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“You know, it’s dangerous for you to be here in the frozen food section. You could melt all this stuff.” –Steve Martin in “My Blue Heaven”
Funny thing about today’s topic. The concept is one of the oldest, most overwrought stereotypes in the dating world. Yet, how many people (other than Vinnie) do you know who actually have met someone at the grocery store? Have you?
Would you like to?
As promised, today we’re going to talk all about how to turn the local supermarket into your dating playground… or at least potentially.
And it’s easier than you think.
No, this isn’t necessarily about “bumping carts” with someone “by accident”. Rest assured there are much better strategies in store than that (pun intended). So, then, let’s get on with it!
1) Inline Flirting
This is the simplest concept, yet completely overlooked by so many. Basically, if you want to meet someone, form your checkout plan with some strategery, will you? Simply get in line behind someone you want to meet, pick up the tabloid in front of you and make conversation about it. For some odd reason, this is like magic when performed by a guy. Women seem to be entranced by that sort of thing, and to have a guy actually start a conversation about it really is irresistible to a woman. And don’t completely rule out flirting with the one who is behind the register, either. One of life’s joys for me is when a woman at a cash register asks me for my credit card or (God help her) my phone number. Whichever it is, it’s “way too soon in the relationship for that” or “I don’t know you well enough”. Believe it or not, my fiancée Emily still deals with this sort of banter out of me regularly… and still giggles when it happens.
2) Have You Tried This?
Step One: Position yourself considering the same shelf full of items as someone you want to meet. Step Two: Find a particularly interesting product. Step Three: Ask, “Have you tried this?” Step four: Expect a one-word answer. Step Five: Respond by briefly describing some creative use you might have for it. Step Six: Continue conversation with intrigued new friend. Step Seven: Etc…
3) Veggie Tales
This is really a variation on the second bullet point above, but I want to make sure everyone understands how virtually foolproof it is to start a conversation. Hit the produce section. Find someone you want to meet. Ask either: 1) “What’s the best way to pick one of these?” or 2) “Do you have any secrets for cooking these?” People love being asked for expert advice. Men love doing so because, well, we’re men, and women will find it endearing that a guy is interested in cooking. Don’t act helpless here guys, just interested.
4) Bean Stalk
This one is my personal favorite, and the true “secret” of this article. At a grocery store you have a perfect scenario for meeting someone that is built in by design. Everyone goes up one aisle and down the other when they are there on serious business. If you notice someone you would like to meet is doing a week’s worth of shopping like you are, simply (and this is about as simple as it gets) start at the opposite end of the aisle as they are, but work the aisles in the same order. In doing so, you will pass this person every single time you go to the next aisle. Hopefully you get what I’m talking about here without me having to draw a diagram, because I’m lousy at that. Maybe you’ll completely ignore the person on the first aisle. On the second aisle, possibly some eye contact and a smile. On the third aisle (exactly), stop and say, “Look, I barely know you and you are already stalking me.” Another perfectly good option is to ask, “So are you going to follow me around all day or are you going to introduce yourself?” Be sure to laugh (or at least smile) after you say this so as to make it perfectly clear you are kidding. Either way, playing upon the fact that the other person is already interested in you is almost always effective. From there, make a friend.
I would plan my supermarket ventures in the early evening (after work) or on a Saturday in the late morning to early afternoon time frame. Consider the demographics involved and it’s easy to understand how the ratios of single people are going to be better then. This isn’t to say that it’s impossible to meet people during the day on Tuesday, but the odds aren’t quite as good.
If you are a “night person”, try shopping at 2 am if you have a 24-hour supermarket. You might meet your soulmate. He or she is probably stocking shelves.
Here’s a quick note regarding what not to do. Ever notice that you don’t seem to get the choice of “paper or plastic” anymore? Just because all the bags are “plastic” doesn’t mean YOU have to be. One of the major scenarios to avoid is trying to be too, um… “overly helpful”. Guys please don’t chase women around the parking lot offering to “load their groceries” or even to return their cart for them. You might as well pour the milk you just bought onto some toast and contemplate how that relates to this situation.
That said, starting conversation at the supermarket really is incredibly easy. Once you try it, you’ll wonder what took you so long. All too often we limit ourselves by thinking that bars, clubs and other “designated” places are the only “appropriate” venues for meeting someone. The truth is you are more likely to meet a high quality human being and have a great conversation with him or her when you both are in your “natural habitat” and free of loud noises and obnoxious distractions (e.g. a hundred other people trying to “pick up” someone).
An informal poll I’ve taken suggests that most single adults would truly enjoy being approached with interest at the grocery store or similar shopping situation. So, how about giving it a try this week?
By all means, send me your “success stories”.
Copyright 2006 X & Y Communications