Monday, October 29, 2007

Lakeshore Trader Joe's: Uh-Oh

After all the excitement, the puffing out of our collective chest
over the coup of TJ's coming to our little neighborhood, the store
is a big fat disappointment.

Actually, it's not a big fat disappointment. It's not big enough,
and that's where the disappointment begins. The innards are
thin as a rake, funneling the elbow-knocking customers back
toward the rear, where the sign rather ominously announces:

You mean, me? I think.

It really does remind me of that Monty Python sketch about
the misguided architect.

**** The Architects Sketch
Scene: A large posh office. Two clients, well-dressed city gents, sit
facing a large table at which stands Mr. Tid, the account manager
of the architectural firm. (original cast: Mr Tid, Graham Chapman;
Mr Wiggin, John Cleese; City Gent One, Michael Palin; Client 2:,
Terry Jones; Mr Wymer, Eric Idle)

Mr. Tid: Well, gentlemen, we have two architectural designs for this new
residential block of yours and I thought it best if the architects
themselves explained the particular advantages of their designs.

There is a knock at the door.

Mr. Tid: Ah! That's probably the first architect now. Come in.

Mr. Wiggin enters.

Mr. Wiggin: Good morning, gentlemen.

Clients: Good morning.

Mr. Wiggin: This is a 12-story block combining classical neo-Georgian features
with the efficiency of modern techniques. The tenants arrive here
and are carried along the corridor on a conveyor belt in extreme
comfort, past murals depicting Mediterranean scenes, towards the
rotating knives. The last twenty feet of the corridor are heavily
soundproofed. The blood pours down these chutes and the mangled
flesh slurps into these...

Client 1: Excuse me.

Mr. Wiggin: Yes?

Client 1: Did you say 'knives'?

Mr. Wiggin: Rotating knives, yes.

Client 2: Do I take it that you are proposing to slaughter our tenants?

Mr. Wiggin: ...Does that not fit in with your plans?

Client 1: Not really. We asked for a simple block of flats.

Mr. Wiggin: Oh. I hadn't fully divined your attitude towards the tenants. You
see I mainly design slaughter houses.

Clients: Ah.

Mr. Wiggin: Pity.

The Walgreen's in the other fraction of the building -- might
be half; might be less -- was not part of the deal I thought the
neighborhood had accepted during our battle to get a grocery
store into the old Albertson's space. I know I sent a tart email
declaring we didn't need another drugstore, having a perfectly
nice Long's 50 yards away.

But there the Walgreen's is, having pinched TJ's to the point it
is oppressively cluttered and claustrophobic and really does
affect me as if it were a death chute.

But every disappointment has a lining of precious metal
or warm cuddly fur, doesn't it. We feared the Trader Joe's was
going to be so popular that the neighborhood's stock of parking
places would be overburdened, the street swamped by our success.

I rather doubt that will happen. The TJ loyalists will flock. The rest
of us will continue at the Grand Ave. Safeway, which now seems like
St. Peter's Square compared to Trader Giovanni.

And there's always the new Whole Foods a mile or so away, a food palace
of almost decadent loveliness.

1 comment:

Lake Merritt Tootsie said...

I would have to say the layout leaves me uninspired. Looks like they short shrifted us not only in space but selection of food AND booze. Cashiers were enthusiastic...if only the their enthusiasm was matched by the store planners.