Starting today, I am making a concerted effort to blog more. I know I have to get into a better rhythm of making posts if I expect to sustain the usual momentum through football season, so after what has been an uncommonly hectic two weeks, I’m back with a post that I hope will have some broad appeal. No sense alienating three of my five remaining readers with a tirade about the Flyers (maybe tomorrow). So, I moved about 10 days ago and that move puts me in a position where Wegmans will likely become my most frequented grocery store. Is this good, or this bad?
For those who aren’t familiar with Wegmans, all I can say is that it really is a jewel of the upwardly mobile in Suburbia. I hear a Wegmans is going to open in center city Philadelphia, but at its heart, Wegmans will always be for the people who live in idyllically named developments.
How I think of Wegmans is, it’s the place that impresses the hell out of shoppers who are used to Acme and it’s a fall back for produce sluts who cannot find a Whole Foods. It is a huge store. It has about 30 checkouts lanes, most of which sit empty at all times and are used only for visual intimidation. There certainly is a theory out there regarding grocery stores that bigger automatically equals better and I think Wegmans puts a lot of stock in that theory.
The store does many things well. The prices in most areas are reasonable. You can buy a six pack there! They have sushi if that’s your thing, a ridiculous selection of cheeses, make a nice Caesar salad and the bathrooms are really top notch. If you’ve ever been in a bind and had to brave the waters at a, I don’t know…Shop Rite, you’ll appreciate the facilities at Wegmans. I’ve never been inside the Women’s Lounge at Nordstrom, but this may be as close as I get…
But, praise is so dull. Oh, Wegmans is a decent store? Allow me a second to recalibrate after that shot of wind you just fired up my skirt. No, I think we’d all enjoy it more if I pointed out what was wrong with Wegmans. Just in case there is anyone out there who is too intimidated to go inside. It’s a good store, but it’s far from perfect. A sampling…
1. Visually Misleading Pizza. Visually misleading pizza would be classified as a felony if I had my way. The pizza at Wegmans looks pretty good. Huge, thin crust slices–it catches your eye. It tastes remarkably average. You take a bite and you remember, “oh yeah, I just bought this at a grocery store.” That’s the thing with Wegmans, they want you to think you aren’t in a grocery store. But, you are.
2. No Swedish Fish in the Bulk Candy Aisle. It’s a pretty comprehensive bulk candy aisle. They have flippin’ Mexican hats, among other things, but no Swedish. Does Wegmans not do business with Sweden?
3. The cookie prices are outrageous. I’ve ranted about retail dessert prices in the past, but Wegmans will bend you over for a six pack of chocolate chip cookies. It has to be the highest margin in the store.
4. The chicken. I eat chicken all the time. And, I am not too particular about the type of chicken I buy. I don’t require free range, bottle fed, or hand coddled. I don’t really like to pay for organic chicken either. So, I like to see a good, reliable, (possibly hormone addled) brand of chicken in my grocery store. My personal favorite for these parts is Lancaster brand. Only the finest comes from Lancaster! But, Wegmans only has Wegmans chicken. Not even Purdue. In fact, the whole meat section is a bit of a mystery.
5. The Morning Stretch. Wegmans is one of these companies that invites (?), requests (?), forces (?) their employees to go outside at the beginning of a shift and do arm circles and other things of this nature. I severely balk at this type of corporate activity. Whenever I arrive during this portion of the day it creeps me out a bit and I wonder what exactly I’m getting myself into.
6. No Cheap Individual Bottled Water. They almost shame you into buying the 35-pack. I think it’s $4.99. A fine deal. One bottle at checkout is $1.59. That would prorate to $55.65 for the 35-pack. I can get a liter of central Europe’s finest, Poland Spring, for $.99 at an Acme. I can get a small Fiji bottle for $1.15 at the Pathmark near my work. Throw the dehydrated a bone at checkout, Wegmans.
7. It’s just too big. There is a tipping point. It’s like when you go to the movies and you turn down the extra 32 ounces of Coke for a quarter, because you just don’t want QUITE that much coke? That’s the size of Wegmans sometimes. It’s impossible to get in and out of there quickly. Your two items could be a quarter of a mile away from each other.
So, there you go. Wegmans. Quite a polarizing store. It’s my spot for a six pack of Bell’s, but probably will never fully support my chicken dependency.