When you move from the city to a small West Texas town, grocery shopping is disconcerting at first. Then you feel a surge of joy. You no longer have to buy bread at one store, meat at another, produce at the farmers’ market, cheese at the-best-place-in-Texas, non-perishables somewhere else. You have the choice of Store #1 or Store #2. And believe me, at one or the other you can find everything you need.
When the weekly newspaper comes out, you check the flyers. They are easy to find as they’re not hidden amid a sheaf of other ads. Then you decide if the ‘specials’ actually warrant going to both stores, or if you can easily manage with just the one. There is a cozy, compatibility about the flyers. They compete unobtrusively, so that one week Store #1 is better for fruit and Store# 2 for vegetables, and chicken or pork are temporarily better buys according to store number.
No fresh pineapple? Amazingly the canned, especially the kind on the shelf in Aisle 6, in its own juice and without sugar, works just as well. Planning on center-cut pork chops and can’t work up the energy to go the extra 500 yards to Store #1? Go with the family pack and freeze the extras.
Parking problems don’t exist, fresh produce (whether it’s on special or not) is easy to cook and tastes great, all the friendly kids sacking your groceries are familiar from PTA meetings,
There’s a health food store in a back street, but it’s not heavily patronized, just a small and faithful clientele who prefer to buy their vitamins and sundries there than on Aisle 8.
In no time at all, you are thankful for the hours and gasoline saved, relieved to find the English cookies and pickle selection you thought would be unobtainable. And in this ecumenical but definitely short of Jewish customers, you inexplicably spot a box of matzoh wedged between the crackers and the cereals.
©2009 Jane Manaster. All Rights Reserved.