I read in today’s Washington Post that a Wegmans in the DC area is becoming a popular place for people to meet.  This is certainly not a new phenomenon.  As I mentioned in a recent post, my local Whole Foods might as well have a catwalk and strobe lights – it’s like a fashion show.   What I am wondering is – is this a good thing or a bad thing?

One thing is for certain, the stores are making the most of this.  The manager of the Wegman’s mentioned in the above story “brought in a live jazz band during the store’s grand opening in October. After getting requests for more live music, she has decided to occasionally bring bands in on Friday nights.”

Other stores have acted similarly.  “Wifi encourages people to linger with their laptops. Flat-panel televisions lure locals to watch the news or a basketball game. Fireplaces and comfortable chairs invite book clubs to meet.” Clearly, if you build it, they will come – and most likely buy stuff.  The cause and effect is clear, and while it is not something that appeals to me, where is the harm?

Most people see grocery stores as safe havens that offer a lot of ways to start up a conversation.  Especially if you are really into food, which I’m sure many So Good readers are, being asked a question in the dessert aisle like, “do you think pies are the new cupcake?” could elicit a 45-minute response.  Food has always brought people together, and what better place than the grocery store?   It is well lit, people are usually sober, and if you don’t want the chit-chat, then just keep it moving.  And, as one customer says, “You have to have a car to get here.”

Who’s with me?

H/t to Alfred Eisenstaedt for the classic shot above.

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2 Responses

  1. Sam

    When I read this article, I though immediately of the Trader Joe’s by my house. Everyone there seems to know everyone else, and the workers are alarmingly friendly.

    The prospect of turning grocery shopping trips into social gatherings is all at once unsettling and appealing to me. The idea has potential, but I think we would first have to revise our conception of what a grocery shopping trip is. We’d have to stop thinking about it as a task to get out of the way and start thinking about it as a time to relax and socialize.

  2. Sarah Lynn

    Awesome post! There is a Wegmans near me (Buffalo, NY) and they also have the jazz music on Friday nights. I went there once to get a coffee and the music was playing. It was loud. The ambiance at a grocery store is a lot different than a privately-owned corner coffee shop. I prefer a quieter place but could definitely see the appeal. All of Wegmans prepared food is really great, especially their vegetable pizza. Yum.


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