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Wegman's, Shmegman's...

One person's take on the imminent arrival of Wegman's.

I may be the only person in the area who is not totally excited about Wegman's opening later this month. I've been in a Wegman's once or twice. My parents practically live at the one by their house. My sister eats lunch at the one by her house. My husband went to school in Buffalo, NY, so he knows all about them. Friends have been making pilgrimages to the ones in Lanham and Columbia and have vowed never to shop anywhere else once ours opens in Waugh Chapel South. But for me, I hate change. I'm not a first adopter when it comes to where I shop.

I don't agree that certain places are "worth the drive." I hate not knowing where everything is on the shelves. But mostly, I've spent seven years building relationships with the people at Safeway and I hate the idea of abandoning them. Yes, you read that right. I love the people at Safeway. The store itself might not carry everything we'd like. It certainly isn't Wegman's. But it's where I shop. It's the faces I know. The smiles I get. It's Darlene in produce who gives you an honest answer when you ask "How are the clementines." It's Felix in the meat department who never balks when I ask for something I don't see on the shelf. It's Miss Pat, oh Miss Pat, my favorite check-out lady. She's the best. Quick. Friendly. Lovely. And Stanley who always asks if you need any help, gathers the carts up from the parking lot and restocks the shelves.

What's going to happen to these people who've been working for years at Safeway? Will business drop off so much that their jobs will be in danger? The store is more than just what's on the shelves, it's the people inside. Is everyone going to stop going to Safeway? Or will the allure of Wegman's wear off at some point and people will return to Safeway. Or maybe people will split their shopping and find something they like about both stores. That's what I'll do. (Truth be told, I'd rather have a Trader Joe's closer to me!)

You probably think I'm totally crazy for even thinking like this. But I can't help it. I'm a loyal customer. That's how I roll. I'm sure some of you don't like Safeway and have something negative to say about it. That's fine, to each his/her own. I'm sure I'll go to Wegman's and be charmed by the food, but whether or not I'll be charmed by the people is another thing. There's only one Miss Pat.

