My unsatisfactory grocery situation

Posted on 25 Jun 2011 01:04

I live in the city. Not the dense hi-rise-condo-city or even the row-house-city. But I do live in a medium-density, walkable neighborhood of small-lot craftsmen and bungalows with the occasional townhouse cluster or small apartment building. The neighborhood immediately to the east of me is somewhat denser and more obviously urban.

Now, I chose my home and this neighborhood purposely for these qualities of density and walkability. I have easy public transportation access to most of the rest of the city from here, and I live across the street from a Zipcar lot. I can walk to a couple of dozen restaurants and a dozen coffee shops.

Most importantly, I can walk to the grocery store, which I do every day. My neighborhood is big enough to support one supermarket, but apparently is not big enough to support two. So I can walk to the store, but within the constraints of my chosen circumstances, I have no real choice about it. This wouldn't be a problem if I liked the grocery store, but I don't. At all.

The things that I want in an urban neighborhood grocery store really don't seem that unreasonable to me, and yet they are hard to come by:

  1. I want the assortment to be carefully curated to fit the tastes of the local population. I do not want to see 57 different kinds of spaghetti sauce and 38 varieties of toothpaste. 10 kinds of pasta sauce seems like way more than enough variety if they are well-selected. Trader Joe's is a good example of what I mean by curation, though I understand that TJ's is terribly flawed in other regards and specifically in regard to my next point…
  2. I do not want to patronize any kind of national chain or franchise, of any variety whatsoever. I'm not saying that every single store has to be a mom-and-pop, but I am saying that there is no such thing as "too local."

The short of it? I fucking hate QFC and I fucking hate Kroger, but I'm stuck with them unless I move.


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