“Does anyone own a beige Mini Cooper?”
Believe me, that’s not something you want to hear yelled in a grocery store by the rent-a-cop. If you own a beige Mini Cooper, like me, I mean.
I desperately wanted someone else to say, “Yeah, I got one of those.” It’s possible, right? But nothing.
So I anxiously finished checking out, then direct to the door.
It could only be something bad, right? It’s not like the security guard wanted to surprise me with the information that someone secretly washed my car while I was shopping.
Sure enough, in the parking lot, my car was gone. Or rather, not where I parked it. The guard led me to its new location, which had only a vague association with where I left it.
The Mini had been hit and pushed 90 feet up over a curb and into a small tree. Remarkably, it didn’t look too abused. Mostly just a busted up rear bumper.
The perpetrator was there too, but couldn’t really explain what happened. He seemed in a daze. Amazingly, he had insurance, which proves that miracles weren’t just for Jesus’ time.
This incident happened at our neighborhood Safeway, but it didn’t dull my appreciation for the store. I know there is a lotta love out there for Wegman’s, Harris Teeter, Trader Joe’s, Costco, Mom’s Organic, ALDI, Sam’s and Wholefoods, but workmanlike Safeway is more my speed. Here’s why:
They have good deals
This one requires an asterisk. Their average prices are probably higher than Wegman’s or Costco or Sam’s, but I mostly don’t buy full price items. Practically every major category (yogurt, bread, frozen pizza, etc.) has at least one brand on sale, so that’s what I get. And these are good deals. If you are loyal to brands, this approach won’t work for you.
They make club membership easy
The other day, I needed some photos digitally scanned. I did a Google map search and Sam’s was the closest service provider. I can’t remember the last time I was in a Sam’s and I couldn’t find the entrance so I went in the exit. It took me a while, but I eventually found the photo section, then scanned the photos, retrieved the disk, and went to pay. But they wouldn’t take my money because I’m not a member. I had forgotten about that. 🙁
I don’t get lost in the store
If you need orienteering skills to get from one side of the store to another, forget about it. Ditto if you need to use your car’s LoJack to find it in the massive parking lot.
Product sizes are reasonable
When I buy mustard, I don’t want to buy 4 gallon-size bottles of it. Sure, it’s cheaper per serving, but who cares? When I buy charcoal briquettes, I don’t want a pallet full of them. If I have to drop by the mini storage unit on my way home to drop off half my groceries, something is wrong.
Checkout is easy
Not always, but sometimes I don’t want to interact with the checkout person. I just want to scan my club card and credit card and get home. Safeway makes it easy. I don’t even need a club card. I just key in my phone number, and swipe my credit card (any time I want) and sign when checkout is complete. Short of a retinal scan, it couldn’t be much easier. And don’t get me started on the self-checkout machines that spend more time lecturing me than checking me out.
They have fun sticker collecting programs
Ok, I’m not fond of loyalty programs, and Safeway’s Monopoly collect-the-property program nearly caused me to yank my hair out in patches (mostly because there were too many properties and I won zilch-o), but I love their recent Cuisinart knife and Farberware pan programs. These are throwback programs that don’t require luck to win something, just a little patience to collect stickers. And there’s something about sticker collecting and applying that takes you back to first grade (in a good way).
They are committed to the city
You have to be an urban dweller to appreciate this one, but ‘food desert’ is a real thing – a lot of retailers just won’t locate in the city for whatever reason. So kudos to Safeway (and Harris Teeter, Mom’s Organic, ALDI, & Wholefoods).
What about you? Where do you like to grocery shop and why?
Similar: Read my 6 Tips for Budget Eating Together As a Family