Saturday, July 23, 2016

Meijer and the supersized glimpses

there's this place in Arizona called, "The Grand Canyon." ever heard of it? ;) it's on my list of places to see before I die. (speaking of dying... we've become so close over the years, consider yourself invited to my funeral--at some unknown future date. it should be a doozy. see, before marriage, my initials were T.N.T. when I die I have given strict instructions that I am to be cremated, packed into fireworks and blown into the night sky as a fiery-glittering blossom so that once more I can be TNT.)

but I digress. 

I am told that The Grand Canyon is so awesome, so massive, soooo.... well, grand, that photographs cannot possibly do it justice--one must experience the absolute enormity of it allI just hope and pray it lives up to its hype, because it sounds a lot like an experience I had recently; inside a Meijer, one of the newly completed supersized superstores...

once again, I was in an unfamiliar portion of Michigan when I saw the familiar blue and red, lower-case Helvetica Meijer signage. I recall thinking, "I could really use a couple cans of mandarin oranges and a USB cable." naturally, I pulled over.

little did I know how deeply I would be affected by the supersized glimpses I experienced that day: 

1. even the airlock is supersized. seriously, this thing is so long it could double as NASA's rocket exhaust plume tunnel. and I'm 99.9% sure, when my Old Meijer becomes fully supersized, this particular change will cause an Elderly Uprising. see, at Old Meijer, the airlocks on the west and east ends functioned as the Elderly's Tinder app. no joke, digits were exchanged and love connections made as the Men Elderly sat on the bench and reviewed Lady Elderly as they came in (swipe left) and then followed them out (swipe right) to the SMART bus home. not at New Meijer; the new airlock's only function is to house the carts, no benches. this is not even remotely conducive to the indelicate art of hooking up. 

2. there are soooo many more items. at first this sounds great--variety! woohoo! until you realize that all this variety is getting in the way of your settled, expected familiar. I found myself jaw-dropped staring at a wall(!) of Snapea Crisps; did you know there are 4 flavors?! not to mention they make Lentil Bean (2 flavors) and Black Bean (2 flavors) and all sorts of differing bag sizes! Snack size, family size, 20 oz size, bulk size... 

not until that moment did I give a second thought of pureed, baked veggies; but there I am, light-headed with crisps possibilities-- no, stymied by multi-flavored visions of posh parties with bowls of caesar flavored crisps, wasabi-ranch late-night snacking and harried morning lightly-salted lunch bag options. my lifelong dreams of dashing in and out of Meijer shattered around me... they also have like 8 different types of dustpans to sweep up all the shattered-ness.

3. vast: an immense spaceyou feel the aloneness in each department in the supersized Meijer. no more kibitzing about avocados, or sharing a tender language-barrier moment over enemas. *more's the pity sigh* someone who is impatient with humanity, such as myself, should be fine with the quiet zen-esque moments, but it occurred to me that a large portion of my observing the ridiculous relies on... people, specifically Meijer crazies. when your closest grocery comrade/crazy is several dozen feet away, it's impossible to overhear engage in witty Captain Kangaroo references about green beans and Mr. Green Jeans. even the staff was few and far between; pretty sure produce guy was also staffing the coveted lobster tank death lottery. #surfandturf

I shuffled over to the u-scan to check-out, bummed to my core by the glimpses into my Old Meijer's supersized future, when a Southern inspirational thought popped into my head...

They say beauty is only skin deep, while ugly is to the bone.
When beauty finally fades away, ugly holds it's own.

let's hope and pray this silver-lining holds true for grocery stores.

Saturday, July 09, 2016

Meijer and the secret identity

maybe you've noticed by now that in a dozen or so of my 70 posts (this is post #71!), I mention using the u-scan. 

"mention" is wrong, more like detail my disdain, frustration and inner grrrr! for the malfunctioning lasers, the dirty glass, the temperamental scales and that grating/nasal computer voice! 

maybe you've asked yourself, "if she despises it, why in the name of all that is non-machine does she keep using the wretched u-scan?"

my life in the grocery store is all about get in, get out, as soon as I possibly can. hence, I generally base my machine cashier vs. human cashier choice on:

1. how short is the line?
2. how much is in my cart?

and that's it, 2 easy qualifiers for years... until sometime around late 2015.  

once upon a time...

I went on a big shopping trip. I had a list, a daily meal plan for the week and a very full cart. my hope and dream was to avoid stepping foot in a grocery store for a week. (haha, isn't that always the elusive dream?) 

I headed for the human. 

this was a cashier I was familiar with, nothing personal (of course), I rarely do personal with the superstore staff. however, I knew she was experienced, non-chatty, and she knew her produce

she did not disappoint, $108 later, shopping cart filled with plastic bagged groceries, I slid my card to pay. nothing happened. tried again, zilch. experienced cashier took my card, wrapped a layer of plastic bag around card and slid it through-- ta-da! the machine read my card. 

and that's when it happened. 

as the cashier unwrapped my card from the plastic, she noticed that instead of a signature on the back of the card, I had written in Sharpie, "CHECK I.D."

