The Safeway Dialogues

In college, we had the Gucci and Ghetto HEB. (San Antonio, TX) Grad School: Swanky and S****y Schnucks. (St Louis, MO)



I am in Washington, DC now… and like every other town before it, you guys are too cool for the room; the locals have (yet again) categorized our grocery stores with cute nicknames. Here, Safeway has taken over our landscape. Sure, there is the Giant, Harris Teeter, Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods… (not to mention Wegmans, if you have the time and gas money to go out into the suburbs…).  But you are NOT  a *true* Washingtonian unless you shop regularly at your local urban Safeway. As someone who has lived here long enough and has set foot in most of them, I think I know all of our store naming jargon. (Some of it is made up and/or altered – if you don’t like it… write your own blog.)




[Note: I’m on my fifth(?) day of sharing my neighbor’s internet. Verizon still hasn’t gotten around to fixing my connection. As such, this post (again) will be shorter/more half a$$ed than usual. Grrrr…]




So let’s get on with it… Below is the Safeway Shuffle. I’ll do this from west to east (sort of), to amuse myself.




Social Safeway (Georgetown)

The most “famous” Safeway… seriously, are they holding a happy hour there?  This is the Safeway you go to to hob nob with the uber weathy, the trust fund college students and the diplomat community.    In true Washington form, private events and galas are held here… between the frozen and the produce aisles.  (Sadly, I’m not joking.)

But between all of that nonsense, people actually “meet” at the Social Safeway.  Want a significant other?  Start shopping here.  A new BFF???  That’ll be in Aisle 2.   Interested in meeting other urban hippes?  They are all in the organic foods and/or sushi section.  If you say hi… if you’re cute enough, they’ll say hi back.




Senior Safeway (Watergate)

You know, back in the 1970s, one of our former presidents got in trouble for breaking into some of the offices herein.  Well, I don’t think anyone has moved out since that era.   The AARP crowd shops here.  I’m sure the shelves are stocked with Fixodent™, tapioca pudding… and hopefully, condoms.

... and soup. You can never forget soup






Soviet Safeway (Dupont)/Socialist Safeway(Rosslyn, VA)

I’m lumping these two stores into one category because they have pretty much the same issue – they are both mindblowingly awful in terms of selection, size and clientele.   Oh, let me delineate, in great detail, my woes…

Socialist Safeway ©Joe Architect

  • Both are teeny-tiny; just a bit bigger than a 7-11.  (Indeed, the Rosslyn location probably was classified as a fall out shelter; it’s in the basement of a high-story tower);
  • They can’t even stock the basics, and what they are able to provide is definitely sub par.  And just to insult you, what is there… is terribly overpriced.  You can see the economic theories of supply and demand immediately at work;
  • The produce, meat and seafood, to be kind, lacks in freshness and absence of mold; but more than makes up for it in skank; and
  • During holidays and natural disasters, I take a field trip just to gawk at all of the well-educated professionals fight over the last package of no-name brand toilet paper.

Soviet Safeway ©Maryland Route 5

The U.S.S.R never had anything on these shopping experiences.  (Or is it the other way around?)  In any case, everyone loses.  And the reality makes even less sense because both of these Safeways are in very wealthy parts of their respective communities.   Go figure.






Sandinista Safeway (Columbia Heights/Mount Pleasant)

In a nod to American idiocracy/racism, everything south of the border is well… Mexico.  This is the grocery store where you stock up on your Goya products, Inca Cola and Virgin Mary candles.  If you spend enough time in there, you may very well learn Spanish too.

Sandinista Safeway ©Maryland Route 5





Sexy Safeway (5th and L Street, NW)

I don’t know about this one.  The only thing “sexy” about this location is its exterior: full of glass and steel.  Inside… it’s nice.  But I’m guessing the sexy people shop at the Whole Foods… or they are sending their housekeepers to pick up supplies for them.

This Safeway does boast a large wine department though… after a few glasses, everybody looks sexxxy, I suppose.





