Saturday, September 20, 2008

My perfect grocery store

While shopping last week I was struck, for about the millionth time, by just how long it takes to find any single item at the grocery store, even when you always buy the same brand and size. This is by no means a new or original observation, but still, as they say, it's true. Then, as often happens, a few days later I saw an article in the New York Times that took my fleeting thought and fleshed it out into a relevant, interesting story:
Miles of Aisles for Milk? Not Here
New York Times,
September 9, 2008
HARMAR TOWNSHIP, Pa. — Like cars and homes, grocery stores are beginning to shrink.

After years of building bigger stores — many larger than a football field and carrying 60,000 items — retailers are experimenting with radically smaller grocery stores that emphasize prepared meals, fresh produce and grab-and-go drinks.

The idea is to lure time-starved shoppers who want to pick up a few items or a fast meal without wandering long grocery aisles or paying restaurant prices. Read full article
I have long dreamed of having my very own scaled-back store, a place that carries just one choice for every essential item. I guess this is my winning-the-lottery fantasy: A well-lit, beautiful storefront—a blend of fancy boutique, old-fashioned general store, and pantry of eccentric billionaire recluse—located within walking distance of my house. It would stock either the best (that is, my favorite) or the cutest of every type of item I typically buy at the grocery store, plus the occasional great new thing I might like to try. Others would be welcome to shop there, too, but I think I would be the only one authorized to use the drive-thru.

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