Wednesday, December 17, 2008

"Can I get anything else for ya?"..."Sure, how 'bout a hug?"

Am I the only person who hates Wegmans? Ok, I don't haaaate Wegmans necessarily but I have a hefty dose of disdain for the ultra-luxe, super-fancy, grocery mega-store. It all started a couple of months ago when I decided that I was going to shop almost exclusively at the Wegmans. That was going to become my new store.

I got up like I normally do. Shuffled the kiddos off to school. Took a shower and put on my fanciest mom-jeans. Instead of piling my hair into a makeshift bun on the top of my head, I blowdried my hair and ran my flatiron over it. Look, I was a Wegman's shopper now. I had to dress the part. I didn't want to look like I was just running into the Bloom!

The Bloom has been a staple of our family life since moving to our pretty little house in the 'burbs. It used to be called the Food Lion and have one of those ceilings where those foam-core board tiles can be removed for easy access to the electrical and duct system. We were elated when it got a facelift and a new name. The drop ceiling was removed exposing all the cool-looking pipes up there and now the produce aisle has wood-looking floors and the fruit is in baskets. Same stuff, better marketing. We have spent a lot of time in this establishment, from late-night runs for baby tylenol (or perhaps a maternity-induced craving for chocolate eclairs) to the mundane weekly grocery shopping. We have spent a hefty portion of our paycheck and time in the Bloom. It is always the same old people doing the same old jobs - sometimes with a smile, sometimes with a grimace. We talk about the same old things: kids, weather, vacations, new hair styles.

So it all sounded very glamorous when the rumblings of newness began. "Wegmans is woooonderful," they'd say. "You can get anything there... anything!" All of this spoke right to a very prominent portion of my personality that has an penchant for all things new, pretty, exotic. I made a secret promise to myself that I would become a Wegmans Girl.

So, I got all gussied up and I went grocery shopping. We ambled around the store for hours drinking in all of the newness. There was a fish-monger filleting an entire swordfish in the fish department. I checked to make sure my lipgloss wasn't on my teeth in my reflection off of the polished apples in the produce department. At every turn there was a handsome, helpful employee asking me if he could help me find something. I would decline, and he would look past me to the next customer and ask, "Can I help you find something?" "No?" "Ok, let me know if I can assist you." "Ma'am, Can I help you find something?"

I got home with my grab and I went to put it all away. I put the bright yellow Cheerios box right next to the one in the pantry that was almost finished. I nearly threw out my back when I loaded the economy box of Tide onto the ledge where we keep the detergent, and I took the old, empty box and I threw it in recycling. But, I didn't realize what had happened until I was repackaging the chicken to put in the freezer. I opened up the big-pack of chicken and the smell almost knocked me out. Rotten chicken? Rotten chicken from the Wegmans?! I can get rotten chicken at the Bloom!

And something changed in me at that moment. I had a fifteen-dollar package of rotten chicken thighs and I missed my semi-weekly conversation with Juan, the bagger from Peru, who tells me every time I see him that he is never in a bad mood. I had everything I normally would've purchased and none of the relationships that I have so come to cherish. I made a secret promise to myself that I would abandon my pretense and go home. Scraggly bun, hideous sweatpants, screaming kids and a whole lot of love. I hate Wegmans - or maybe I just hate the fact that I ever thought I could leave.


S to the K said...

I love it!! The ending reminds me a the Wonder Years episode.I might be reaching, but I heard Richard Dreyfuss' voice. I think Im gonna rip off your idea and do an Obriens Market companion piece. They make their own Sushi in front of you, whores..
Ps I've been calling you interesting since day one

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