I need a Sherpa.

I had a Very Strange experience today that leads me to believe I have crossed the threshold from ‘slightly intolerant left-leaning hippie-type” to “rest home fodder”.

After a quick jaunt to the bank to make a deposit, and having to wait 20 minutes for the bank to open, even though I was there at a *perfectly respectable hour*, I decided to get some lunch-ish items for work. I went to a grocery store. Nay; I went to the Big Green Store.

Now, I’m sure you know this, but the last time I was in that particular brand of store, I was, as Road Rage puts it “all hepped up on goofballs”. Actually, I don’t think she’s ever said that. I had a “few extra beans in my coffee”, if you will. I was out of my gourd on LSD, in other words. *blush* Oh, those crazy 90s, right? Let me just tell you: NEVER DO THAT. [[shudder]]

Okay, so I enter the Megalomart and stand there, agape. There are *no groceries* in this store. Usually when you enter a market or a supermarket even, there is a whole section of produce basically right in front of you (at least, that is the case in all the markets I frequent). OR at least crackers. I have just walked in to a display of tropical plants, buffeted by a display of snow shovels, and confronted with a display of pillows. I begin to walk around. Lightbulbs, caustic chemical cleaning agents, more pillows, towels, dustbins, mops…flatware and silverware, CDs, batteries, electronics…I am beginning to wonder if I’m not in the wrong store. Then I see it. AN ENTIRE WALL OF CHEESE!

“Oh joy!” I think to myself. “Cheese! I love cheese! I’ll get cheese for lunch!”

But all the cheese is in pre-cut slices. Or it’s a funny colour, like bright orange (not ‘cheddar’ orange; ‘nuclear fallout klaxon’ orange, and that’s not a normal colour for cheese). I look around again. Pre-packaged food. Sandwiches made on light and fluffy bread the colour of a virgin’s breasts, hermetically sealed in stuff that will never break down in nature. The glorious trays of seal meat and shrimp, packaged together with orange hummus (what IS it with orange-coloured food? What in nature is…oh wait. Okay, um. What in nature that isn’t a fruit or vegetable is orange? You know what? Never mind the question). Or beige spinach dip (which is guaranteed to taste nothing like the mana from heaven that Snoozy used to make).

I’m dazed; the wind has been knocked out of me by the strange place that I have just walked in to. I envision I feel like those children felt, walking in to Willy Wonka’s candy factory. It was marvellous and horrible all at the same time. I was at once terrified and full of wonder. Disgusted and amazed.

And the people! Oh Lord, the people! They were all pushing their carts and scowling and grabbing things and racing to get the next bunch of lettuce because there *clearly* weren’t enough bunches of lettuce to go around. The Produce was wayyy the hell and gone at the other end of the store, which made me very confused. And most of the produce was either things like nuts and chocolates or it was rotting fruit and brown vegetables.

I stood and looked at the people picking over fruit grown in Some Other Country far, far away, and I thought, “what a lot of waste”. What’s going to happen when the food is actually going ‘off’? Do they just dump it? Do they give it to the food bank before it goes bad? Because I’m pretty sure that even if every person who lives in this city went to one of the Big Green Stores and bought one apple, there would STILL be too many.

Then I started to think about what would happen if a kid got separated from its parents in there. You wouldn’t find each other for WEEKS.

Is it just me, or have these places grown and become more and more annoying? Really. I got seriously freaked out by that place, and by how impersonal it is. The checkout person didn’t greet me or thank me or chat me up (do you know how ODD that is?). Nobody said “hello!” in the aisle. They looked at me really funny when I said “Excuse me, please,” if I had to walk in front of them.

cenobyte is a writer, editor, blogger, and super genius from Saskatchewan, Canada.


  1. The last time I went to The Big Green Store, I went with a three year old and a newborn strapped to my chest. By time we got to the checkout, the newborn was shrieking, and the three year old was hooting like an alien monkey. Not only did the checkout person not say hello or anything kind, she didn’t offer to help me package my own groceries, and had the gall to hiss and grumble when I was taking too long.I hate that bloody place, and my mother is constantly telling me how much cheaper everything is there. I’d rather pay a little more than ever set foot in that place, thank you very much.Also – You get local flour? Where? Hook me up, please…I’ve been shamefully lax in the home baked bread department.ALSO x 2 – Would you use sourdough starters? I have an exciting new years project in mind, but it requires that I have copious amounts of sourdough starters in my house, and I would love to find someone to share with.

  2. My Da often goes to the Big Green Store. “It’s CHEAP!” he says. And I say, “Da, food isn’t supposed to be *cheap*.”And he says, “Well I’m sure as hell not going to pay five dollars for a loaf of bread!” And I say, “Even when we pay $60 for a bag of flour that’s grown and milled within 100km of our home, it still costs less than $5 a loaf for me to make bread. Here, have a loaf!”And he says, “That’s great, but we don’t all have the time or patience to make bread all the time!”And I say, “Here! Have Mum’s breadmaker! I don’t use it!”And he says, “I don’t have time to fart around with that stuff.”And I say, “But all you have to do is put stuff in at night, and in theory, you’ll have fresh bread in the morning!”And he says, “I’ll be damned if I’m going to spend $10 on a bunch of bananas, when I can spend half that at the Big Green Store. Arse-wipe is cheap there, too.”And I say, “You know what, you’re right. You should *always* shop at the Big Green Store.”And he says, “But you know, those Farmer’s Markets. Those things, I like.”And I say, “YES! Yes, (nearly-defeated laugh) you should shop at Farmer’s Markets.”And he says, “But who has time to figure out when the hell they have them?”And I weep.I weep.

