Grocery store memories

When you have a relationship with someone or something for fifteen years you tend to get attached. Consider a marriage or owning a car, something that is often not too different as it’s difficult to get either one to turn over when it’s cold. (rim-shot please!)

After fifteen years of buying groceries in the same store having to change is a pain and a little sad.

The Bi-Lo store in Dallas, the last remaining one of the Penn Traffic stores in the area, turned off its automatic doors for the final time last Friday. As big as Penn Traffic was, and at one time it owned 100’s of stores in five states it couldn’t make it work. The good news is that Gerrity’s the local chain with 9 stores in the area will take over and reopen the store with even more employees.

“Mom” runs the show there. So there is a good chance that no one who worked at the Bi-lo will go without a job. The bad news is that if they worked there for fifteen years they have more than likely lost vacation time, seniority and other benefits. And the bad news for me is I no longer will have the comfort of knowing exactly where stuff is, making shopping a bigger pain than it is now.

A small thing in the big scheme of life to be sure. But unless you do the grocery shopping for your family on a regular basis (and I do) you can’t understand how much time and money you can save when you know the layout of a store and how they handle coupons and two for one specials and so on.

Plus if you shop at a regular time and day you get to know the workers. Ever have to wait at the deli for something? Not me. I had a standing order for my cold cuts and they were ready for me at the counter by the time I reached the deli. Again a small thing but….well, nice. I like a particular kind of cracker. I could reach my hand out and grab it without breaking stride.

I knew where to find everything and now I will have to learn it all over again.

Down the road there is the Weis Market. They are a pretty big chain with 157 stores in five states and they are making the Dallas store bigger and adding wine to the inventory. But it’s new and different. And the parking lot is way too small. As I left the Bi-lo for the last time Friday I saw that someone had written on the deli special blackboard “Hi Mom!” It seemed sad and hopeful at the same time.

As it turns out the store was bought by another local operation, Thomas’s. We don’t shop there much.

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About James Rising

A recovering radio addict wrestles with the written word.
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