Counter Intelligence

Grocery Store Woes

Posted in District of Columbia, General Interest by melissamccart on November 13, 2006

images4.jpgI’ve been feeling like a fraud.  I’m mesmerized by chefs, cooking, food media, cookbooks, and dining trends but I absolutely loathe going to the market.  So much so that today, when I started making cream cheese frosting for red velvet cupcakes and realized that I was out of confectioners’ sugar, I panicked a little. 

Why?  It was 6:00.  And that’s the time everyone in Dupont, U Street, and Columbia Heights hits the grocery.  The thought of driving or riding my bike seven blocks to go to the Giant to stand in line was too much effort– I realize it’s ridiculous– so I gave up.   And now I have some delicious frostingless cupcakes.

I don’t get my distain for the grocery, really.  I love to go to Eastern Market and Dupont Farmer’s Market. But anywhere that has a parking garage makes me want to run for my life.  I ‘d rather pick up after my dog or shovel a ditch than go to a D.C. grocery store. 

Why dread D.C. groceries?  For one, there’s no such thing as a convenience store in Washington.  God forbid there’s a Wawa where you could get a decent sandwich, confectioners’ sugar, trash bags, and wasabi peas. So, every time you need something that isn’t sold at a 7-11, you have to hit the store, which means they’re crazy crowded, particularly in the afternoons.

I wish people were fast, aggressive, and brisque, as they are New York grocery stores.  While that may be offensive sometimes, when shopping, it’s downright awesome.  You get your stuff quicker, you don’t have to worry about being docile toward the person who’s taking up the whole aisle as she memorizes the canned food section, and, most important, the lines hustle.  Waiting in line in D.C. stores makes me crazy, particularly when I’m behind 15 people in the checkout line of the Soviet Safeway on a night when they’re out of onions.  Seriously.

Speaking of no onions,  you can pretty much count on D.C. stores being out of a major ingredient that you need.  Like the said onions at Safeway.  Or Chilean sea bass at Whole Foods.  Or Meyer lemons, ever. Or a less-than 12 pound package of chicken breast.  Or soft avocados.  And this is a short list.  

I’m think I’m resigning myself to Peapod and the occasional farmer’s market stop.  So far, that’s working out alright, except for every once in awhile when I misread the product descriptions because I’m in too much of a rush.  Like last time, when I thought I was ordering three boxes of Kraft Mac and Cheese.  I know.  It was a weak moment.  Instead, I ordered 18 boxes.  Clearly, I haven’t worked out the kinks yet.

Or maybe I should start shopping in the ‘burbs.

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