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Thursday, December 07, 2023

College is a time when you won’t be judged for not having your life in order, which means you repeatedly find yourself doing routine things like, oh you know, just grocery shopping at 2 a.m. Thankfully, Gainesville has several 24-hour joints where you can pick up those necessary items like frozen pizza and Eggo waffles (See: Sweetbay, Wal-Mart).

But, it’s a jungle out there, and a few character profiles seem to make repeat appearances. In true BuzzFeed fashion, here’s your I-just-needed-bread-and-milk-but-am-scared-of-that-sketchy-gas-station edition listicle of people you’ll see grocery shopping after midnight:

1) The late-night snacker.

This one is a dead giveaway. They’ll be in the ice cream aisle choosing a Ben and Jerry’s pint wearing PJs and maybe Uggs with said pants carelessly stuffed in the tops. Who dresses to impress in this place anyway?

2) The vegan chef.

Dreadlocks and bandana optional. The first thing you’ll notice is that his shopping basket is very colorful. It’s filled with ingredients you can’t pronounce and that look so gourmet you wonder how he managed to find them in a run-of-the-mill chain grocery store like this. You spend the whole time waiting behind him at the register wondering if he’s going straight home to cook, and if so, why now?

3) The eat, sleep, rave, repeater.

This guy’ll be buying beer. Just beer. Lots of it. The cheap stuff. He may or may not be surrounded by a posse of haggard-yet-happy looking wingmen who just wanna keep the party going.

4) The young professional who works weird hours.

You’ll be able to pick these people out of the crowd because they’re always the best dressed. They may be toting a satchel or wearing an ID badge lanyard of some sort.

5) The flirty shelf stocker.

He’s the one who takes the company policy of greeting every customer to the extreme and uses it as an excuse to strike up conversations with chicks buying cereal at 2 a.m. When he asks if you’re finding everything OK, just say yes and move on, even if you’re lost trying to find your off-brand cereal.

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Maybe one day I’ll have my life together enough to do normal things at normal hours. But until then, I guess I’ll just make late-night grocery shopping a game and play bingo with this list.

[A version of this story ran on page 7 on 3/27/2014 under the headline "The five people you’ll find grocery shopping after midnight"]

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