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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Cart of My Dreams

I am a supermarket snob.  I am not ashamed.   Safeway, Lucky, Albertsons... they are beneath me.  I prefer to shop here and here (of course) and OMG who can resist this store!  Not me.  I am a slave to these stores.   

Draeger's, my sweet Draeger's, you roped me in with your fresh, lovely salad bar and bakery that is to die to for.  Your wine selection is unbeatable, you even have a tiny tasting room almost hidden among the wine section that nearly takes up half the store.  You are killing me with the upstairs specialty store.  I can get any cookie cutter shape imaginable, a springform pan or even adorable birthday party supplies along with my groceries.  The men behind the meat counter always cut my chicken breasts into stir fry pieces for me, flirting with me the whole time and telling me my kids are the cutest you've seen all day.  You have every random ingredient I could ever imagine and some I don't even know what to do with.  Best of all, you are so close to my house and my kids (OK, me too) love the free produce samples.

Whole Foods... I adore you.  Walking into your well stocked and inviting produce section nearly sends me over the edge.  Then you go and let my kids choose a healthy snack like an apple, a fruit roll or some bunny crackers to eat for free while we shop.  Your selection of cheeses sets my heart on fire.  Then you have to go and add all those pre-packaged, healthy salads, sandwiches and all kinds of other stuff.  Your staff is friendly and helpful and always point me to the yogurt which for some reason is not where one would logically assume yogurt would be.  My addiction to you only worsened when you built a brand new, gorgeous store right next to a Peet's Coffee shop.  

Trader Joe's, you need no love song.  Every mother knows the value you have added to our lives with your inexpensive, yummy foods.  My kids are addicted to your frozen french toast and I have developed my own little problem with your Kettle Korn and real brewed ice-tea.  

While Draeger's does sell Diet Pepsi and plain old French's mustard, the prices are outrageous.  So once in a while, I will slum it and make a trip to Safeway for some basics.  I used to do all my shopping exclusively at Safeway until I was enlightened.  Alas, I am trying to turn over a new leaf and save some money rather than indulge my grocery shopping whims.  So today, Gloppy and I hit the local Safeway.

Damn you Safeway.  You had me with the "cart of my dreams."  My kids always want to get the cart with the little car in front.  You know the one.  The one that is impossible to maneuver so that you give your kids whiplash every time you try to turn a corner and whack into something or someone.  The one where other shoppers see you coming and run the other way.  I used to work up a sweat pushing that damn thing with little Lolly and Frostine in the car and Gloppy strapped to my chest in a Baby Bjorn.  I hated that cart with it's slimy seatbelts and flimsy door.

But Safeway, now you go and bust out the big guns.  "The cart of my dreams."  Gloppy and I walked into the store and he immediately spotted a small row of blue carts with Barney on the door.  We walked over to check it out.  He got in one while I noticed the small kiosk nearby.   The kiosk asked me which TV show I would like my son to watch.  What?  OK, I'll play along.  He chose Thomas the Train and as soon as I pushed the button it started playing on the little screen in the front section of the new car cart.  Oh, this cart was much, much easier to steer through the aisles and the doors lock from outside so Gloppy couldn't make a break for it.  There was even a cup holder for me and a little screen that seemed to know where in the store I located.  It would flash ads for popsicles in the frozen food aisle or pasta in the pasta aisle.  I didn't mind the ads, they were easy to ignore. 

This was the best shot I could get of the of "the cart of my dreams" since Gloppy kept telling me "no pictures in Safeway mama."  He has strict rules about when I can take his picture and when I can't.  Apparently grocery shopping in Safeway is not on his list of OK photo ops.

He barely made a peep while I cruised the store and he doesn't even like Thomas that much.  He never once tried to sneak something in the cart or asked me to buy Lucky Charms.  When we reached the checkout, your friendly little voice told Gloppy his show was almost over and you had a fun time with shopping with him.

So damn you Safeway, I may be back sooner rather than later.  It wasn't your $7.00 roast chicken that made me fall in love.  Draeger's amazing roast chicken is $13.00.  It wasn't your 4 boxes of pasta for $5.00 or your sale on Diet Pepsi.  Heck, even my favorite feminine hygiene products were dirt cheap.  No Safeway, it wasn't even the in store Starbucks than won me over.  It was the oh, so very lovely "cart of my dreams."  


Melissa said...

Wow. Those little carts have come a long way since I used them. A tv? That gives a goodbye warning? Amazing. And a little frightening. :)

Having a giveaway this week. Please be a dear and stop by when you get the chance. :)

Kate Coveny Hood said...

Yes - those carts are a dream - and I do a lot of shopping at Safeway. My only complaint is that I can't fit three kids in them.

heartatpreschool said...

Oh...My...God... that is the best news I've heard in a long time! I hope our local Safeway has those!!!

Those Safeway marketing people are GENIUS!!!

Luanne said...

Did you have to pay a fee to use the cart? We have those here in one of our stores but it cost money...

PsychMamma said...

Waaah! How do I get a Safeway here?? That cart looks seriously great. I'd still have to do a complete germ wipe-down, but then we'd be all good to go. Sigh. No Safeway for me though. I'll just be jealous.

Marinka said...

That cart makes me want to have another baby, just so that I can use it! (the cart, not the baby!)

Finally retailers are learning that the way to get our business is to make it easier with the kids.

Mama Ginger Tree said...

It was free. I'm sure they are trying to get me addicted so I will need to pay when they start charging. I'm sure I'll pay whatever fee they want.

anymommy said...

I am a slave to the car carts. We know all the best places for car carts. The sad state of my life.

Also, my entire pathetic kingdom for a Trader Joe's. Oh, Joe, how I miss you here in the frozen, backwards north.

Andrea's Sweet Life said...

We don't have a safeway, WAH! Maybe our Raley's will follow suit before too long, and I can shop in peace right along with you!

Sophie, Inzaburbs said...

Our local supermarket doesn't have these fancy carts. But it does have enormous race car carts where the children sit up high. Throw a seatbelt on them and it is impossible for them to climb out mid-shop and run screaming and flailing through the wine section. Also, room for child number 3 in with the groceries.
Forget Barney and movies, that's my kind of cart. A prison cart!

Domestic Extraordinaire said...

love Love LOVE Trader Joe's!! Glad my kids are past the ride in the car carts because we don't have any cool ones like that around here.

Anonymous said...

There isn't a Whole Foods anywhere near me. The nearest one is 45 minutes away. When I lived in San Diego, there was a health food market on every corner. Now, I live in the stone age. No cart makes up for that. I weep regularly.

Jennifer, Playgroups Are No Place For Children said...

I have major grocery store issues. I ADORE the fancy places, but feel ill when my bill is twice what it is at *gasp* Walmart.

I need to get rich just so I can shop at Whole Foods.

As for the carts, they are both my nemesis and best friend.

Maura said...

I guess I'll have to pay more attention in Safeway -- I hadn't noticed these new ones. (But then, why would I? :-) No kids = different perspective.)

There is nothing I like more than a great store like Draegers, but I generally won't spend the money to shop there so I very rarely go. As it happens, there's not one near me so it isn't an issue.

I like Safeway for the most part, though it does have its limitations. On the up side, they almost always have what we call a "beep beep" cart for my mom to use, which is needed with her limited mobility.

I'd kind of like to see her take on your dream cart with her beep beep!

Anna See said...

Oh my goodness! I've never seen that before. That would have cut down on some major supermarket scenes when my kids were little!

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