Do you make a grocery list or are you winging it?

Are your list-making preferences connected to other personality traits? One study says yes.

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Grocery cart full of Asian groceries
Photo: Craig Lee/San Francisco Chronicle (Getty Images)

I’ve got my grocery list down to a science. I keep a running list in my iPhone notes, with each item categorized by its location in my neighborhood Jewel-Osco. That way, I can enter the store and zip directly to everything I need, in a very specific order, in less than 15 minutes. I only hit the store once a week for a Big Shop, but I add to my list as staple items begin to run low, ensuring that I’m never completely out of the essentials (toilet paper, waffle mix, canned tomatoes). It’s a beautiful system.

I’m a pretty organized person, but my grocery shopping preferences are by far the most regimented thing about me. Until today, I had no idea how regimented my list-making actually is, at least when compared to my peers. Turns out that among Takeout staffers, only two of us regularly make grocery lists. The other list-maker (bonus points if you can guess who it is!) visits the store every day or two for little things; the other staffers typically rely on mental lists and/or wait to see what’s available at the store before making any firm decisions about what to buy.

I was surprised by my colleagues’ disparate list-making practices, especially given a grocery shopping survey that recently landed in my inbox. Conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Kroger, the survey polled 2,000 U.S. respondents about their grocery shopping habits. The study looked at a few different things, most notably the personality differences between list-makers and aisle-wanderers.

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Some of the purported personality traits made sense; for example, list makers are more likely to cry at a sad movie (that tracks, as I’m never not crying). But, according to the survey, aisle-wanderers are more likely to enjoy horror, which happens to be my favorite genre. These wanderers are also more likely to identify as “adventurous introverts,” a label that sounds a lot like me. A few other differences:

List-makers are:

  • More likely to be early birds
  • More likely to be introverted
  • More likely to use a recipe for inspiration when cooking

Aisle-wanderers are:

  • More likely to be night owls
  • More likely to make recipes up as they go along
  • Fond of comedy

Should we put a lot of stock into the grocery survey results? Nah, I don’t think so. The survey reminds me of astrology in that I’ll jump to claim certain truths (yes, I AM an organized Virgo! Huzzah!) and ignore the rest. But personality quizzes are fun, so I’ll ask you, readers: do you make a grocery list?