Write Lightning is a blog from writer Deb Thompson.
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Sun, Oct 30 2005

Grocery Stores: Real and Imagined

I did some grocery shopping this morning and it turned out to be somewhat of a scavenger hunt. Our local Nob Hill has been undergoing serious remodeling in the past few months and the big push is on to get things ready for a Grand Opening in about three weeks (just in time for the main holiday season). Things may be a little inconvenient right now but it's going to be really nice once the transformation is complete. Once that happens, I do hope they leave the basic layout alone for awhile.

Once I get acquainted with a store's layout I usually make out my shopping list according to that layout. That's a bit difficult to do at the moment. Every other week this or that aisle is being compacted, shifted, rearranged or reconfigured to accommodate the latest phase of the remodeling projects. I'm told that most stores have a method to their madness when it comes to store layout, with the most common staples being placed near the rear of the store. I suppose this is to coax us to walk past many other things as we travel back and forth to pick up milk and orange juice.

One of the things that has happened during the Nob Hill remodeling work is that the check stands have been isolated from all the impulse purchase items, so that when you approach the check stand you have tremendous room to make a line and you don't have to guide your cart between high racks of everything from tins of mints and shoelaces to the latest tabloid lunacy. You can see everything going on around you and see all the other customers and cashiers. (If you've been to a Costco store it feels a bit more like that, on a smaller scale). I really like that whole atmosphere. The spaciousness of the area is psychologically very freeing and it almost makes me feel like I've entered a great hall for a party. I'm hoping they won't crowd the check stands with those cluttered racks and pegboards when they get ready to present the Grand Opening.

Another thing I've wondered about grocery shopping is why stores don't ever think to put at least a few bags of marshmallows near the hot chocolate mix, or put a small display of fresh bananas and hot fudge topping near the ice cream freezer. No one ever seems to think of the food as a meal, but as components to be grouped by type. It's very organized I suppose, but if you're a right brainer you don't think of things that way most of the time. I've never been to a Bloom grocery store but the concept sounds like a good one. I love the idea of the Table Top Recipes, particularly if the store groups ingredients for those recipes together once in awhile. Can you imagine walking in and picking up a box with everything you need for that Citrus Chicken dinner with the items already totalled for quick checkout? (A nice plus would be samples of the featured recipes offered by cheerful store demonstrators.)

I guess what I'd really like in a grocery store is the equivalent of a concierge. We're not there yet, but I have a feeling we're not far off from seeing one. I am all for it.

posted at: 14:57 | category: /Food | link to this entry

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Stealin' copy is as bad as horse-thievin'
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