Grocery Store Overload
The author defends her decision to stick strictly to old grocery store haunts.
“Been to Fresh Market yet?” asked my neighbor, referring to the new high-end grocery store across from Towson Town Shopping Center.
“What’s there?” I asked.
She started rattling off all the reasons I should go there: fresh meats and produce, a phenomenal bakery. “And the sauces. You’ve got to go there for the sauces,” she said.
Sounds great, I told her. But I don’t think I’ll be gracing that new grocery store anytime soon—awesome sauces or not—or MOM's Organic Market, the other new grocery store in town creating a lot of buzz.
I have nothing against grocery stores. In fact, I probably spend more time trolling the aisles of local grocery stores than I do any other public place. I’m on a first-name basis with several employees at the Giant; some fellow shoppers I’ve met there I now consider friends.
It's not that I have a food fetish. I’m simply trying to feed a family of four, two of whom claim to be “starving” so often that I’ve contemplated hooking them up to an IV drip and feeding them protein shakes intravenously. If only it were that simple.
Instead, I schlep to several food stores on a regular basis, trying to find foods to please a range of picky palates and, along the way, picking up too many extraneous purchases.
The Giant, while certainly not the most exciting or exotic stop on my weekly food tour, covers most of the basics. While I save some of my meat, produce, and "special occasion dinner" purchases for other stores, it’s nice to buy cereal and eggs at the same place I get toilet paper and shampoo.
Though my trips to the Giant are frequent, I’ve gotten them down to a science so that even purchasing $200 worth of groceries takes me no more than 30 minutes. I always use the scanner—what I consider a modern-day marvel. I simply scan the items and stick them in recyclable bags, saving me from standing in long lines and enduring the wrath of cranky cashiers. The only downside? I don't get my fix of celebrity gossip reading People magazine in the checkout line.
But there are some grocery stores where efficiency is not the number one priority. I count Wegman’s among these. You can’t simply storm by the mountain of cheeses on display without carefully considering them. Even the extensive olive bar is something to behold. Despite the bulging food aisles at Wegman’s, I can’t get everything on my grocery list there.
For big value-pack slabs of organic beef, bulk granola, and out-of-this-world homemade muffins, I try to slip over to Whole Foods occasionally. Of course, these quick trips for a few items typically turn into much bigger than expected shops, with food spilling over the sides of my mini cart, and cash flying out of my wallet.
The same thing happens to me at Trader Joe’s. I love their bread and bagels. Their sophisticated frozen food selections make quickie dinners much more desirable than boring old frozen pizzas. And they’ve got bizarre snacks that my daughter loves, like salty dried seaweed. Go figure. But, I ask myself when I'm unloading far more bags than anticipated, do I really need all this stuff?
So maybe there is a bottled sauce out there that would make the perfect marinade. But I’ve already got about five half-empty bottles in my refrigerator that I swore would be the sauce, as well as some in my cabinets that haven’t even been cracked open yet. So for now, I’m swearing off any new grocery stores.