Monday, March 20, 2006

Trader Joe's open - yours truly explodes from joy.

And on the seventh day, Trader Joe's finally opened in Manhattan. And they saw that it was good.
It is beyond good. Good is for gumdrops. No, this... this is a godsend. A studio of smiles wrapped in a gaggle of giggles wrapped in an ocean of orgasms. (eyew) It is everything and nothing and then some. It is the greatest thing to happen to Manhattan since... well, since Manhattan got me (dare you deny the greatness of me? I thought not). It is the analogy to end all analogies. It is the greatest story ever told... and so, I'll stop right there.

You do not even know how long I have been waiting for this store to open. You just dont. I'll tell you, though. I will. I have been waiting almost three years. Yes. Three. Pretty much since the day I moved here and realized there were no Trader Joe's in Manhattan, nay! None in New York City, even. None. Zero. Not a one. It was this sad fact that caused me to leave a good amount of room in my suitcase on trips to California. And the same reason many an airport baggage screener probably paused to make sure those six packages of dried apricots and four packages of chili mangoes and nuts (and on and on) were fruits and nuts and not things that go boom. Luckily for everyone, TJ's specializes mostly in non-exploding foodstuffs.

Years of waiting and cross country food shopping ended on Friday. Ohh glorious Friday. Some people called in St Patrick's Day. I call those people fools. "Silly, silly people! Friday is the long awaited opening of Trader Joe's!", I'd say (mostly to no one in particular, prompting odd looks on the subway). How could my fellow Manhattanite(-ian-ites) not know about, let alone plan, their whole existences around the greatest store opening ever??!! Ever. E - VER-rrrrr. The injustices of the world really make me want to cry sometimes.

And so it was, and so it is. Trader Joe's opened and Esra and I went. While I was not so absolutely batshit crazy as to wait in line for the actual morning opening (word on the street is 'an hour & a half long lines to get in from their opening at 8am til about noon'), I was however, just batshit-enough crazy to go up there at 8pm, opening day. I definitely dont recommend such things for the weak of heart or those short of patience. I, myself, fall into the latter category that find that people who wait in lines longer than a school bus should probably ride said school bus back to school and learn the value of having something f#cking better to do than waiting in a line that long. (Not that I uhh.. have any strong feelings about the matter or anything)

At 8:07pm, just before rounding the corner of 3rd and 14th, I saw a couple walking towards us with TJ bags in their hands. Ohhh sweet, sensuous paper bags. Where have you been all my ... past three years??? If it was possible for palms to drool, mine were drooling with the anticipation of soon having such awkwardly designed bags cutting into my freezing hands. Did I mention that that it was 25 degrees out?

And then we were in. No lines, no screaming, no pushing. Just a single tear of happiness welling up as I surveyed the greatness. And the people. Lots of people milling about, eyes hungrily drinking in exotically tasty pleasures, counfounding one and all with choices upon too many choices. And chose they did - baskets overflowed, shopping carts clickety-clacked to the sound of items tossed in absently, their masters already hunting down the next delicious deal. As fast as the shelves emptied, they were refilled by a horde of what I can only guess was every employee of the store from every shift from every day of the week called into emergency action for the opening. And as I watched the jubilant chaos unfold before me (I wasn't the only kid-in-a-candy-store, by any means), I noticed something that should have been SO out of place, a phenomenon almost completely unknown to employees of New York stores, an odd facial physical condition all too rare in food stores, specifically - smiles. The employees, not to mention most patrons, were smiling. And I heard laughing. YES. laughing and smiling and joking around. I know! No, I am not kidding. Yes, this is New York I'm talking about. I know. I cant get over it myself.

Well... despite the starry-eyed wonder, I knew we weren't staying for forever (ohh, if only they'd sponsor a Slumber Party night!) so we picked out our basket load of items - healthy, frozen meals for $2.49 a piece, dried fruit, energy bars, a six pack of Asahi beer (for under half the price any NY bodega would charge), handmade mac & cheese (also $2.49), organic peanut butter for 1/3rd the cost of regular peanut butter elsewhere (I wont even mention the cashew butter, almond butter, almond/macadamia mix, PB with honey mixed in, etc, etc, etc - I was shell-shocked trying to pick one) and having loaded up with more than would be advisable to carry home, we got in line... which actually wasn't so bad. 10 to 15 minutes for a store opening night sounded ok to me - at least, that's what I kept telling myself to justify the madness.

Over the next few weeks, the lines will die down and maybe the novelty will wear off - for some. The truth of the matter though is that a store has finally opened that will, if shoppers really do care about things like value and price saving and quality choices, blow the doors off of Whole Foods and Gourmet Garage and the bastard, bratty bully of a supermarket that everyone in NY has tales of infuriating idiocy to fume over - Gristede's. These stores will probably not even feel the pinch of the clientele who leaves them for Trader Joe's - they will all still have a steady stream of shoppers too lazy or short on time to make the trek to TJ's - and that's fine for TJ's, for everyone really. Just as the mega-supermarket didn't push the mom & pop neighborhood store into extinction, neither will this new (benevolent) king of price and selection cause anyone to quake. The mere fact that the trumpet of choice has at long last sounded, that we've finally been given the choice to choose Trader Joe's and reap it's rich rewards, is a kingly proclamation I do not take lightly.

1 comment:

maatthias said...

Trader Joe's Slumber Party... delicious