Grocery stores and courthouses: Excellent places for first dates

Someone on Twitter recently asked for first date ideas, and it got me thinking about some of the first date staples from my youth. Two in particular.

When I was in my teens and early twenties, I would often take first dates to the Stop & Shop grocery store in town. We would walk the aisles, filling our cart with food items that could be eaten in the parking lot, and as we shopped, I would do my best to make the girl laugh.


I’d tell stories related to specific food items, write inappropriate words on the glass doors in the frozen food section, place ludicrous deli orders and watch the employees attempt to fill them. and push my date around in the cart if she was willing to climb in.

My goal of every first date was simple:

Place the girl in an unusual situation that required us to talk and work together, and while she was busy dealing with my shenanigans, I would try to make her laugh.

My first and only rule of dating is to make the girl laugh. Once she thinks you’re funny, nothing else matters.

Once the shopping was complete, we’d picnic in the parking lot or a more picturesque location like a park or the beach, though I always preferred the parking lot.

Again, an unusual location is always best. Picnic in the park and the girl is automatically comparing you to the last guy she picnicked with in a park.

Picnic in a parking lot and there is no basis of comparison.

Pop tarts, grapes, ice cream, Ritz crackers, spoonfuls of cake frosting, and soda were picnicking staples in those days.

I know it sounds a little absurd, but it was almost always a successful first date.

If the girl was free during the weekday, I might take her to the local courthouse, where we would sit in the gallery and watch the daily proceedings.  I’d sneak in bags of Skittles and trail mix, and we would watch the court’s various machinations for a couple hours before retiring for a meal at the local diner.

It was free, unique, and oftentimes as entertaining as a movie, except there were plenty of opportunities to chat in between the action.

Plenty of opportunities to make the girl laugh.

I’m not sure if I would recommend these ideas to people today, but back in the day, they worked shockingly well.

What is your most unusual first date idea?