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Cirque de Safeway

Is LG's latest grocery store the best thing since sliced Artisan bread or too over the top?

Recently I was preparing Thai yellow curry chicken for dinner, when I discovered I was all out of curry sauce so I decided to make a quick run to . After all,

Who could blame them? One of my friends called the old store, “Safeway of the Damned.” “It was like grocery shopping in a horror movie,” she shuddered, “dark aisles and creepy customers.”

I jumped into my car and pulled into the spacious underground parking lot. After a 30-second elevator ride, I stepped through the automated doors and onto the set of “Wheel of Fortune.” At least that’s how it felt. The aisles were jammed with excited shoppers and every 10 minutes, I imagined an announcer saying over the loud speaker: “Lucky customer on Checkstand 3! You just won a new car!” “Harried woman with three screaming toddlers and a baby teething on the cart handle on Aisle 11, you won a year’s supply of groceries!”

I kept hoping I’d hear my name called out: “Mom with budding LGHS cornerback who comes home ravenous after football practice, you just won a side of Certified Angus Beef!”

Located near the front entrance was a kiosk. I don’t drink coffee but the second I saw the Salted Caramel Mocha on the menu, I had to have one. It was so delicious that I sucked the entire hot beverage down in seconds. I was licking the sea salt off the lid when my eyes lit up. There was a sushi maker on premise! Even though the Cali Rolls were threaded with the unmistakable hot pink imitation K-rab, it was still pretty cool.

At the deli salad section, I really didn’t want to spoil my dinner but Sarah, the nice lady behind the counter, was pushing samples of the Broccoli Crunch Salad with raisins and sunflower seeds, which was good but way too healthy. I decided to balance out the broccoli with samples of the macaroni salad and deviled egg potato salad. YUM! IV Mayo—stick it in.

Next I meandered over to the cheese section. Even though I was disappointed they didn’t stock my favorite Mt. Tam Cowgirl Creamery, I was mesmerized by the enormous selection of brie and gorgonzola and gourmet spreadables. There was enough fromage in that refrigerated case to fill a fondue swimming pool. 

And the cookie aisle! Like a mirage, it stretched longer than the Gobi dessert.

By the time I made it to the Asian section, I had accepted tastes of meatloaf and mashed potatoes, and clam chowder with a berry lemonade chaser.

I scanned the shelves for yellow curry. No luck.

What the heck? This Safeway store had 500 types of cheese and every cookie known to the Keepler elf but no curry?

I was furious. Then, at the end of the frozen food aisle, some nice employee offered me a papercup of jalapeno potato chips—crunchy, fresh, slightly fiery and all was forgiven.

I headed to the self checkout counter. Scanning my items was really fun and another helpful employee (the store must have a 1:1 employee/customer ratio) helped me swipe my Visa and enter my Safeway club card number. I saved $5.69—no matter it was on Keebler Fudge stripe cookies, brie cheese, and three pints of deviled egg potato salad, none of which I needed.

I was so heady from my shopping experience that I didn’t even mind schlepping over to to buy the curry sauce. Since everyone was at the new Safeway, the parking lot was empty. The store was deserted. The butchers were even happy to see me.

I grabbed my curry and whizzed through the check out.

“What’s for dinner mom? I’m starving!” Tanner cried when I got home.

Was he crazy?  Food was the last thing on my mind. I must have gained at least five pounds grazing my way through Safeway. I was stuffed to the rafters, the caramel mocha and potato salad churning in my belly.

“It’s sandwich night, kid,” I said. “You’re on your own.”

Check out Kim Ratcliff and Chigiy Binell's blog at http://www.laughingattheground.com/

Chigiy Binell September 21, 2011 at 12:08 AM
I am disappointed that you didn't include the self check-out video I shot of you. But then again I can understand why.
Kim Ratcliff September 23, 2011 at 03:01 AM
Very funny, Chigiy. I bet you're disappointed that I didn't include the video of you dribbling latte all over Aisle 7, too.
Mary September 23, 2011 at 03:56 AM
You kill me, Kim! I'm now addicted to kalamata olive bread because of those Safeway samples.
Kim Ratcliff September 24, 2011 at 03:16 AM
Mary, now I know how to bribe you when I need special costumes for Medieval Day & Elvis impersonators :)

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