January 13, 2011


I usually do my grocery shopping in a hoity-toity area where a Whole Foods, a Target, and a Schnucks (a traditional grocery store) are all clustered together. That way I can get my specialty items at Whole Foods (goat cheese with honey, out of season fruits and vegetables, curry sauce), home items at Target (paper towels, sponges, floor cleaner), and basic groceries and brand-name items at Schnucks (eggs, bread, Oreos). It's a ridiculous system, but it's working for me.

Over the years I have adjusted to the insane trappings of the grocery store in this well-to-do area—hardwood floors, special cooling lockers for milk, little cooking stations. The fanciness has, I think, contributed to the fact that I see grocery shopping as one of the most adult things I do. It always seems so responsible! I make a list. I go to a classy place where the produce is spritzed down like it's enjoying a spa day. I buy fresh food I can assemble into meals. I make decisions about time, about health, about causes, all in the process of filling my grocery basket.

Yesterday I experienced quite a shock when I decided to pick up a few groceries after my graduate class. The grocery store I went to was in the college town where I'm taking the course.

If someone has asked me to design a grocery store when I was 17, the result would have been this store. There were multiple chip aisles, spaced throughout the store. A huge, garish sign reading "Party Central!" in lime green letters was hanging over the liquor isles (three of them). They carried Ben & Jerry's flavors that I'm pretty sure were discontinued years ago. Displays of junk food were everywhere, eager to pop out and tempt unsuspecting shoppers.

Instead of the usual tasteful entrance display of soup and other traditional lunch fare, I found the display pictured below.

Lunchtime favorites indeed. 

I can't ever go back there. Not if I want to feel at all like a grown-up. 

1 comment: