Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Tales from the Trenches: The displaced grocery shopper

Within two miles of our home (or less, I haven't clocked it), we have three groceries. 5 blocks up, we have the locally owned chain. 2 miles up, we have the plaza that has Giant Eagle on one end and the NE Ohio discounter, Marc's, on the other end.

I love our local store. It is very close, I like supporting a local chain that does give back locally, but they are in the midst of a store redo. They are doing the remodel the best that they can while still open to serve the neighborhoods. The last time that they remodeled was 10 years ago when we moved in. I hated the store then because it was old, yucky and smelled like fish. When they had the remodel 10 years ago, I started shopping there and really liked it. The store is all turned around, though. They are kind enough to have signs posting where the things have been permanently or temporarily moved to. Coworkers roam the aisles to ask if you need help tracking anything down. Still, it is taking me forever and a day to get through. Tonight I was there for over an hour and I spent $28.00. Part of that was that I was dead tired from helping to escort 90 Kindergartners to the farm today and the other part was that I ran into a long lost long-distant relative. At any rate, I find that I keep walking in circles. Last week I was a few minutes late to work because I couldn't find the cookies. (Lame excuse, but it's true.)

Giant Eagle isn't a big Giant Eagle. It is kind of like an eaglet. They try. The are better at having more offerings, but their store set-up had to be done by a single man that doesn't shop. They recently reconfigured their store (not a remodel, but a let's play switcheroo with the aisles!) I can't find a blasted thing. At least our local store kept the same aisle partners together, they just moved the aisle worth of merchandise across the store. I use Giant Eagle as a pharmacy, but generally don't shop there unless they have a completely rockin' ad.

Marc's is a NE Ohio discounter that begins like a park. It drops you into the "gift shop." Really, they are closeout aisles that I have found many, many great bargains in. Once you've navigated through the we-know-we-can-get-you-for-10-extra-bucks aisles, then you are off to see what they have. They have some good prices on many things, but their offerings are limited. Often, they run out of things or have some off brands that are sometimes not so good. They do have great prices on potatoes and the double fiber Brownberry Bread that we buy. I've tried to do my regular grocery shopping in there and find that much of it is the instant stuff and I just want to do more fresh.

We have a Super Walmart about 5 or 6 miles away. I've tried grocery shopping there. The week that I did, I ended up having to supplementally shop at our local store and spent twice as much. Super Wal has advantages, like the marinated turkey tenderloin that I can get for $7.00. The pharmacy aisles serve us well and is the only 24 hour pharmacy open near us, so it's all we have when that 4 AM illness with K- kicks in. (To note, that is the only middle of the night run we've ever had to make in 5 1/2 years. I'm sorry, but I just generally don't keep children's suppositories in stock and for the sake of saying, we didn't use them anyhow!) Again, their offerings aren't everything that we're used to, so I feel limited.

When K- was in Little Gym, we used to go the long loop around to stop by the vegetable market. It is open all year long with great fruits and vegetables. They have great aisles of organic meal prep items, homeopathic items, hummus to die for (we used to buy hummus and chips and eat it on the way home!), oh, just so much. It was like a farmer's market all year! Their decor is unapologetic. Crates, concrete floor, not big and commercial. It's homey. Sadly, it is 20 minutes away. I miss it, but I can't defend the 40 minute round trip to go there.

Another 20 minutes or so in the opposite direction is another Whole Foods-ish market. (Boy do I wish we had a Whole Foods close by!) They have beautiful produce, aisles and aisles of organic and not-so-bad for you grocery offerings. Their prices are outta sight, though! Geeze Louise! I'm not wanting them to be like Marc's or anything, but they are way steep.

Finally, I have an Amish market, much along the same type of line of the vegetable market that I miss. They are about 10-15 minutes out, which I would be willing to do. I need to revisit them, as their offerings seemed limited, they were much, much smaller than my beloved vegetable market, but maybe they have improved since I've been there last.

Folks, I'm having grocery issues. So, having hashed everything out in words, I'll keep with my local grocery 5 blocks up. The remodel will hopefully be wrapping up soon and I'll learn to find my grocery picks again. Never mind that the freezers are in the beer section and the beer is where the cards and the ice cream used to be. The bread is slightly homeless, as it is on bakery rolling racks. The cereal is in a (hopefully temporary) claustrophobically close and tall aisle. Whereas the cleaners are now where I used to find the chips. I'll be a big girl and figure it out, again.

Smiles in my day:
- I survived helping to escort 90 + kindergartners to the farm. The kids were really good. The programs were well organized. Our neighbors ended up being on the hay wagon that lost a wheel pin, so they had to cross a big field to get to the pumpkin patch. On the way home, there was a most horrific crash (thankfully we didn't witness it) and it turned all of us around the opposite direction. Since it is Hubs' stomping grounds for work, I called him and he talked us back to where I could navigate on my own. Poor guy! I had my phone on silent, so he worried that we didn't find our way! He called my cell at least 6 times! It's good to be loved!
- K- reading a book to us in the evening. She likes this little book that my friend, Laurie, passed on. It is called It Is Fun To Choose. It's a little book that her daughter received from church back in 1990. It is filled with sight words, some she knows and some she is working on. She feels good to have a book where she can read consecutive words to us. There is much high-fiving going on.
- The neighbor gave us our flu shot this evening. It is nice that he is able to do that for us. I can tell you now that the arm is getting a little sore. This one is going to hurt a bit. That's okay. A little hurt is better than much sickness.

Well, thank you for allowing me to waste much of your reading time on listing out my grocery options. Where do you shop? Are you happy with your choices? Do you go to several stores to get what you need? What would your ideal grocery be like?


Rach said...

I'm sorry about your grocery issues. That really stinks. Although, I had to chuckle because really, everything is relative. When I lived in Newport News, if I could get to a decent grocery in 20 minutes I thought I was in heaven! It took me a minimum of 30 minutes to get just about anywhere. ;o) Even now, it takes about 15 minutes to get to Trader Joe's, which I LOVE. :o) I guess for decent prices and good groceries I'm willing to travel a bit because it's worth it. :o)

Bailey's Leaf said...

You speak words of wisdom, my friend! :)

ChupieandJ'smama said...

Our local grocery, the big "H" is doing a total redo. I can't find a blasted thing and it takes me so much longer to shop. They are doing it over weeks so each week they move more and more stuff and stuff they moved last week may get moved again. I was in a really bad mood about it last week and this older man and I seemed to be going up and down the aisles together. At one point he looked over at me with a smile and said "It's kind of like Christmas isn't it? There's a surprise around every corner". That made me laugh and when I went in there the other day even though I still couldn't find anything I thought of that and it still made me smile. I guess it's all about perspective and I thank that man for giving me a new one :)