Whiskey has lived in two states, on two coasts, in a number of cities and towns, and in two chemically induced realities. He has traveled a bit, and knows a few things about how much he hates writing in the third person so this bullshit stops now. Here are my impressions of the grocery shopping experience in various places of note.
New York City: You are in a hurry for no reason, but everything is super important. The person behind you is equally super important and maybe, just maybe, is a bigger and a more important asshole than you, and probably psychotic. You are in a grocery store the size of a one bedroom apartment which adds to the tension, and if it’s summer, ensures that you can smell everybody. If you’re from California, the produce makes you want to curl into a ball and weep.
You feel the trapped animal need to get out of there as quick as possible. You will bag your own groceries because you don’t trust anyone, and the shame and horror of waiting for a clerk is too much. And if you actually wait for a clerk to bag for you, they will look at you like you’re made of poop. “Why the hell is this taking so long, I have to be at a Tex-Mex sushi bar fusion joint with no sign so I can bitch about bagels” This is the thought richocheting around your brain.
Elmsford, NY: Pete’s Saloon is the only good thing here unless you like really old grave yards, and mediocre restaurants. All the grocery stores suck, they have all the normal stuff, but the produce is depressing. The bright side is you can buy Yuengling beer. A short drive outside of Elmsford is a magical place called Stew Leonard’s which is amazing. They have lot’s of good deals, fresh veggies and meats, and the place is filled with animatronic characters that look like they were built by Imagineer drop outs. You walk around the place like you’re in a broken edition of It’s a Small World. Loved that place, the deals are so good you can be pretty sure the owner has done time for tax evasion!
Los Angeles: You have finally picked out your mix of normal food, guilty treats, diet water, and organic kale. You wait in line politely whilst screwing around on your phone, some high school kid or late draft pick in life bags up your stuff. During the transaction you make small talk with the checkout person. If you forgot your bags, they charge you 10 cents a paper bag and plastic is the devil, if you’re cheap, this pisses you off to no end, and you do that weird thing where you bitch aloud and hope someone takes up the cause. Sorry bro, not going to happen, they’re texting about how awesome gluten free kale is. As a side note the people watching in LA can be superb. If you just moved there from New York, waiting in line in Los Angeles will drive you insane.
San Francisco: You just paid way too much to buy groceries, but compared to your rent, it’s nothing. Every thing you buy is local, organic, responsibly argued with etc… The organic pasture raised Waygu beef you are splurging on went to a liberal arts college. You mentally compare your choices to the person in front of you, yep, you are morally superior, you can go on living. As far as you’re concerned plastic bags never existed. When you leave the store you step over a passed out homeless person and right into his excrement. Go Giants!!!
Madison, WI: “How’s it going Barbara?” Asks the clerk. “Oh just skippy Randall, and the Badgers are going to a bowl game I just know it.” The woman in front of you in line says. This will go on for another twenty minutes. Just shoplift the six pack and let the really nice kid carry it to your car and put it in the trunk. Be sure to ask him how the big track meet went.
San Jose: There is seriously nothing going on here unless the Sharks are playing. Occasionally the city council dumps some money into downtown (remember San Jose Live) but otherwise it seems weirdly resistant to ever getting hip. Mostly this is because San Jose is the ugly step sister to San Francisco. But hood rats come up sometimes, and the best Pho I’ve ever had is made here, across the street from the jail and next door to Bad Boy Bail Bonds (“because your mamma wants you home”). Go Spartans!!! Oh right I was writing about groceries, ummm, Safeway, they have food, or if you’re Asian Ranch 99 can cover all of your needs… especially if it’s seafood you want to have still flopping around or whacked in the manner of your choosing.