Saturday, April 9, 2011

In which I offend everyone equally...

Every grocery store attracts a different segment of the population.

Whole Foods: Upper middle class or outright rich people, health conscious, status conscious, does not mind burning piles of money on apples that cost 7.99 a pound.

Stop and Shop: Feels like they don't speak enough foreign languages to shop at Whole Foods, is willing to spend too much on groceries that are merely average, enjoys the self scanner guns so they can avoid talking to chronically depressed cashiers.

Trader Joe's: Young and hip. Would like to shop at Whole Foods but their jobs as massage therapists and chakra cleaners prevent them from this. They enjoy the free samples, great music and overall festive mood.

Market Basket: Zombies, drones, cheap housewives, competitive coupon clippers and the entire elderly population of New England.

I have been all of these people over the past decade (except elderly!), but now I am a Market Basket drone. I begin to feel the joy fleeing my soul as I start the car and begin my journey. Once there, I move through the crowded aisles, jostling for 6.99 a case K-cups (7.99 at Stop and Shop, not carried at Trader Joe's, not free range enough for Whole Foods). I have been verbally abused twice at Market Basket. Once a man told me that I should be ashamed of myself because I did not put my cart away properly. My point is that at the Market Basket I can get apples for .99 a pound, but I need to bleed for the privilege.

This morning I told my visiting mother-in-law Ellen that I needed to go to the Market Basket to pick up Lily's birthday cake. She asked to come along. I tried to talk her out of it.

"It's horrible. It's crowded and miserable and I can't imagine anyone going there who didn't actually have to go." I said

She came anyway. Lily came too since it was her cake and she wanted to be the first to see it.

I walked into the store and braced myself for the wave of despair. Instead, where there should have been a big pile of misery, there was a huge pirate! A pirate! Giving away Pirate Booty! We chatted with the friendly pirate and received four (!) packages of free Pirate Booty.

I thought for sure that the cheerfulness we experienced with the Pirate was an aberration. After all, he is not a Market Basket employee. He does not know that gloom is part of the dress code.

We next went to the bakery and the lady at the bakery counter asked Lily if she would like some cookies. As the kind lady gave Lily three (!) free cookies I began to suspect that I had wandered into the twilight zone. This was not my Market Basket. Where were the cranky people? Why was no one berating me for taking too long selecting green beans (.89 a pound)?

My mother in law found some inexpensive and delicious sushi- such delights at the Market Basket! Such a bargain and so wonderful! Finally, as we were checking out, the cashier asked Lily if it was her birthday and wished her a very happy birthday.

The Market Basket made a liar of out of me today. Whether it was a grocery miracle or the universe laughing at me I may never know. I am merely grateful for the opportunity to achieve grocery nirvana with the most unlikely of candidates.


Chunky Mama said...

Wow!! Hooray for a good surprise! Free cookies for your kid? That's the kind of crap that would sucker me into being a customer for life.

Pom Pom said...

At our grocery store, LOTS of yoga pants. $6.99 K-cups? Wow!

Cheryl said...

Up heah we got us some Shaw's and Hannafahd stoahs you could take to town with your vitriolic pen.

Just sayin' . . .

Piecefulafternoon said...

What a nice surprise - I once had a lady pass by and comment "You should really be buying the low fat peanut butter". Not sure what prompted that, but I replied - "What's the fun of peanut butter without all that fat?" - and she acted shocked. What did she expect when she was interrupting my shopping day?

TJIC said...

Yeah, Market Basket always struck me as the kind of place where zombies with welfare checks would go - I always expected the floors to be sticky with old viscera and fish heads.

I hate the people at Whole Foods, but I love the meat and veggies.

Trader Joes is overpriced crap that somehow tricks 20-something douche bags into spending more money on the same old garbage because it SUGGESTS (without actually saying) that it is healthy and "in tune with nature". Ever read any of the nutrition info on their utterly horrible prepackaged meals? You'd be better off going to Wendys or Burger King ... and it would cost less and taste better.

Stop and Shop is about my normal level, but I confess that I've become a bit of a Whole Foods yuppie over the past 6 months.

Big Bahama Mama said...

Do they still have the sawdust on the floor at Market Basket? They used to put sawdust on the floor. Maybe as a way of beating the vomit? Could never figure it out.

mgster said...

I always say if I win the lottery I am going to shop at Whole Foods. The last time I was there strawberries were nice and plump...and almost $1 each. I AM SERIOUS!! But they do have great bread in their bakery and at reasonable prices.

And have to say I love how you find joy in the small things in life. :)

It's Not Like a Cat said...

Wow, you totally nailed it!

I keep hearing recommendations for MB (with the caveat that it is as you describe--miserable), but we live 1/4 mile from Whole Foods. It's just past the playground. It is very hard to avoid doing most of our shopping there (on foot? double stroller? after the playground? Much nicer than hauling two kids cross-town in the car!).

Anonymous said...

Ah, Market Basket. I love it so much that I make my husband do the grocery shopping. We probably save about $30 to $40 a week by shopping there instead of Stop & Shop, so, yeah, "More for my dollar!"

I think the sawdust is for spills, especially something oily. I know someone who worked at Trader Joe's and they used kitty litter to soak up olive oil that spilled.

Mel R said...

I've never heard of Stop and Shop, or Market Basket, but I sure do miss Whole Foods and Trader Joe's. We have neither in my town. Wah!

Julie said...

It sounds like Walmart after dark around here. At least no one would ever tell anyone else their cart was put away wrong. That might get someone run over or shot. It's a Texas thing.