Monday, October 12, 2009

The Safeway Death March, "Grocery Shopping in Vancouver's West End

It's Thanksgiving in Canada so I decided to talk about grocery shopping. The local grocery store I shop at is Safeway, for my NY friends it is like Walbaums but less Jewish. Last year Safeway opened a bright shiny new store to replace the dank dungeon of a store that was there before. Now you can sit at a starbucks (ick) get westernized sushi, the even have a section devoted to nuts called “The Nut Bar”.
But it does not take away from the Bataan Death March that is grocery shopping and Vancouver has its own unique flavor to this experience.
We have wandering Japanese ESL student who will pose for impromptu photo shoots with cans of peas and frozen poultry. The bottle collecting binners who return bags full of collected bottles whose odor makes shopping for food not so appetizing. The interesting staff, like the one armed milf cashier, the deli clerk with a lazy eye, the bitter old customer service hag and the hottie pharmacist with the personality not unlike a mix of sedimentary stone & a bagel. Shopping at my safeway is kinda like visiting the circus side show while getting a prostrate exam.

I have some suggested rules that I feel safeway could enact to make the shopping experience more pleasurable.

1.No Seniors allowed to shop between the hours of 5pm & 8pm & weekends. ( you are all retired and have all day to shop while we work. So stay home and complain about your health issues and ungrateful grandkids during these hours.

2.Create a photo set for the ESL students complete with produce props and a hello kitty back drop so they do not clog the isles posing for pictures like retail artery plaque.

3.Have a little stand for the binners/dumpster divers to return bottles outside in order to save our noses.

4.Do not allow people to use the self checkout if they have produce and or more than 10 items. Fuck it takes hours for people to look up their star fruit and Siberian organic mangoes on the touch screen.

5.Hire more disturbingly interesting staff it gives the place a carnival feel

6.stop charging 5 bucks for kraft dinner delux, you thieves

7.shoot any customer who complains about a 3 cent price difference when it is rush hour.

8.Just because customer has kids does not give them special rights...just because you bumped uglies and squeezed out a carpet climber does not make you superior. Bunnies and rats do that all the time and do not get to go to the front of the line.

9.Have mobility scooter races on Mondays and allow wagering with meat products.

10.Stop making me feel guilty for not rounding up my change for your charity of the week. If you did not charge 5 bucks for kraft dinner delux I may have had a few extra cents for midgets with irritable bowel syndrome

If you have any grocery store stories or rule suggesting feel free to leave them in my comments.
“Clean up on Isle Three”!!!!!


  1. Heh. I really like point 10..."if you did not charge 5 bucks for Kraft dinner deluxe..." Damn skippy.

  2. Hi there, here via Tanya and all I can say is I feel your pain!

    During our last few months living downtown we checked out all the new grocery stores that opened up in Yaletown, the West End and on Cambie, and came up with a one word reaction: UGH. Your post about Safeway could just as easily be about the Save-On-Foods on Cambie, or the IGA on Robson.

  3. I *love* grocery shopping! This probably comes from the fact that I spent so many years as a starving student and grocery shopping was the *only* time I ever got to spend money. Also, I'm a foodie with a penchant for reading food labels.

    One word of advice: If you dislike crowds in grocery stores (which it sounds like you do), don't ever go to Young Brothers produce store on W. Broadway - it's a tiny shop that's always jammed packed with shoppers who will elbow you in head to get a zucchini(and the people who work there will take up most of the aisle - they don't care that you want to buy their products; they are putting out those tomatoes and you can just go the hell around to another aisle). You might want to check it out if you ever get homesick for war zones.

  4. 1 & 7 are my favorites. As for 7. "shoot any customer who complains about a 3 cent price difference" - that should apply ANYTIME, my friend, not just at rush hour.

    And there should be a special place in hell for those who spend 10 minutes at an ATM. It's not that mystifying... You'd think the ATM was a university entrance exam the way they stare at the screen considering the options for an eternity.