Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Anticipation and disappointment in suburbia

Today was going to be a big day in our house. Our local big/cheap grocery store chain opened a new store nearby. The ad came in last week's mail - 4 full-color pages of grocery seduction. This was to be a "Giant Store like no other!" Gorgeous produce. Succulent meat. A Cheese Shoppe - not just a shop, but a shoppe! So elegant! Bulk bins! (I have documented my disgust with the local bulk bins before.) Then the invitation to find a printable coupon and store tour on the website! The kids and I raced to the computer and watched the video. Hmmm... looks great: cooking classes, community events, a nutritionist, bulk bins! (But no alcoholic beverages - in this backwards state those can only be purchased in "special" stores.) We printed our coupon, cleared the calendar, and made our plans.

But things happen around here, and we didn't get out at 10:30 as we'd planned. I wondered briefly if arriving there around lunchtime would be a problem. Didn't that ad say there was a food court? Ah well, it should be fine. Armed with our list, coupon, and directions, we headed out. Only to find a completely full parking lot. Cars parked in the fire lanes. Cars going around and around, waiting for someone to come out. And it was a big, big parking lot. It looked like Christmas Eve at the mall.

What the heck? What are all these people doing here? It's a grocery store grand opening, for crying out loud, not a major cultural event! Of course it made sense for us to be there - we're just a penniless suburban homeschool/student family out looking for some cheap thrills (and bulk spices). And samples, we were really anticipating some good samples. But don't these other people have better things to do?

So, defeated, we headed home. We knew that even if we scored a parking spot the lines would be too long. The samples might be all gone. (Thank the Lord we had eaten peanut butter sandwiches before we left the house.) The bulk bins emptied out by the hungry hordes who should have been working, or something, instead of hanging out in a grocery store.

Such is life, here in suburbia.

UPDATE: No wonder. I saw an article about it in the local news. There were musicians, clowns, and "local dignitaries" there today. We ended up going there tonight after dinner; it was still crowded but manageable. Nice store, but then new stores always are. The bulk bins were a disappointment. But the kids informed me that they saw a whoopie cushion for sale in the canned bean aisle. Hardee har har.


Sheryl said...

Well now, that's silly...if you eat those beans, you don't NEED a whoopie cushion!

Sorry you didn't get the bulk bins of your dreams.

Sheryl said...

I forgot to ask - were there any good samples left?

kerri @ gladoil said...

Sounds like your town must not get out much. Heehee.
But really, aren't you glad you were spared the clowns? I'm afraid of clowns. I'd much rather shop in peace so I can think.

Does it have good bread? Good bread is what defines a really good grocery store from a wanna be in my opinion. :)

Marbel said...

Sheryl - there were pretty meager samples - just some cheese (in the cheese shoppe!) which was a little hard to get to 'cause the high school boy behind the counter was flirting with some high school girls...

And thanks for the sympathy on the bulk bins.

Kerri - glad to see you here; it's been a while. You are right about the clowns! I hate clowns; my kids hate clowns. Bread... there is NO GOOD bread in Pennsylvania! Well, maybe some at Trader Joe's. Or Whole Foods, but I can't stand to go to that snobby store.

Ed said...

Part of my love for NYC — although I'm sure there are many non-urban places with similar attributes — is that it's the farthest thing from suburbia.

Stores are still locally owned; old world professions, like cobblers, still flourish; chains are rebuked.

An actual community. And, I don't care what Fox News says, people are nice.

Marbel said...

Ed - indeed. NYC is something altogether different, isn't it? Even LA seems like more of a huge suburb in comparison to New York. San Francisco probably comes close, though smaller. Hm, now I'm missing San Francisco bread...

kerri @ gladoil said...

Aww-remember when you brought me some olive loaf when I was prego w/J? Wish I could return the favor. :( I would definately miss the good grocery stores. :(