  3. I don’t get the Big Green Store. They have spectacularly terrible stuff, and they’re no less expensive, and shopping there is a misery.Loblaws. I miss Loblaws. They had all the President’s choice things, with /good/ produce and much less misery.I have a Big Green Store right next to work, and I’d still rather drive elsewhere to shop.

  4. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again.BOMBS PEOPLE! I can make’um! I’ll even chuck’um! Y’want that to be the target?! It can be the big green FLAMING PIT!!! YAH!For some reason I’ve got a lot of rage right now.

  5. Well, the big green store does take some getting used to. And there are people who make the argument that the big green store is at least a Canadian food megagiant, as opposed to Slaveway.But the thing is, these places don’t have NUTHIN on Malwart. There you can buy damn near everything under the sun under one roof. And there are Malwart places, in the US I hear tell, where you can go in and buy a shitload of cheap plastic crap, and then buy the veehickle to take all the swag home in! I’s a consumerin miracle. It’s more resources in one spot at one time than many a third world village gets to have in a year. Neil said it best (of course) — “they had the best protection; they were poisoned with selection.” wv: equamanc

  6. Split the difference.Shop Co-op.Seriously.The cheese is pricey though, so careful with that.And hey – you get dividends back for being a member / stakeholder.Very high quality food in all departments – two thumbs up.

  7. Y’know, i like the idea of the Big Green Store. Just like Malwart. however, i will pay extra for a few things. 1) not having to buy bags to carry my crap. 2) not having to bag my own crap. 3)being in a store where i don’t have to fight over a piece of produce or whatever. basically if i wanted to work there, i probably would. however, if i have to pay an extra fifty cents on bread so that i don’t have to feel like i am being forced to work there, then cool. its like getting your own drink from a fast food place. “You wanna pass me a visor and a name tag so i can f&%*ing fit in please?”

  8. Um.I, uh. Like… it?*feels like he should hide or something, screws up courage and goes on*Now, this may very well be because I have no soul, a problem well-diagnosed by my intelligent, soul-y friends [side note: why do I have so few intelligent, like-minded friends? I suppose I do have one such friend who also shops at the Big Green Store]. But however it happened, I got used to the Big Green Store, and then I started to… usually appreciate it. I like one-stop shopping, and I really don’t like paying $11 for a box of cereal at Slaveway, when the Big Green Store across the road has the same box of cereal for $6.The Big Green Store has everything I want, and for whatever reason I find their cheese delicious and their fruit non-rotting (except for their terrifying pile of mandarin oranges, with at least 50% of them inedible). I’ve been there a lot, so I don’t have any trouble finding my way around. I usually get “hello”-ed by cashiers, and I don’t really care when I don’t. I tried the self-checkout, and thought it was a pretty neat idea. They offer environmentally-friendly bags. They also aren’t ScaryMart, and are run by people a lot less scary than ScaryMart’s people.I think what I’m trying to say is, I will be your Sherpa.Heh. Also, I just remembered my uncle’s store nickname: Stupidstore.

  9. Grumble, grumble. Yes, I shop there. Usually two times a month. The last 3 times I went there, the store was a disaster with stock all over, garbage, pallets of stuff blocking already busy aisles. The impersonal, pushy customers are always there. Now they have converted the express checkouts into self checkouts. Those suck. The times I used it( plastic cash only too), I needed assistance 4 and 5 times from the ONE cashier that was left to staff the 10+ self checkouts. I am now at the point of many others who chose to spend more money to go elsewhere. From,Road Rage

  10. You say “Excuse me, please” when you walk in front of people?Does that mean you use your signal lights when you change lanes, too?You renegade, you. :)

  11. They seem to be somewhat friendlier and less sterilized at Extra Foods. That’s where we usually go. Sometimes they have poor selection though. I guess that’s the balance for not being quite as big.

  12. I remember Co-op. Yeah, can’t really shop there anymore.Extrafoods is probably my favourite, but it’s really very similar to Stupidstore. And the friend I usually go shopping with goes to Stupidstore, so, eh.

  13. Sobey’s! (ptoo!!)They took a perfectly good IGA and roont it!They’re the reason I sought and found grocery asylum (?) at Co-op.Does it sound like I’m a shill for Co-op? I am. They generally rock.Shop Co-op.

  14. I shop at the Extrafoods near where I live. See, Loblaws/Extrafoods/Stupidstore is all the same company, but Extrafoods, not so painful to shop at. I haven’t stepped foot in a Stupidstore for years now and don’t miss it at all. It’s not that I refuse to shop their, they’re all just way too far away to be worth the trip.Only place I refuse to shop is Sobeys.

  15. One thing though…they have a soundtrack of weather and farm animals going in the produce department. Gentle thunder, cows…and loons. LOONS. I always laugh when I hear them and think of a big loon coop. Crazy-assed farm loons. The fox in the loonhouse. Anyway, I get a kick out of it. Shop co-op.Great food and they actually *do* stuff for you.

i make squee noises when you tell me stuff.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: