Friday, October 9, 2009

I'm Proof That People Can Change

Big news, everybody. I changed grocery stores this week.  (I'll wait while all of the ladies gasp and all of the guys scratch their heads and say, "So?") I did it, though. I shopped at a new grocery store on Tuesday and I didn't even tell the old grocery store that I was leaving it. It's a stone cold heart I have.

To be honest, my relationship with the old grocery store was doomed from the beginning. It was a marriage of convenience and I loved it for all the wrong reasons. First and foremost, it's ridiculously close to my house. It was one of only two landmarks I used to be able to find without my GPS when we first moved here (the other landmark was my mailbox) and I felt awfully proud of myself when I successfully pulled into the parking lot each time without getting lost.

Second, the store is named ACME (part of the Albertson's chain) and, call me crazy, but I frequently fantasized about purchasing anvils and dynamite and catapults there.  Not that I have need of anvils and dynamite and catapults right now, but--and I cannot stress this enough--YOU NEVER KNOW WHEN YOU'RE GOING TO NEED ONE.

Once inside, I did my best to overlook its faults--poor selection, annoying high prices, and bizarro employees. For example, there are only TWO brands of refried beans, a gallon of milk is four dollars, and the employees are part of a special work-release program from a traveling carnival.

My first experience at the store was late at night, the very day we signed our mortgage papers. We were driving home and I asked Ryan to pull in and let me grab a few staples for the fridge. He waited in the car with the kids and I quickly filled a shopping basket and found an open checkout lane.

The checker was a buggy-eyed fellow with no neck who looked suspiciously like the troll in The Three Billy Goats Gruff I used to read in first grade (Carnie Exhibit A). No problem, I thought, there are only so many Brad Pitts in the world. I will not be your judge. But when he started ringing up my purchases and making small talk? Well, that's when the strange-o-meter went off.

Troll: Mumble, mumble, mumble, nervous laugh, mumble, mumble.

Me: Excuse me? (I focused all my spidey senses on my hearing.)

Troll: Mumble. Cat. Mumble. Shoe horn. Mumble. Elbow. Mumble.

Me: .....Yeah. (Nodding politely.)

Troll: Mumble. Itching. Garbage truck. Window. Rice. Mumble. Dust. Chocolate. Asthma. Night. Dishrag. Mumble.

Me: .............Huh. (Nodding politely.)

Troll: Mumble. Mumble. (Hearty chuckle.)

Me: .....Oh yeah? (Nervously smiling, reaching hand into purse to locate makeshift weapon, securing plastic Happy Meal toy.)

Troll: (Handing me my receipt.) Mumble. Cotton. Mumble. Billy Goats. Mumble. Mumble.

ARE YOU CONFUSED YET? Yeah? Imagine standing there. And then imagine a host of other strange and not-especially-friendly-or-helpful employees on subsequent visits. And then ask me why I continued to patron this store for an entire year.

Why? Well, you know, one visit leads to another leads to another leads to another, and pretty soon you know where everything is located and you tell yourself that you're going to start clipping coupons and drink less milk and you never got to visit a real carnival as a kid and....I don't know, I really don't.


But everything changed on Tuesday. I woke up feeling empowered. I counted at least seven landmarks I can find without my GPS. I reminded myself that people are selling gallons of milk for less than three dollars and that I recently forsook financial stupidity. And more than that--I committed myself to the belief that people should have options when it comes to refried beans. THIS IS AMERICA, ISN'T IT?

So, I went to another store. And it was nice. I found groceries and had a lovely conversation with the checker about frozen egg noodles. At no point did I locate my concealed Happy Meal toy. And though there were no anvils for sale in the produce section, I am convinced that, if needed, I could find and obtain many solutions to any pesky roadrunner problems that may arise in the future.

And that, my friends, is what I call progress.


Kim said...

So glad to hear the transition has gone well. It's also nice to know you have the catapults &'s always important to be prepared. You never know when an emergency will require the use of those things.

Cathy said...

Maybe they DO have anvils and they're hidden behind the Ben and Jerry's. You just have to know where to look. Good for you. Change is good. Carnies, not so good.

Christy said...

So funny! Thanks for helpin me start my day with a smile.

Soul-Fusion said...

congratulations on making the switch! Acme is weird. I don't remember exactly what bizarre thing the checker did last time we were there, but I recall not being okay with it. Oh, and their produce was buggy.

Lindy-Lou said...

I'm with you. I'm in new territory as well, but there the comparison stops. I have a Harmon's, a Macey's, Target, and a Sam's Club within a 5-7 minute radius, depending on the number of orange cones that separate us. And I do understand the pull of familiarity. Congratulations on taking the leap into the unknown.

Jesse C said...

I've always been loyal to whatever grocery store I chose to shop at, sometimes to a fault. I'm glad you found a better one.

Krista said...

Hilarious. I'm still trying to figure out our grocery stores options in my new home. One grocery store puts huge orange stickers all over my kids...EVERY time I go there. I hate that, just call me grouchy. Maybe I need to stretch my wings now and change, from reading this post.

katie said...

My closest grocery store sells cowboy boots, wrangler jeans, has creepy old produce men that think it's okay to scare my children, and daily bus loads of 80 year olds from the old folks home nearby. But hey...donuts are .25 each after 7 p.m. For some reason I can't quit on them.

Ginnie said...

You take me to Philly every time I read your blog (almost every time). Man I miss it. Now I'm just waiting for a post on the Wa Wa.

Becky said...

I'm so proud of you Tiff! :) I would get lost just trying to get out of your neighborhood. So I am impressed.

Leslie said...

That was inspiring! I now feel empowered, too. I am going to try something new today. I don't know what, yet, but SOMETHING new!

Kami said...

Good for you! Change is good, especially when you are in control of it.

I need to see this dialogue between the two of you in a video...hopefully posted next week. Start rehearsing now. ;)

Donna said...

Man, we have no good places to buy anvils here last I checked. But, certainly no shortage of creepy carnie checkers. Way to carpe diem!

Alison said...

That's funny. I went to albertsons today and I never go there. I didn't,like it. I can see it's related to ACME. Hot dogs were 5.89. I thought their selection was limited too. Anyway, I obviously can' t tell about my grocery store adventure the way you can. At least we both have our groceries!

shannon p. said...

Change is always harder in your head than in real life - well maybe not always, but at least often. Way to make the switch and may you have many happy shopping days ahead!

MiaKatia said...

The powers that be closed the grocery store I had been going to since I moved here. So I stopped going to the grocery store for like six months. But good financial sense and the desperate need to eat healthier got to me and I finally switched to the new one. It was tough.

Mindi said...

DISHRAG! i am so gonna use that in at least 3 sentences this week!

awwwwhhh, tiffany--i can always count on you bringing a smile to my face. thanks for that!

xoxo come back to utah!

Omgirl said...

It IS a momentous thing to switch grocery stores, isn't it? I shopped at Macy's for a whole month this summer just to spite Albertons for their awful produce. It felt so good.

I'm proud of you.

michele said...

so my question is did they have more refried bean options? i have noticed whenever i visit my sister in new york that anything remotely related to mexican food is lacking in options. but way to go and be brave, although i do have a soft spot in my hear for carnies.

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