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Cindy Bryl October 05, 2012 at 03:04 PM
No, I would think you were crazy if you did not think like this. I'll go in there for 'something to do' one day with the kids, but unless they have a 5% off all purchases card or their coupons are amazing then no, I won't be shopping there. I would much rather have a Trader Joe's as well.
Elizabeth Ann October 05, 2012 at 03:23 PM
I am looking forward to Wegmans, prices for everyday items are comparable....safeway to me has gone down in quality (very soft cucumbers as times and the bin is empty quite alot and it takes two days to get asparagus in the store? that will not cut it). I have even had to return things to the store because it has expired (I now check all dates prior to purchase) and believe it or not, there are things expired on the shelf. They will need to step up their game imo or it will end up like Bloom on 175.
Diane in Odenton October 05, 2012 at 03:32 PM
Yes --- Trader Joes!!!!! I would be in heaven if they put one in Odenton.
laura October 05, 2012 at 07:56 PM
please give Wegmans a try before you make a decision, they are like no other. As a primary Safeway customer, I can say that i have been converted to Wegmans. Not having to chase all over the neighbor to find the best sale is refreshing, yet getting your everyday items for 30% cheaper is also nice.All of Wegmans private labels are tasty and of good quality.
Lisa October 06, 2012 at 12:25 PM
Perhaps the other grocery chains should be worried about their people. Giant seems to be taking my stuff off of the shelves and driving me to Wegmann's. The people don't know cheese from OJ and they don't have any selections to speak of. Most of the foods are near expiration if not past. Come on!
Lisa October 06, 2012 at 12:27 PM
Not to mention that their prepared foods are full of all of the stuff I try to stay away from.
Lisa October 06, 2012 at 12:28 PM
In TX we had a hybrid HEB/Central Mkt. It was awesome!
Megan Arts Evans October 06, 2012 at 01:14 PM
Laura - I promise I will give Wegman's a try!!! :-)
Regina McAnally October 06, 2012 at 07:24 PM
My primary reason for being so excited about Wegman's is the idea of being able to find things again that my Food Lion (Bloom) has quit carrying. I realize that a smaller store cannot afford to stock items that don't turn over as often, BUT I get so frustrated not being able to get things I really want. It seems like every week there are at least a couple of items they've quit carrying. Last week it was canned shredded coconut and cream of coconut. The week before it was Jimmy Dean turkey sausage crumbles. I'm sure I will still patronize Food Lion as well because I'm used to it and for the convenience, but I can't wait for Wegman's. Paint me excited!!!!
John October 06, 2012 at 09:33 PM
Regina - ditto. We primarily go to Food Lion but they've ditched a few things we really like - and tell someone to get those stupid self check-out registers fixed!
Linda October 06, 2012 at 11:22 PM
me too!
Patty B October 07, 2012 at 01:51 PM
I'm a Shoppers girl myself. The employees are friendly, the store is clean and well organized, and the prices for staple groceries are always less than at Safeway OR Giant. I'm not a coupon clipper, so it just makes good sense for me to shop where my staples will be the least expensive every day. That said, I am happy that we will now have a store in the area that will sell gourmet items----those hard to find things for certain recipes, interesting foods that the local grocers can't carry, etc. I will continue to shop at Shoppers, but I welcome having a store in the area that will carry those hard to find items.
oliver david October 07, 2012 at 04:11 PM
Really-I have shopped at Safeway and Giant and have found that the Safeway employees to be very aloof and not caring about helping you find something or really caring at all. The management is wonderful but I get tired of the sales help not giving a darn about going out of their way and they never smile. I believe that there are some nice, some not so nice but I do know that usually management is wonderful with customers because they want to keep you but 3/4 of the employees are not so friendly at Safeway-they need to not be so miserable and want to help. That is funnny how you think they're the greatest well maybe to you.
Anonymous October 08, 2012 at 12:14 PM
I cannot wait for Wegmans (says the Upstate NY girl)! But really it's because I have never been able to find everything I need in one store around here. Food Lion is awful, yet I go out of convenience. And between Safeway and Giant, I usually end up at Giant because of shorter lines and with 3 little ones in tow, long lines and slow cashiers just don't work. Personally, Trader Joes is my favorite because the people there are so friendly and helpful, and I wish one would move into the cruddy run down plaza. I do agree about the produce lady at Safeway, very helpful and sweet. It is hard to change when you actually know the people and look forward to seeing them! But, once you go to Wegmans ..... I don't know how the others will survive.
blythe October 08, 2012 at 06:07 PM
Wow, Having read all the great comments I don't know what to do. I have never heard of Wegmans before now. I shop at Giant and Walmart. I live in Odenton. I guess I will have to try Wegmans and see for myself what gives. Anymore input will be appreciated. Is there something special about Wegmans ? How abdout Price?
Susan Kim October 09, 2012 at 12:00 PM
Interesting... one of the reasons I stopped shopping at Safeway was because of the rude cashiers. I don't need a hug when I check out but at least return the greeting when I say hello :-\ I go to Giant now (Shell gas rewards, ftw!) and will gladly check out Wegman's (only been once to a VA location - great selection and prices). To each his own =)
