My dear friend and fellow blogger, Leeanne Ekland was tweeting and Facebooking (is that actually a verb now?) about the new Urban Fare False Creek store that opened in the Olympic Village this week and that got me to thinking about the differences between and urban and a suburban life.
You know Urban Fare? The store that sells coffee beans that some bird has eaten and then excreted, get collected up and turned into a gourmet coffee for urbanites everywhere? Or bread baked in France, flown overnight express to our city and sold by the slice as fresh bread (even though technically it is day old by the time it hits the store shelves).
Admittedly the photo of Leeanne Ekland’s grocery basket didn’t contain any coffee or day old bread, but it did contain organically grown raspberries, rice cakes and other delicious, healthy treats.
She also had a picture of a grinning Jimmy Pattison welcoming customers to his newest store.
Contrast that with the Pattison store in my neighbourhood…
The suburban stores are really nifty. Blindingly bright fluorescent lights that are on from early in the morning until long after midnight when the store on North Road near Lougheed Mall closes. Really sets the mood.
Inside the store you have a handful of young people jamming boxes of canned goods onto shelves and bread products that have been made in a factory in another part of Canada, trucked in and warmed right here in the store. Not quite as glamourous as flying bread in from France.
I did find a “specialty item” in the poultry section at Price Smart that I bet you cannot find at any Urban Fare – “fowl”.
Yep, “fowl”. A fresh bird that looks sort of like a large bony pigeon. When I asked an employee what “fowl” actually is, he told me that it is a chicken that was a layer-hen who met an early demise. He added that they are not good for roasting, really only good for making soup stock.
I have to admit, they are creepy looking birds. I do not recommend them. Even though the bird-poop coffee has made its way through the digestive system of another bird or monkey or something, it just seems easier on the eyes.
At any rate, when you want to leave Price Smart, well, you are on your own. Literally.
In the morning there are only self-checkout stands. There are no cashiers. Remember the good old days when you had someone ring in your grocery purchases and then ask if you wanted paper or plastic bags? And then they packed them in the bag of your choice?
Not here. Nope, in their quest for lower prices, Price Smart Foods has dispensed with cashiers. DIY-extreme grocery shopping.
The good thing is, there is a young lady standing nearby filing her finger nails and if you are like me and you make the computer system fail, she will stop filing her nails for a moment and will come sauntering over to tell you that you need to enter the code that is on the sticker on the bananas.
It is interesting how young people can find a voice of such disdain for us old-timers who are so uninformed (in their world view).
When I replied that there was in fact no sticker with a secret price code stencilled on it, she replied that the code was **** as if it was beyond ridiculous that I did not know this code.
And as you leave the store, the doors automatically open, a blast of hot air blasts into your face pushing all but the most extreme gel coated hair straight back and possibly out of your scalp. It sort of feels like you are being sanitized as you leave the store.
Yep, welcome to the suburban-style Urban Fare. A store where lower prices are paid for with the service that you can only dream about.