She flipped the card over, read my name and middle initial off the card, then said it; out loud.

"traci n..." 

my last name trailed off as her eyes lifted to mine and held me for 4 unnerving seconds. I'm suddenly alert-- was that recognition in her voice? 

softer this time she repeated my first name and middle initial embossed on my card. 

"traci n." 

another two seconds, then, 

"ms. traci... may I see some I.D.?"

knew that she knew, I just didn't know what would happen next. I gulped, the jig was up. my secret identity had been revealed. my heretofore "knack for observing the ridiculous" superpower was about to be... exposed to the superstore at the superstore! 

I pulled my license from my wallet, that government issued, betraying license (undeniable, glaring proof!) that revealed my first and full middle name: traci nell.

she read my name, "traci nell." then spoke it again as she looked at me. meanwhile, I'm inwardly screaming, "why didn't I buy that Incredibles mask for Halloween?!" 

I tried to play it cool, but was secretly calculating my own real life math word problem: 

traci has to run 150 ft pushing 80 lbs of groceries in a 50 lb metal cart with only 3 working wheels before the cashier sounds the alarm. how far will she get before she is caught, or before her racing, nervous heart explodes? 

as my brain was coming up with the correct formula (T = rϵwΔ), cashier gives me a meaningful wry smile as she hands off my I.D. and card. 

"I hope you had a good shopping experience today and found everything you needed."

have you ever heard me nervous-laugh? good, it is not pretty. 

I think I mumbled a mixture of three different languages as a reply, since my brain was still processing what just happened and simultaneously giving the order to abort the emergency "projectile vomit" distraction strategy.

and that, boys and girls, is why I voluntarily/grudgingly scan my own groceries and use apple pay at the blankety-blank(!) u-scan. 

oh, and also why I wear sunglasses (instead of a mask) in my profile pic. #secretidentitytricks

Wednesday, July 06, 2016

Meijer and the ultra superstore


that's the number of steps I took today inside the superstore while looking for milk, goggles, fish filets, eggs, white-flesh nectarines, green onions and a bag of baby carrots. is it me, or does that seem like excessive stepping for 7 grocery items? especially when 3 of the items are hidden in the same produce area.

somehow, my previously narrow-aisled, cramped from inventory, so everything is an arm's length away superstore has expanded, enlarged and (dare I say?), roomier-ed up. (I dared!)

walking around the new enormity of it all, I flashbacked to a Harry Potter moment at the Quidditch World Cup; Harry steps inside the Weasley's crappy looking tent to discover the inside was a ginormous Restoration Hardware glamping fantasy. (btw, if I were a Weasley, I'd ditch the cramped house and live the tent life 24/7)

that's when it occurred to me. this makeover isn't about applying a fresh layer of Marsha concealer to Jan's hideous blemishes. no, the superstore is transforming.

Meijer is supersizing the superstore! 

"that's impossible!" you indignantly exclaim. 


or maybe not.

maybe the uptick in grocery shopping step-count is due to my unfamiliarity with the new (constantly changing) layout. maybe this sign is part of the problem...

my unwavering trust in all things inkjet pointed me not to MORE GROCERY, but to hard-hat construction workers and several empty, not-working-yet refrigerator systems. (300+ steps shot to he**).

these two didn't bolster my fading faith in the color paper signage...

the grammar curveballs that Meijer throws kill me and my step stats! (hey, batter, batter... sa-wiiing batter!) I took several (100+) unnecessary steps because I couldn't decide if I wanted new meat (to the right), or old meat (to the left). I ended up circling back to the MORE GROCERY THIS WAY sign and stumbled upon a refrigerator of packaged, undisclosed-age, cod fish filets. #ageismstruggles

ALL CAPS signage debacle aside, I'm convinced the real step-count culprit was the goggles search. my cross-country walk across the supersized superstore to the sporting section proved to be futile. the, I-need-a-marathon-water-station jaunt to the outdoor section was also pointless. my zig-zag (in hindsight, I should've zag-zigged) into seasonal, nope. 

the correct answer/aisle?


really?! Speedo's Official Olympic Competition Race goggles hang out with the Finding Dory bath squirt toys? *overt eyeroll*

I'm calling it. my Meijer is being transformed into a supersized superstore. still unsure if this solves the Jan problem, or just bloats it. *cue nausea* 

if nothing else, at the end of this transformation we may end up with the best indoor walking trail in southeast michigan... 

*gasp at sudden thought* 

I can finally/legitimately order this sticker for my car's back window! #supersizeultrabonus