Anne N October 09, 2012 at 12:09 PM
As another upstate NYer who just moved here, I cannot wait for Wegmans. They are a great company. I used to have one 5 minutes away and you cannot beat their selection or there produce. They donated money and time to the local communities and are rated as one of the best places to work in the country. They usually try to buy as much local produce as is available, which helps local economies. I have not been impressed with the stores I have tried here so far (I have only lived here for 3 weeks) and personally cannot wait for Wegman's to open.
cftnmom19 October 09, 2012 at 02:37 PM
I will still go to Giant for Rx and Gas Rewards, but will be buying most of my groceries from Wegmans. I love that I can go to the one in Lanham to buy all of my meats and they have expiration dates that are 10-14 days out instead of 1-2 days out, not to mention they have better/more organics. Their store brands are also SO much better than most name brands, and are cheaper than Giant store brands!
jelly! October 09, 2012 at 03:41 PM
I stopped shopping at Safeway months ago. I'm not sure if they changed suppliers - maybe because of Wegman's upcoming opening - but their stock, especially fruits and veggies, has gone WAY down but the prices have not. I used to not flinch at paying a couple extra bucks for good produce at Safeway, but now I just go to Giant. At least there it still looks good and is reasonably priced. Good customer service and smiles in the store won't make my food taste better at home.
Laurie October 09, 2012 at 03:44 PM
Safeway is a chain. Their employees are just numbers. If they lose their jobs at the Safeway in Crofton, there are a bunch of other Safeways within a 30 mile radius to relocate to. Wegman's on the other hand is a family owned business. They are bringing new jobs into this area and treat their employees well. They also treat the communities they operate in well. Wegman's has something for everyone from the budget minded to the people who just buy what they want without a care. I'm sure if those Safeway employees need a job, they can go on over to Wegmans (which is much bigger by the way) and fill out an application.
Megan Arts Evans October 09, 2012 at 03:51 PM
These are great comments. Thanks everyone for taking the time to read. I promise to give Wegman's a try. Maybe we can have a field trip!!!
Victoria Loucks October 09, 2012 at 06:22 PM
One thing that wasn't mentioned in any of the comments is the chaos that is open day at a Wegmans. Opening Day is an EVENT and much like Opening Day for the O's, it draws a crowd. Some will come out to celebrate that the store is finally here and will become regular shoppers. Others will come just for the spectacle and will be turned off by the crowds and lines. Wegmans does an excellent job at keeping things moving, and has lots of give a ways for those in attendance, but Opening Day is like none other. My recommendation is to steer clear the first couple of days. Let the hub-hub die down then come check it out. If you can resist the prepared foods (let me know how that goes - always my weakness) and the cheese case (another source of yummness and expense) then avoid the Complements section (my true achilles heel) you'll find that the quality is far above what we are offered by Giant or Safeway and the prices are better. Just don't say I didn't warn you if you show up on Opening Day!
Papa Starfish October 10, 2012 at 04:31 PM
It is a lot of fun to get lunch at Wegman's.
Meryl Tseng October 10, 2012 at 05:07 PM
I don't think that Wegman's is going to drive down the Safeway business too much. People who don't have patience for the crowds and the strange effect that Wegman's has on people (they tend to stand in the middle of the aisle gawking at things without realizing they're blocking all the traffic) will still go to the old stores. I stopped shopping at the regular grocery stores in the last couple of years, instead opting for a combination of Target and BJ's/Costco, but have been shopping at the Columbia Wegman's since it opened. And even once our Wegman's opens, I'll be sticking with the Columbia location for a while to let the novelty wear off here.
Steve October 10, 2012 at 07:16 PM
I too have noticed, not all, but a lot, of retail service in the area going down. My family and I go to Giant because it's closer and because the cashiers are really friendly and helpful. Don't go to Shoppers even though I used to work there many years ago when it was a Basics/Metro and only go to Safeway when I can't find anything in Giant. Don't get me started on the customer service at, let's say KMart or McDonalds. Horrible. I will gladly pay 5-10cents more at Wegmans for the variety, quality, and customer service.
Steve October 10, 2012 at 07:22 PM
You do have a point. I work in Columbia and when that Wegmans opened up there were huge lines (parking) just to get parking. Although, like a lot of things in Columbia, they build up and not out, so they built a two level parking garage instead of getting more 'ground' space for parking. I appears that the parking in Crofton looks pretty substantial.....for now. But we'll see when all the other retail fills up. BTW, did that complex really need more banks? :-/
Megan Arts Evans October 10, 2012 at 07:24 PM
Steve - I will avoid opening day. Too crazy. And you are so right, There are, what, four, five banks there? It's crazy!
John October 10, 2012 at 07:38 PM
Wegmans will be an occasional destination for us. For people who make one massive shopping trip, Wegmans might be for you. We tend to run to the store a few times a week. It won't be worth it to go to Wegmans that often and deal with the parking nightmare.

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