Wednesday, February 27, 2008

And They Say Men Hate to Shop

So, last night, in the pouring rain, I decided to take a detour and stop off at Whole Foods. This was because I hate my local supermarket, Gristedes, otherwise known as "Gristinkys."

I was hoping that my perceived lack of nasty cashiers and rampant price gouging will make up for the additional cost of shopping at Whole Foods.

Why the hell did I bother? (Click Read More to continue reading.)

Immediately upon entering, the Umbrella Nazi stops me and urges me to put my umbrella in a plastic bag. I wonder what will happen if I just walk right through. Will he block me? Call security? I am too tired to find out. I comply, then walk into the store, wondering how many security cameras would zoom in on the "creepy wet guy with the ugly backpack."

The only basket I can find is big enough to double as a clothes hamper, so I take it by the handle and start walking around. It isn't long before I begin to feel self conscious. This happens when I go to a store alone for the first time. I don't know where anything is and I have no shopping list. I am cranky, so I have the feeling that things aren't going to go well.

Something to know about Whole Foods: The customers are out of their fucking minds. All are in a rush, all are self-righteous assholes who will mow you down with their tiny shopping carts or block the aisles with a smug "I'm saving the entire planet because I shop here" look on their faces, while they snack on free samples of overpriced cheese.

I try to clear my head of these images and remember why I came in. I am making pasta tonight and want to add some chop meat (sorry Vidis) and spinach to it.

As I roam around lost, I discover that, even in the pouring rain people will come out of the woodwork to shop here and stock up like it's the coming of the Apocalypse. The lines are to the back of the store.

Determined to make this work (and never shop at Gristedes again) I finally find what I'm assuming is the pasta sauce aisle. The sign hanging from the ceiling says "pasta sauce", but the price tags on the shelf say, "You're on Candid Camera." They want how much for a jar of sauce? Get the fuck out of here, I mumble to myself, circling the aisle in hope of finding a generic store brand that costs less than $5.00 a jar. Maybe a jar without the seal or something.

I give up on pasta sauce and head for the meat case. At the meat case, I'm wondering how overpriced the selection will be. I pick up a package, and try to remember how much this would cost at Gristedes.

As I turn to face the line, I've discovered that I just don't have the patience to wait on a line so long that it ends in Hell's Kitchen.

I'll take my chances with Gristedes, I think, as I walk out the door. I feel a palpable sense of shame as I leave Whole Foods, as if I've been denied entry to a country club.

I walk into Gristedes even more bitter than I usually would. The harsh fluorescent lights make me feel like a deer in headlights as I pick up a basket.

I have my mental shopping list ready this time: chop meat, sauce, and frozen chopped spinach.

In the sauce aisle, I am flustered by the prices, squating on the floor to read every single shelf label because I want a bargain. I want to scream, "Why is NOTHING. EVER. ON. SALE!"

I turn the corner and a light shines down on me from Heaven. Francesco Rinaldi sauce is on sale! $1.99 each! This makes my night, although my self-censor function short-circuts and I say (within earshot of a passing cashier), "Let's see if these ring up on sale or not," as I take two jars off the shelf. I can easily visualize having to storm back later to snatch the paper sign off the shelf after the bitchy cashier makes a face at my insistance that these are on sale.

I head over to the frozen case and check the price for frozen spinach: $1.49. I start chanting the price out loud so that I can call the cashier on it when it rings up at $2.79 instead. God only knows what I look like when I'm shopping.

At the meat case, I pick up a package of meat, thankful that the price is actually on the item.

Miracle: Not only are there no customers on either cashier, but I manage to avoid the newer, bitchier cashier. My cashier rings me up and I stare at the monitor like it's a game show. The tension mounts as I wait for my sauce to scan at $7.99 each.

I finally catch a break and everything scans correctly. I sigh with relief, knowing that the hard part is over. I can take it from here.


Anonymous said...

Two words: Fresh Direct.

Vidis said...

Didn't my rat tail, erm tale teach you anything!?!?!?
hehehehehehe! :)
Gracias for the shout out ;)
v said...

Hmmmmm.... the lines at Whole Foods in Union Square move quickly because they have something like 100 cashiers and someone directing traffic.

Chris said...

Great. Now I know who can do my grocery shopping for me. Thanks, Niko!