A.R.M. (kinkyturtle) wrote,

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Maundering about grocery stores

Today I was rereading The Big Book of Ancient, Semi-Coherent Wisdom: Ozy and Millie, 2000-2001 when I saw this strip on page 112. D.C. Simpson's comment on it (which is not on the webpage, which is a good reason to buy the books!) is, "I don't think I knew when I wrote this that Safeway is not a national chain of grocery stores, and that you have to be on the West Coast to know about it."

The funny thing is that you actually have to be either on the West Coast or old enough to remember when it was a national chain. It used to be one. There were Safeways here in Houston back in the '70s and '80s, and I remember Mom sometimes taking me to one that was on Holcombe, a few miles from our house, when I was a kid. Eventually (sometime in the '80s, or possibly the '90s) it closed, and the building reopened as an Apple Tree. After a few years, Apple Tree closed, IIRC amid a scandal and a strike over unfair labor practices or something. Later, the building reopened as a Rice Epicurean Market, which is a chain of upscale grocery stores, which I like because they're the one place in town where I can buy Coffee Crisp bars! :}

Meanwhile, Mom had switched to shopping at Kroger at S. Braeswood & Kirby, but then they closed, so she switched to shopping at Randall's, even though it was in River Oaks Plaza, much farther away. After a while, another Randall's opened in Meyer Park, which is closer, so we started shopping there. Then a third Randall's opened in Vanderbilt Square, coincidentally just down the street from where the Safeway used to be, so we started shopping there.

Here's the interesting part (sort of): Safeway bought Randall's. It kept the Randall's name, but it started using Safeway's business practices, which sadly for us meant a decline in quality, especially at the delicatessen counter, where they stopped carrying Boar's Head products and switched to stuff my mom considered inferior, so she stopped shopping there. We switched to a new Kroger location that had opened up at Westpark & Buffalo Speedway. They're a little farther away but they've got good quality, and they proudly sell Boar's Head meats and cheeses. I wish they had cart corrals, though.

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