Monday, March 23, 2015

Fareway My Way

One day this week after work, Andy was telling me about a conversation he had with some coworkers about my organizational skills which borderline obsessive compulsiveness.  He was sharing how I plan meals and snacks weekly every Friday, make a grocery list and shop once for the whole week.  His coworker replied that she too made a weekly list of groceries for shopping during the week.  "But do you have a template that you write your grocery list into that follows the layout of the store?" he replied.  "Um... no".

My grocery list template is organized by product type (produce, canned goods, meat, etc), in order of the grocery store aisles.  I plan what I will make for diner each night as well as a few snacks, lunches and breakfasts throughout the week.

My grocery list template which was made on Word using tables and shading.  Feel free to steal/alter/etc.

This grocery template is really organized to my local grocery store (it reeks havoc when I try to use this list at Trader Joes in Rochester) which got me to thinking that we have never shared one of our new loves of small town living- our local grocery store, Fareway.  Fareway is a midwest chain of 100 or so grocery stores, in operation since 1938 and is the choice grocery chain of most the small surrounding towns in our area.  Larger towns can boast a fancy Fareway complete with a bakery (we are not so lucky).

The outside of the store is modest and unassuming; a single story stand-alone building featuring the recognizable yellow and red logo.

Note that all the pictures in this post were "taken on the sly" since I felt like a crazy person taking pictures while grocery shopping... which resulted in hilariously clear sneaky photos.

On my first few trips to Fareway, I was unimpressed and used to large grocery stores like Jewel and Hy-Vee which have every product imaginable, each with multiple brands and varieties.  Though Fareway keeps things simple, stocking one or two brands of the most traditionally purchased foods, I have come to appreciate the fresh produce, great prices and ease of shopping in a much smaller store.
Walking in you will find yourself in the produce section, trying to help your toddler collect groceries in his special red cart without inevitably catching your heels

The meat counter is especially fantastic with an abundance of meats and cheeses.  They don't stock any pre packed meat (like Purdue chicken breasts). This was something that was a stumper to me on my first shopping trip but now I love bellying up to the large counter to be waited on by one of five or more friendly staff members in really adorable little paper hats, white shirts and black ties.

There are no "take a number" tickets found here because there is never any waiting.  Here, you will not find fancy meats like veal or usually any fish (unless it is Lent), but you will find every cut of beef and pork imaginable as well as specialty bratwurst. If you don't see the cut you want they will politely ask you to wait and then rev up the band saw in back.

As I troll up and down the aisles, checking things off my crazy, computer created grocery spreadsheet, I enjoy waving to and catching up with someone I know that I inevitably run into.  When we first moved here from the Chicago suburbs, I was totally freaked out at how often I would run into someone at the store, but now I am shocked when I don't see at least one person I know.  Granted, I would still rather avoid running into my doctor or one of my student's parents when I am bathed in sweat from an exhilarating Zumba workout but usually I am not so lucky.

Since it is such a small store and able to keep prices so low, there is usually one or two things off my list each week that I have to make an extra trip to to health food co-op or to the dreaded Walmart but I like shopping at Fareway so much, it is worth the extra trip to another store for me.

Checking out is also a super pleasant experience.  No matter the time of the day, they always have several checkers and will call for back-up the minute there is any sort of line.  I actually sometimes wish they were less "Johnny on the spot" with extra checkers so I could catch up on frivolous tabloids while waiting in line.
Standing at the checkout with the trashy magazines
I like to play "stump the checker" picking out the most unusual produce I can find but rarely do they even miss a beat and never have I seen them flip through a book of produce to find a product number.

Conveyor-less check-out straight from cart to scanner.  E is unloading her little cart while L waits inside his carseat in the big cart with groceries piled all around him

After paying, way less then you would expect, you are escorted to your car by a 12 year-old cart boy (or a retiree during school hours).  Seriously, they won't let you push carts or carry more than a few bags out of the store... a bit awkward for the 30-year-old body builder but so convenient for a mom of three with one-to-few arms.  While chatting cheerfully about the weather, your personal bag boy takes your purchases all the way to your vehicle and helps load the groceries in the car.

I can't help but think how in the Chicago suburbs, if you needed any assistance with purchases out to your car you had to drive your car right up to the entrance for fear that you would try to snatch the bag boy away with you.  Not in small town Iowa.  I'm pretty sure if I asked, the bag boy would hop in the car with me, drive to my house and help unload the groceries there.

If we ever move away from our little farming paradise, I would jump at the chance to shop at a Hy-Vee again but damn, I'm gonna miss those cart boys. Im sorry, but there is no way to state my enthusiasm without sounding like a creeper.

No comments:

Post a Comment