Editors' pick: Originally published Nov. 3.
The Atlantic published an article yesterday that understandably caught a lot flack for its headline: Why do Millennials Hate Groceries?" While the piece attributed the decline to more than just the fact that Millennials shop in a more diverse range of places for their food, it's a fun trick to incense the masses by adding the word "Millennials" up top.
As a tired Millennial myself, I can attest that Millennials do not hate groceries. I personally find grocery shopping cathartic, because it's a nice chunk of "me time" that I'm using exclusively to cater to my needs, or the needs of those making the trek to my tiny apartment. Hell, I'm already planning a grocery list entailing what I'm serving to a friend when he visits later this month, because I'm overly excited about the charcuterie plates. In short, grocery shopping is a quick respite from laptops, phones and emails, and it allows you the freedom of choice in an environment where the choices aren't overwhelming, unlike the rest of our day on the Internet. So why is there a decline in grocery shopping itself?
I angrily responded to the article with a plausible reason (which was picked up by Buzzfeed along with a lot of other belligerent tweets) and got a decent amount of play from other confused Millennials.
A valid option:
We do not hate groceries. We hate not having effective methods of transportation to bring said groceries home. https://t.co/SLgZOptSRj— Sarah Solomon (@sarahsolfails) November 2, 2016
A subtle jab:
@sarahsolfails FreshDirect?— Marc Phillips (@mbp817) November 2, 2016
And then of course, notes from the (barely) older crowd:
@sarahsolfails legs work to transport groceries— Comfortably Smug (@ComfortablySmug) November 2, 2016
He gets it:
But I digress, from The Atlantic:
"With an abundance of options on the streets and at their fingertips, young shoppers are eating out at restaurants and bars, ordering in on their phones, or snagging groceries at convenience stores, such as CVS, and superstores, such as Walmart."
Well that's all well and true, but The Atlantic is not taking a number of other variables into account. Like Millennials living in urban areas without access to a car (as I previously noted), which would be nice when you're lugging heavy groceries.
Other fun reasons include:
If you're living with roommates, refrigerator and cabinet space is at a premium. You only have an allotted amount of space and don't want to take up everyone else's with large amounts of necessities like La Croix and Trader Joe's cat cookies.
A lot of socializing inherently revolves around food. Whether it's work lunches or dinners with friends and dates, you'd be surprised how little you're home when you don't have kids to tend to. Produce goes bad quickly, especially when you're the only one eating it.
Apps and the like!
Seamless, Grubhub and other delivery service apps are also a big factor, but their costs quickly add up. We're not doing it every night.
Millenials are also more homebodies than people realize. Not only are we supposedly going out and drinking less, but we're also satiating our domestic demons with money savers like Pinterest crockpot recipes. We've got student loans and retirement funds to contribute to; we're not out chugging red bulls and doing body shots into the wee hours of the morning (on weekdays). As for the CVS comment, it'll be a cold day in hell when I forgo my grocer for the cold embrace of Progresso every day of the week. The sodium count alone, my God.
So yes, we may be blowing less cash at grocery stores than past generations, but can you blame us? We're staying single longer and sowing our wild oats at Buffalo Wild Wings happy hour. Blame the shifting of society's expectations and gender norms among other terribly trendy things. Not the wily Millennials eschewing grocery shopping in favor of eating pad thai in their underwear with Netflix. (Which admittedly does happen.)
You're just as guilty as an arbitrary age group. Stop using a generation as your universal scapegoat. We didn't create this rapidly changing world; we were born into it.