11 August 2016

Grocery Shopping - Mouse Maze Level Expert

The grocery store in the city where I work had remodeled right around the time that I left my old job, nearly two years ago. I hate the new layout so much that I will drive south to into the next county to shop at the not-remodeled one.

This is the first grocery store I used when we moved up here in 1991 and I began working in this city.  So, my attachment to it is deep.  This is also an example of First World Problems.

I hate it with the power of 1,000 suns.  Here's why:

As I've mentioned, I work in a university city.  August - May there are a ton of college kids everywhere.  Here's the thing about shopping with college kids: a) they shop in packs. b) because this is often the first time they've been away from home, shopping etiquette is not a thing for them.         c) they whole-heartedly believe they are the funniest people who ever lived and would like you to know this too.  (I might say here that it is a very liberal university.  Maybe it's different elsewhere, maybe the kids are better behaved elsewhere...hello, ninety year old woman here)

This is not the #1 reason I detest this store though.  I know, it's been mentioned that I have perhaps have given this way too much thought.  These are the kinds of things that ruin my life though.  Welcome to my brain.

The aisles are staggered.  There is no straight-through from the back of the store to the exit.  Now, I've been in a store when the power went out and also when the fire alarm sounded.  You want a clear pathway when this happens.  I don't want to dance with four other carts trying to cross to the other aisle.  Liken it to trying to cross a four-lane highway, it's just not a good idea.

But no, in their marketing genius brains, they have staggered lanes.  As in, the cereal aisle ends in the middle and to continue down the remainder of the aisle a) you can't and 2) you have to jog four steps to the right or left to continue down another aisle.  Traffic Jam Central.

AND (of course I'm not done, silly)  They've created little pockets, like little mini stores within the store.  The meat department is tucked into one corner but also stretches along the wall.  The bakery is jammed between the meat department and the deli.  There is a huge wine and alcohol section unto itself, complete with wine tasting bar.  The produce is in it's own little crowded area.  The dairy?  Well, let me tell you about the dairy section.  It goes all the way along the back of the store with refrigerated sections down the middle of the aisle.  So, if you want cheese, it's on one end of the store.  Want milk? it's on the other end. Sucks to be you.

Oh, and every other store in the universe groups cleaners and paper products in the same general area.  Nope, not this store. This store is a rebel!  Cleaners are next to the pet food, then it's the freezer section and then it's paper products.  So, even the aisles aren't grouped in a regular fashion.

I recognize that my brain depends on things being the same.  I don't pay close enough attention often to deal with changes like these.  As we learned when Kevin was grocery shopping, I can tell you that the rice is in an orange box at my eye level.  Brand name or flavor?  Psssh, who needs that.  But I don't feel like I'm asking for an unreasonable thing here.

I have forced myself to shop there.  Forced myself to adapt and deal.  And...no.  There isn't a quick trip into the store.  You have to wander the entire store to get the three different items you need.  I will spend $10 more at the high-end grocery store or go without instead.

The other shopping options are Whole Foods and Trader Joes, (hello, super liberal city), Safeway - which is more expensive than the store I hate, and Costco.  Oh, and Winco.  The last two stores are shop first thing in the morning or last thing at night stores.  That's exhausting, and no.  I rarely need a 55 gallon drum of detergent.

Moreover, it is a safety thing with me.  I don't feel safe in the store if something awful were to happen. The exits are not clearly marked or accessible. I don't understand how any public safety official is okay with this store design.

Heaven help us all if the store in the next county adapts this floor plan.

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