I’m in a dysfunctional relationship…with my grocery store.

Until this past spring, I’d been in a monogamous relationship with the same grocery store for 25 years – the Hy Vee that was two minutes away from our house. Oh, the memories:

-Oldest Sister, at age three, eliciting gasps of disapproval from other shoppers in line when she asked me quite seriously, “When do I have to go back to boarding school?”  It was so funny I didn’t bother explaining that we’d just been reading “Madeleine.”


What kind of a weirdo thinks this is a good idea?

-The Husband seriously pissing off a grumpy, long-time, older checker named Virginia as he tossed a bag of deli-sliced Virginia ham onto the conveyer with the words, “MMMmmm, Virginia! I sure do love your ham!”  Come on, how is that not funny?

-Three-year-old Younger Sister screaming with terror when a guy in a giant Twinkie costume offered her a balloon.  At least I think there was a guy in there.  Ever tried to wrestle a hysterical preschooler who’s gone stiff as a board out of a shopping cart seat?

My Hy-Vee relationship became rocky a year ago when the news came that our store was being closed, and a brand new Hy-Vee was opening SEVEN minutes away. No more sending a teen on a five-minute run for a can of cream-o-mushroom to save the supper recipe. No more goofing around with my stocking and checking buddies who had worked there for years. And what about the memories? The kids had been shopping there with me every week all their lives – it was like an extension of our home.

The break-up, when it came, was painful. The new store is huge, slick, and crowded. On my first visit I was verbally abused by a delusional old gal in a Caddy who wanted my parking spot (the fact that I was inches away from the empty space compared to her 100-foot distance carried no weight with her). My old pals who transferred to the new  store were are so busy and so stressed they didn’t have time to visit and joke around any more.

So for weeks I shopped around. I dated the Walmart Neighborhood Market a couple of times, but it was too Emo – dark and creepy. Went out with a Price Chopper once, but it was an expensive date, and I couldn’t keep up. Super Target was a little conceited – definitely not as super as it thought it was.

And so I’ve taken my Hy Vee back. Things are different now, though. I don’t really trust it – it’s too popular to be a good Saturday date. And we don’t have those spontaneous outings together anymore – it takes too long to get there. But, as with any long-term relationship, you learn to settle. At least I haven’t seen any giant Twinkies lurking in the aisles.


6 thoughts on “I’m in a dysfunctional relationship…with my grocery store.

  1. Thank you for inspiring me to look at the dreaded chore of the trip to the grocery store, a bit differently. I hate grocery shopping, and I will procrastinate until–well, it’s only my husband left–but when he opens the cupboard, or the fridge, then looks at me with sad, hungry eyes—I drag my butt to the store with a list and a mission—get in-get out.


    • Yeah, it’s one of my goals every week to get in and out as quickly as possible, and to NOT have to do a middle of the week fill-in trip (though that almost always ends up happening). When our old, beloved Hy Vee was still open I had the weekly shopping down to 40 minutes, including drive time. Those were the days…


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