Swanky Safeway (Southwest)

Ya, I don’t have a good nickname for perhaps the nicest Safeway near downtown DC.   I went in there once… and immediately freaked out because it was TOO large.   I felt like I entered the freakin’ Mall of America of grocery stores, and I immediately became dizzy with vertigo.

Well, for how well stocked and suburban-y it feels… nobody ever goes there.  Because it’s on the GREEN LINE.

Ummmm....






Surly Safeway

Have you ever been to the Safeway near the Potomac Avenue metro?  You’d remember, as you are shopping with 3,000 of your closest friends… and are subsequently standing 50 deep in line with them too.  That fact should be bad enough, but what really gets me panting… is the check out staff.  They hate you.  For being you.  And they are not afraid to screw with you if you look at them wrong.

Seriously, I’m sorry that you are being paid minimum wage to deal with us poor souls.  But can you please not overcharge me for that can of beans I’m trying to buy?  Thanks.




Not-So Safeway (H Street Corridor-ish)

Previously, this nickname was held by the Capitol Hill location… but now that the neighborhood is quickly gentrifying, it’s probably not as dodgy anymore.  But north of Capitol Hill, around H Street?   You might not want to stop there at night… unless you like the music of shotgun blasts while you pick out your Wonder Bread.


Some yellow tape to go with your salad?








Ya.  In the city, we hate our choices in grocery stores.  But for most of us, Safeway is the closest supermarket, so we’ll continue to shop there.  Well played, Safeway.  Well played.




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About No Disrespect

A little schmuck in a big world
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5 Responses to The Safeway Dialogues

  1. Michael Wright says:

    I hate Safeway for so many reasons, but my biggest pet peeve is that no matter how large or small the store, or where the Safeway happens to be located, or how busy they are, they always manage to staff each and every store the same, five people to stand doing nothing, and two people on the registers. The last time I went to Safeway was the Cherrydale one, which is nice and large and recently renovated, and I waited nearly 30 minutes to check out.

  2. Josh Heppner says:

    I absolutely hate Safeway. I have to second what Michael said… it’s almost as if they staff with the intention of making you wait in line, as a handful of employees stare at you while doing… well… nothing. True story: I was in line for the mandatory 15 minutes at the DuPont Safeway, and managed to make it all the way to the front of the line that originally actually went down the aisle. As I approached the register, a manager came up and sent the cashier on break, and explained that we all had to move to another line. I can say that I did not get to move to the front of that line. I miss my HEB’s.

  3. evi says:

    I have adopted a ninety-six year old at a local nursing home. Thank the good Lord (and Baby Jesus) that I don’t have to have “the talk” with see (see hyperlink entitled “condoms” under the Watergate Safeway). Due to a bad hip and alarmed doors to her room, Imelda cannot get out of bed, and after reading that NBC.com article, I am very happy for this.

  4. Joe Frank says:

    I have actually been to that Safeway in Rosslyn, VA, and exited as quickly as possible. The parking set-up is ridiculously screwy as well. When I traveled to the D.C. area for work and stayed in Rosslyn, I usually just bought groceries at one of the nearby CVS stores.
    Here in St Louis meanwhile, Schnucks has gradually been closing stores as the Wal-Mart onslaught continues. Dierbergs even closed their one store that was in a kinda sketchy part of North County.

  5. Terry Dactyl says:

    How can you not include the Safeway at 5101 Wilson Blvd. in Arlington? It is the Safeway That Time Forgot, a perfect trip back to the early Reagan years if not the Gerald Ford era. Bad lighting, old shelving, ancient front facade, scary-tiny pharmacy counter. Oddly this supermarket is the only one for blocks in a very well-off section of North Arlington. A Starbucks alone in the store would probably quadruple the earnings.

    One crazy thing–there was once a Vietnamese restaurant in the parking lot but it disappeared a few years ago and you can’t see any indication that it ever existed. Just more parking spots.

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