ANDY FISH

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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Wegman's? Shmegmans.


I'm going to make a lot of enemies with this post-- I know there are a lot of Wegmaniacs out there who are fanatical about their supermarket.   I also know that in Upstate New York and in other parts of the country you have less to choose from.  I know in my days in the supermarket biz the name Wegman's brought fear into the hearts of executives because of it's legion of followers.

Recently one opened in Northboro on Route 20 and on the first day it attracted 30,000 people and backed up traffic for miles.  

Sunday night Veronica and I headed there after our terrific lecture at the Fitchburg Art Museum to see what all the fuss is about and to grab some hot food from their in store Market Cafe.

All I can say is 'meh.'

If you compare it to Price Rite or Price Chopper-- yes it's a HUGE improvement over those discount markets.  If you compare it to Shaw's or Big Y which are nicer markets over their discount competitor's (with trained employees for one) it still stands above them.

But if you compare it to Whole Foods or Trader Joes it falls far short for me.

One of the joys of Trader Joes is that the experience of shopping there is actually FUN.  The employees are personable and obviously well treated because it's reflected in their attitudes.   The store is also a reasonable size so you can get in and out quickly, and they are lightning fast in opening register's if you need it.  If you want to experience the polar opposite of the mistreatment customers get at Chopper or Wal*Mart head on over to Trader Joes.

If a HOT bar and fancier world class food is your bag-- you can't beat Whole Foods.  Especially WHOLE FOODS on River Street in Cambridge which is a true experience in food shopping with an outstanding hot bar selection of ethnic and American foods.

The food I got at Wegman's was bland-- and this was Indian food!  The rice was overcooked and the sauce was watery.   They did have a good piece of peppered white fish but I like my fish overcooked and dry so I might not be the best judge of seafood.

In all-- price wise, they were no better than any of the other markets we have around here.  Worcester County is the most competitive market in the grocery business, or it was when I was in it fifteen years ago, at least according to the American Grocer's Association.

So Wegmaniacs, enjoy your overlarge under impressive market.  I'll stick to Whole Foods or Trader Joes.