I've been meaning to blog on this for awhile now and a Business Week piece on Safeway's efforts to spruce up their chain reminded me to do it. The article notes Safeway's new Panera-style restaurant Citrine New World Bistro, and also reminded me of how bad Safeway sucks.
As you may or may not know, grocery shopping in Washington, DC is an awful endeavor. While nearby Virginia offers a host of clean, well stocked, mid-range options like Harris Teeter, DC residents are stuck paying high taxes, not being represented in government and shopping at shockingly expensive places like Whole Foods and Dean & Deluca, or stores like Safeway and Giant - which is where produce goes to die. In case you're not familiar with our most "popular" options:
- Safeway: The most prevalent chain in the DC area is Safeway, which is the sketchiest grocery store I've ever been to. The Safeways in DC have affectionately (?) been nicknamed by residents. Check out the definitions below or click here for an interactive map with pictures of said grocery stores.
- The Soviet Safeway: So named because there is frequently little food on the shelves and the check out lines could NOT be longer (no matter what time of day or day of the week it is).
- The Social Safeway: Cruise the aisles of this Safeway for god awful produce, but enjoy looking at dozens of hot singles from nearby Georgetown University. No AARP members allowed.
- Sixties Safeway: This name is aptly inspired by the Safeway's Jetson's-esque architecture.
- Secret Safeway: This Safeway is disguised with a Townhouse awning, but don't be fooled, the produce still sucks!
- The Not So Safe Safeway: Located in Columbia Heights. My college roommate lived in this area for two years there were not one, but two, shootings in front of her house.
- Senior Safeway: In the famed Watergate apartment complex, this Safeway caters to the elderly (and loaded) Social Safeway shoppers of yesteryear.
- Whole Foods: The nationwide nickname Whole Paycheck/Whole Foods says it all. You can't escape here without throwing down at least $40. Which is all well and good when you're getting high quality food, which you usually do. However, in the Tenleytown Whole Foods, Vividblurry reports you get that and a whole lot more in the form of "Pepe", the bird who LIVES IN THE SALAD BAR. The Whole Foods manager's response to complaints is apparently, "Oh, that's just Pepe. We've been trying to catch him for weeks."
Lucky for us we can avoid long lines and Avian Flu by shopping at the lone Trader Joe's in DC, which is where I will be heading for my next grocery shopping excursion (as soon as I get some money).
Update 6/12: Here is a photo I took yesterday at Safeway (the Social Safeway) that illustrates the Soviet nature of most Safeways in DC. OMG!11! Someone stole all the chips! In all seriousness I was pissed there was no regular Pirate's Booty and just happened to have my digital camera in my bag when I needed it (for once).