a lament for safeway

1 December 2002

My lovely and talented wife, She Who Must Be Obeyed, was craving Scoops and salsa con queso just now, so naturally she sent me out to the store to acquire these items on her behalf. I went, because I am all about being a good wife to Cyn. Being as how I am feeling like a lazy fuck tonight, I bypassed our normal greengrocer, Albertson's, and went to the ghetto Safeway that is two blocks from the house.

To get to Albertson's, I have to drive an extra six blocks and eke my way through a major intersection that is always snarled with traffic, even at two in the morning. It's pretty much a pain in the ass, so since I only needed to run out and pick up two quick things, I decided to risk the Safeway of Sorrow. I never go to this store unless I only need to pick up a couple of things. Upon my arrival, I always remember why I don't go there.

We call this shabby, dimly-lit market the Safeway of Sorrow, and with damn good reason.

  • It's tiny, and as I said, badly lit.

  • It closes at something ridiculous like midnight.

  • The layout makes no sense, so it's impossible to find anything without making the circuit of the entire store at least twice. Tonight, I found salsa con queso on aisle three and the chips on aisle ten. Most other stores would put them in close proximity to each other. Makes sense, right? Playing the word assocation game will tell you that. Chips and... salsa! Right. But no, not the Safeway of Sorrow. The salsa was on the soup aisle, allll the way across the store from the chips. Why? Who knows? It is a mystery.

  • Randomly and seemingly without reason, the Safeway of Sorrow will be out of some common item that every other store in town carries. You will never be able to get your entire grocery list there, even if it's a short one. Like the other day I had to run to the store to pick up cream cheese, some kind of fruit, and some green onions. There were no green onions to be found. Green onions, y'all. What store doesn't carry green onions? In this town, the correct answer would be: none. Everyone has green onions. Except the Safeway of Sorrow.

  • Every freakshow this side of Greeley congregates in the sad little frozen food section. It reminds me of holidays with my most undesirable, distant cousins; it's like the Clampetts come to town, only without the carefully coordinated outfits and attention to personal hygiene. And teeth.

    This may be why Cyn believes wholeheartedly that a coven of vampires lives directly under the meat section, kinda like in Blade. I'm beginning to think she may be right.

  • The staff all seem to be suffering from a form of constant, low-grade depression. Injecting the water supply with Prozac seems a viable option.

I don't know why I always think I'll be able to get in and out of there in under twenty minutes with what I came for. It never happens. So if you find yourself in the suburban enclave of Northglenn, Colorado, here's a tip from me to you:

Do not go to the Safeway of Sorrow, even for those "couple of quick things" you need. Drive through the nasty intersection, go the extra six blocks, and hie thee to Albertson's. Because a trip to the Safeway of Sorrow is to dwell in the vale of tears.