Living car-free in an urban area is a wonderful thing, but it can make some simple aspects of everyday life rather complicated. The car-free part makes it so that I a) go to the grocery store quite frequently, since I can only buy what I can carry in a single trip (and the fact that I live by myself makes it foolish to buy perishables in large quantities, since they generally go bad before I can finish them!), and b) I only go to grocery stores that I can walk to or get to easily on public transit. The urban area part means that I have a decent selection of grocery-shopping options.
While I worked at my old job, I was a hardcore Safeway girl. My office was right by one Safeway, and another was on my bus route home. Since starting my new job, I’ve become a regular at the Columbia Heights Giant (because it’s on my new bus route home) But the CH Giant is always insanely busy–I’m pretty sure I’ve never waited less than 20 minutes in a check out line. And it might get even worse soon–the next nearest Giant store, in the Shaw neighborhood, is closing in early September so that the property can be redeveloped (a new Giant store will be included in the new construction, but that’s probably at least a year off) Giant says that it’s going to run a shuttle from the Shaw location to the CH Giant, which makes me flail and wail–just what my Giant needs: MORE PEOPLE. Ack. Hopefully, most of the people who normally shop at the Shaw Giant will go to the shiny new Safeway that’s near there, but chances are at least some of them will head up to Columbia Heights, worsening an already bad situation at that store.
So, I’ve been trying to figure out an alternative grocery option for the next year or so to avoid the cluster-fuck that will be my Giant.
This may come as shock to a lot of people, but I generally prefer to shop at Safeway or Giant over the other two major grocery chains in DC: Whole Foods and Harris Teeter. Why? Don’t most middle-class 20-somethings in DC turn up their noses at Giant and Safeway because they don’t have enough all-natural or organic options?
I prefer Safeway and Giant for one simple reason: their workers are unionized, while Harris Teeter’s are not, and Whole Foods is vehemently anti-union. I may have a master’s degree and a very white-collar job, but I still identify heavily working-class (probably a result of having grown up in a family of very active union members), and to me, how a grocery store treats its employees is more important than how many kinds of organic cheese it carries (besides, in the spring, summer, and fall, I get most of my produce and such from the Mount Pleasant farmer’s market).
Maybe this is a sign that I should shop at Best World (the little largely Latin American market on Mount Pleasant Street) more…but they don’t have the whole wheat bread I like!
/first-world problems 😛