I went to the new HyVee grocery store today. I was out to shave some big monkeys at Menard's, the home of obnoxious ads, cheap crappy lumber and odd semi-worthless crap and decided to hang a right into the giant parking lot in front of the new store that used to be K-Mart.
It's impressive. But sort of the way a beached whale is the first few days it's on the beach. In a year or so, if the economy keeps going the way it has been, it's going to be more like a whale that's been on the beach in the hot sun for a few weeks.
The store has giant aisles, huge bright lights everywhere, incredibly tall ceilings, the joint reminds me of an over lit NFL stadium with grocery aisles in it.
It's jammed with premade everything, from chopped up fresh fruit to a deli counter that wraps around half the store along the outside wall. All of it pretty spendy compared to Costco or Woodman's.
Four bucks for a chicken salad sandwich, though? I know they were two for one today, but damn, it wasn't a four dollar sandwich, and it looked a lot better than it tasted.
Everybody there was big smiles, helpful to the point of irritating. I didn't even make eye contact, because after the third or fourth person gave me a big smile and a "may I help you", I wanted to run screaming from the store. I think they were pumping aerosol Prozac into the joint, or maybe spiking the staff coffee with meth and lorazapam.
Or maybe everybody there was grimly happy to have a job. Not a lot of them going around in this jobless recovery.
And it was jammed packed, sort of like opening day at an amusement park, full of people shuffling around like freshly dead zombies, picking up 8 dollar a pound cheese, scarfing up samples of stuff like hungry dogs.
I hated it. It was pretentious, too big, and too full of crap. Since when to Kettle Chips belong in the freakin' health food section? And damn, I don't know many folks who can afford the high priced deli and salad bar. At 6 bucks a pound, no less.
In short, it was the kind of joint that makes my low rent, cook from scratch/eat less processed food mentality weep for the future. Who the hell buys pre-popped popcorn? Not my income bracket.
I prefer Woodman's dingy, crowded under lit mosh pit. They sell weirder brands of food, offer stuff in bulk, everybody on staff but the deli and checkout folks ignore you, a plus when you're not in the mood for happy face clerks, and the whole vibe makes me feel like I'm in the first Resident Evil movie, the one where it's filmed in the basement of Raccoon City and you have to fight off hordes of angry fast zombies. It's a giant freak show with low ceilings, a multi ethnic crew working the joint, and a much cheaper bill at the end of it. And nobody beats Woodman's liquor store for sheer entertainment and cheap prices.
In the long run, both Woodman's and HyVee are still stores selling tons of crap, unsustainable stores that would be 1/4 the size they are if people actually started cooking most of their food instead of eating processed food products. I bet if you took the corn syrup and corn products and salt and additives from the food in either joint and piled them up, you'd have about two thirds of the contents of both places. There's something to be said for cool ranch Doritos and a bottle of Jolt, but the levels of sheer junk in both places are a stupidly high, and it's no wonder we have a fucked up society when you look at the garbage we shove down out gullets that didn't even exist in my grandparent's diets.