Okay, I wasn’t going to write a post about this. It’s only a grocery store, people! I’ve been muttering that and shaking my fist every time I see ShopRite traffic. Which is, like, all the time. But ShopRite is now my closest grocery store after the Niskayuna Co-op, so of course I’m curious. I even wrote a story about it for All Over Albany a while back. So when I needed bread and milk, I figured it was my opportunity to do a scouting mission. And then I couldn’t restrain myself: I had to take a couple of pictures.
Okay, first of all? It’s freaking insane. There are so many people there. Cars circling the once-deserted parking lot. In fact, I got the only decent parking available:
If only I still had the bike trailer! Because you can only shove so much into a backpack, right? The other thing that struck me? I didn’t see a single person that I knew. Whenever I go to the store I run into friends, neighbors, or misc. acquaintances. Which makes me think that there were a ton of people who are basically bargain tourists.
I didn’t even look at prices. I figured that everybody’s prices are going to be nutty during the big showdown, so it’s not worth my time until things simmer down. And now I have to confess to you that I actually did a huge price comparison chart for myself a few months ago, and I’d planned to share it (because it was a lot of work, so why not?). But I was too depressed to share. Bottom line: Price Chopper most expensive, Hannaford a little cheaper, Wal-Mart waaayy cheaper. I don’t know how I missed it before, but All Over Albany does an annual pricing showdown, and they’ll be adding ShopRite to the mix in the future. So I don’t have to.
So, I was checking out inventory. I loved the cheese selection, and they had good crackers, too. They had a ton of Applegate Farms products, which are good if you fall into the eats-meat-but-feels-guilty-about-it category, which I do. Oh! And the olive bar!
That was exciting.
But meanwhile, I was getting twitchy. There were so many people, and there were little clusters of people, like the filet mignon groupies, so it was difficult to navigate. Plus, am I the only person who hates that everything organic and “natural” is segregated? I’m sure that it’s convenient for people who’ll only buy from that aisle, but for me, I end up having to run back and forth between the two, comparing. It’s disorienting, but it’s what many supermarkets do. I’m pretty brand-loyal for a lot of foods. It’s part of the reason why I’m not great with coupons. So I saw plenty of Muir Glen products, but I was somehow unable to find the basic canned tomatoes, which are a staple for me. And I saw plenty of Cabot cheese, but I didn’t see Cabot butter, which is our clear favorite. But it’s possible that these were around, and I was just getting too disoriented, agoraphobic, and twitchy to stay much longer.
On the bright side, if you’re working with a gluten-free diet, they had a huge selection:
For gluten-free people, it’s worth a drive. And I found my well-loved but difficult-to-find Red Zinger herbal tea. I actually said out loud, “Yeah, baby!” when I saw it. I haven’t seen it in stores in years. Although lately I’ve become a Bengal Spice girl. Ummm, numm, nummm. . . .
Okay, wait! Now I’m distracted, and I have to go make myself tea! So in closing, I’m going to go with. . . pretty good. But I’m reserving full judgement until prices and shoppers settle into normalcy.
Meanwhile, for a more complete, foodie-oriented review, check out the post that Daniel of the Fussy Little Blog wrote for All Over Albany.
Also the TU’s Parent 2 Parent blog (God, I hate it when people say “2” instead of “to”–that’s new, isn’t it?) has a post about ShopRite becoming a teen hangout. There wasn’t much to the little cafe, actually. But of course the kids are hanging out there, because there aren’t too many places to go. They deserve a place, and it would be terrific for the whole community, I think. Coffee and snacks for mamas with little ones in the morning, business folks for lunch, kids all afternoon, families for dinner: yes, please. Richie & the Fonz had Arnold’s, Brenda & Dylan had the Peach Pit, even Arthur & Buster have that ice cream place that they walk to all by themselves. Can some enterprising business person please open up a family-friendly hangout that doesn’t feel sticky everywhere like the Friendly’s always did? Seriously, people, can someone please get on that?