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Wegmans Is No Stew Leonard’s

30 Oct

According to some of my friends, the opening of a Wegmans store in Northborough was akin to the second coming, or the Cubs winning the World Series.

Getting excited about the opening of a supermarket is not a foreign concept to me, but apparently, this was different.

“It’s not a supermarket,” they said. “It’s an experience.”

Cool, I thought. I grew up in New York, and shopped often at Stew Leonard’s, where there are samples around every bend, and whimsical touches like singing/dancing food help make the shopping experience more fun for shoppers of all ages.

So suffice it to say, I know what it’s like when a store goes above and beyond to make grocery shopping different and a more enjoyable experience.

Would Wegmans be anything like that? Continue reading

Taking It Back

7 Apr

The truth is, Passover really isn’t such a bad holiday. I’d rather have a limited diet for eight days than not be able to eat for one, as is the case on Yom Kippur. But that doesn’t make the end of the holiday any less enjoyable. Last night, as the sun went down, I indulged my two other Passover traditions: eating a pasta dinner from Bertucci’s and taking my extra food back to Star Market. After all, if I’m going to be overcharged for the food, then why shouldn’t I take back all the things I didn’t need when the holiday is over? (I like to think of it as my way of sticking it to the Man.) This year, I had plenty of extra food to return — due to the fact that I brought back a lot of leftovers from New York (mmm … mom’s brisket), and the fact that I ate smarter during the week. I brought back a box of Coffee Cake mix, two cans of tuna fish, a jar of gefilte fish, and a jar of jelly. The grand total for all that: $20.15. I’d call that a success. So … Happy end of Passover. Martin: 1, The Man: 0.

A Passover Tradition Continues

24 Mar

Like the youngest child asking the four questions, or the hiding of the afikomen, I, too, have my own Passover traditions. One of those is posting a rant about how much I hate shopping for Passover food. If you don’t know, dietary restrictions during Passover prevent you from eating anything with flour or yeast in it. And if you’re observant enough to keep the holiday, then you need to purchase Kosher for Passover food for eating during the week. While I’m not the most observant Jew 51 weeks of the year, I often joke that Passover is the one week when I find my religion. As a result, each year I have to buy these “special” ingredients and foodstuffs.

Sunday was my annual trip to Star Market to make these purchases (the holiday starts this Monday night), and like in years past, I was annoyed by how much I was being charged to buy food I didn’t even want to buy. $6 for a box of cookies that might ordinarily cost $2.50. Cake mix for the same price, even though the cake is half the size of a normal cake (if not smaller). A jar of grape jelly for $4. A can of tuna fish for nearly $3. And those were the “sale” prices! Yes, that’s what supermarkets do: They set a price for the Passover food, call it a “sale” price, and mark its regular price a dollar or so higher. It’s like they’re capitalizing on the horrible stereotype that Jews like their deals and would rather buy something on sale than if it was normally priced. And then, because we don’t have the option, we buy all this overpriced stuff, which we only need for a week.

When all was said and done, I had spent $50 on Sunday for my K4P food — and that’s not even counting the perishable stuff that I’ll pick up this weekend. By comparison, on an average week, I usually spend about $20 for my groceries (the beauty of living by myself, I guess). So that’s why I saved my receipt. When the holiday is over, I’ll be partaking in my second Passover tradition: returning all my unopened food and getting my money back. The way I figure it, if the store’s gonna overcharge me, the least they can do is take back and refund my money for the stuff I don’t use.

Happy early Passover to all who celebrate. Grumble, grumble, grumble.

Wow. What an Improvement

31 Oct

Holy crap.

The new Star Market in Chestnut Hill (which opened yesterday) is awesome.

Finally, we have a supermarket worthy of the zip code — one that’s a huge improvement over the old one.

I went to check out this glorious place after work last night, after weeks of waiting for it to open (months, actually, considering how long the place was under construction).

Suffice it to say, the wait was worth it. Continue reading

I Wonder What’s in Store

8 Oct

People who know me know I get excited about the silliest or simplest of things.

Like the fact that when I went to get gas last night, the price was just $2.39 a gallon — six cents cheaper than the place I drive by on the way to work every day.

What can I say? I think it’s a good thing that it doesn’t take much to make me happy. Continue reading

Changes

19 Nov

The more things change … I returned to my old second home, Star Market/Shaw’s on Comm Ave., last week and was shocked to learn that the whole place had been remodeled! It was only in April that I moved, and while I now do my weekly grocery shopping in other Star Market locations, I find it hard to believe that I haven’t been back to this one in a long enough time that it gave the store a chance to totally change and look completely different. And don’t get me wrong: It looks great! I really enjoyed walking up and down the aisles discovering where all the foods had moved to. Yes, I know it’s totally lame to be excited about a supermarket’s new look, but I spent a lot of time here during the first 11 years of my Boston residency, so I considered this a big deal.

The more they stay the same … Alright, I finally have to post something about this: My new next-door neighbor plays an instrument. A guitar. Or at least I think it’s a guitar. It sort of sounds more like a banjo. But it’s an instrument nevertheless. And he plays it a lot. Like, every night. However, things are different now. For one thing, a guitar (even one that sounds sort of like a banjo) is not nearly as bad as a violin. Or a flute, for that matter. Secondly, it’s not like it’s soooo loud that it interferes with my TV-watching like the playing did in my old place. And finally — also most importantly — I’ve met my neighbor and he’s a nice guy. So if I was ever that annoyed by his playing, I’m sure he’d stop, even though I know he doesn’t have somewhere else to go. So I’m going to keep a positive, tolerant, flexible attitude about this. Still, it’s totally amusing to me that I’ve moved next to another instrument player. What luck I have.

Ah well. As the saying goes, the more things change, the more they stay the same.

Oy.

5 Dec

Well, at least Shaw’s isn’t this clueless. According to a New York blogger named NancyKay Shapiro, the supermarket Balducci’s is displaying ham as “Delicious for Chanukah.” Next thing you know, they’ll be featuring matzah and saying it’s “Perfect for Easter.”

(Thanks to Farrah for the tip.)