular day, so she put paper bags inside the clothes bags, mainly just to keep them open. I didn’t mind this because the paper bag wouldn’t be holding any of the weight of our groceries.

Dark sneakers

Dark, comfortable Sketchers.
Dark, comfortable Sketchers.

With bags in hand, it was time to put my sneakers on, and get on the road.

For this urban grocery shopping trip, I wore my black, comfortable Sketchers. These are not slip-on, but they’re great for rainy days. They don’t get stained from dirt, and keep my feet dry.

I have 6 other pairs of sketchers, all slip-on. And a pair of custom sneaks from Carson Footwear.

Old factories

There’s a Spanish church in the green building attached to the old factories.
There’s a Spanish church in the green building attached to the old factories.

Along the way to Walmart, my joy of taking photographs kicked in. Over 23 years ago when I moved to the area, these old factories were here. At the time, there were more businesses in these old factories, but over the last 10 years, they have all moved out. Except for a few.

Old factories that have been sitting vacant.
Old factories that have been sitting vacant.

Now they sit mostly vacated, falling apart, as a reminder of days past.

The long road on this urban grocery shopping journey

The longest stretch of road on this urban grocery shopping journey.
The longest stretch of road on this urban grocery shopping journey.

Located less than a mile away, it only takes 15-20 minutes to walk to Walmart. Once past the short road where the factories are, the longest stretch of road takes about 10 minutes to walk.

Then there’s the bridge

Approaching the bridge.
Approaching the bridge.

With an expressway on top of it, this bridge is a place where many homeless come to stay. There’s all kinds of clothes, food wrappers, and personal items such as blankets that the homeless use to sleep under this bridge at night, spread out everywhere.

Under the bridge.
Under the bridge.

I’ve always felt bad for these individuals and bought them food whenever the opportunity presented itself.

Finally arriving at Walmart

Arriving at Walmart on this urban grocery shopping adventure.
Arriving at Walmart on this urban grocery shopping adventure.

About 20 minutes after leaving the house, we arrived at Walmart. The sky was getting darker, the wind was picking up a bit, and it was feeling much colder. It must have been about 50 degrees now, but at least it didn’t rain yet.

Visiting the garden center at Walmart

Garden center at Walmart.
Garden center at Walmart.

Mom’s lawn mower went after 23 years, so we decided to see what type Walmart sells. After looking at various lawn mowers ranging from the ones you ride to the push type, mom decided she didn’t see anything she liked.

But we did get to check out the lawn equipment and the vast amount of flowers they sell for planting around your yard. Mom loves her yard so much, she’s constantly maintaining it. It actually looks like something out of a Home & Garden magazine.

Getting our groceries

Groceries in the shopping cart.
Groceries in the shopping cart.

Browsing the garden center and other sections of Walmart was fun. But an hour goes fast when you’re having a blast.

Plus, the lines at Walmart can be long and slow at times, so we usually give ourselves a minimum of 25 minutes to wait in line.

On this particular day the line wasn’t too bad so it only took 10 minutes to cash out. Mom had time to go grab a few other items while I was waiting in line (extra items not pictured).

Riding the bus home on this urban grocery shopping experience

Taking the bus back home on this urban grocery shopping trip.
Taking the bus back home on this urban grocery shopping trip.

After shopping, we had a 15 minute wait for the bus. Fortunately the bus wasn’t too crowded, so we got to choose whichever seats we wanted.

While waiting for the bus to leave, we watched a poor guy struggle with putting all his groceries into plastic bags that are normally used for garbage.

Apparently, he was using those weak paper bags they sell you in the store, and they all unexpectedly broke.

Time to end this urban grocery shopping story

As we quickly exited the bus, and walked home, I noticed that the bags were a little heavy. I was thinking to myself that next time, I’ll have to bring my folding shopping trolley.

Still, this was a successful shopping trip. And I hope someone enjoys the folding umbrella that I purposely left on the bus. It’s not like I don’t have thirty more at home, but that’s a story for another time.

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