Saturday, December 3, 2011

So I went to Wegman's.....

Mike asked, "Have you been to Wegman's?  Do they have them up there?"  Yes, Wegman's has infiltrated, and has an aggressive expansion plan, but right now is found in Northborough, MA only... about 10 miles from my place.  This is not close enough to become my grocery store, and the finest minds on my board of directors had advised they would not go on opening weekend... or for several weekends.  They also advised me not to watch The Ring alone.  I don't always listen, but I had not yet been moved to visit Wegman's.

Now that I reduced my grocery buying to under 10 staple goods, that I can almost program a robot to select through a series of If/Then statements, I can't get interested in Event Shopping, such as that celebrated by Wegmans and its loyal shoppers.

This is not a review of Wegmans.  I was not there long enough to form an opinion, other than "I can't breathe," and "where is the emergency stop on this ride?"  It is a review of me in Wegmans.

Due to a series of unfortunate career choices, the next couple of weeks are about to be full of the least interesting area of my life, so I thought I would use today to get some other areas attended to -- namely, food, shelter, Christmas shopping.   Down to Dudley (I wasn't kidding about that), then to Christmas Trees Shops in Shrewsbury for something terribly clever to put my gifts in.

Don't you just... love a bargain?  

Christmas Tree Shops (always in the plural, please, and with the invisible W) on the first weekend was certainly crowded, but fairly subdued.  It does no good to get to CTS "early," because the inventory changes all the time.  But people do get more desperate and territorial in the 2nd and 3rd weekends, so I needed to get in and out as efficiently as possible.  I had no plan at all to go to Wegmans.

I blame the sign.   

The Northborough Crossing is not on Rt 9.  But the sign is.
Now that's just sneaky.  Or brilliant.

With a low fuel warning dinging at me, I decided to give the Market to end all Markets a try.  It was all about this lamb stew I was going to try in the crockpot, the belief that they would have a better selection than my local, and the sign said it was right over there....  

I am no stranger to SUPER supermarkets, or precious shopping experiences.  I lived through the 80s, remember - the polished stones under the raw fish at J. Bildners, the minimalist shelving of Units, the Mass Ave Bread & Circus.  So I can tell you that we have seen Wegmans before.  What it is doing differently is being every grocery store that ever turned a young urbanites head all in one building.

Hurry!  Hurry!  Hurry!  All under One Big Top ~~ the greatest grocery gimmicks on earth!

Start with a Central Market as your shell.  Standing empty, they look very much like a BJs or a Home Depot.
Devote one end to being Marche.  Only, New Englanders will not move as slowly as Europeans do, so it needs to be a little more self-serve cafeteria-ish... like a Roche Brothers.  Be sure to have plenty of bulk bins, like Whole Foods,  and quirky boutique brands like Trader Joes.  Note the bright yellow "We're just the local Green Grocer" signs that feel one smiley short of Wal-Mart, and "Club priced" meats for the folks who just journeyed across the parking lot from BJs.  Lots of little samples everywhere are real crowd-pleasers, even Stop and Shop knows that.

Now: cram it full of people and make the aisles too small for carriages, like we are used to at CVS.  Artificially shorten the distance from door to counter, like Dunkin Donuts does, and now you are really in a place where things are HAPPENING.

How can you NOT buy out their inventory of lamb?? 

It really was a nice selection.  It was just more than I wanted to pay.  But of course, paying more than you want to is part of event grocery shopping.  You work hard for the money, and why can't you have those savory cheese straws if you want them?  That bread looks awesome.  It's $5.99, but smell it!  I was plowed between carts and jostled by couples, and overwhelmed by bread in 3 places 10 self-serve bars of one kind or another, and... really, it was a Christmas Tree aftershock, I think.  In a 5 year old, we just call this a meltdown.

I lasted about 5 minutes.  My car's exhaust system was still pinging and clanging when I returned to the safety of it

I'll take you there when you visit, just for something to do.  We can marvel at why such a top-shelf grocery is the anchor of a shopping plaza that includes Dress Barn and Pay-Less, and how in the world it competes with BJs  in the same complex.  Let's go at 7am or after midnight, and not on a Saturday in December. 

I found this picture while working on this post.  It is not meant to be a concluding statement.  I just love it.


  1. I hate big, fancy grocery stores where I buy things I don't need and don't really want, but I'm weak. I hate the fancy, dancy foods and high prices. Give me my local Kroger, whose aisles I know and where I can find the wine man if I need him. Except in South Carolina, where I want my Piggly Wiggly!

  2. When I was coming along, we had a Piggly-Wiggley and a Jewell Tea store in town. And the Jewell Tea man brought the truck to you to choose from. It is a known fact that folks tend to go into a zombie state in stores of any kind and end up spending money they would not otherwise. Like Webb, I prefer smaller stores - just not small enough to have to bag and carry out my own groceries and use plastic bags or paper without handles. For the price I do pay for groceries every two weeks, I should get SOME service. M

  3. No Wegmans within 40 minutes of here in the land of...we've already built on everything except the wetlands and if we can pass the perc test we'll just build a mattress store. However I completely get that meltdown feeling. It resembles last Saturday's outing to Michael's for 5th grade diorama materials in the middle of a wreath making workshop. Even the cashiers looked scared.


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