I apologize for the excessive Ukrop’s-gazing that has been going on here the last couple of weeks. Change is hard. I know the topic is dull, and boring, and omnipresent, to quote Steve Martin’s “Grandmother’s Song,”   ( a clip ) and I suppose it could appear that my snippiness about Ukrop’s replacement, Martin’s (which is owned by Giant), is an attempt to “Criticize things you don’t know about” (Steve Martin again–no relation to the store I’m sure), but it turns out I didn’t have to know much about Martin’s to know it would give me the heebeejeebees.

Just seeing the Giant imprint on the milk and meat packaging bummed me out. It’s very simple. I grew up in suburban Maryland with Giants. There for a while, Giant was fine, perhaps because I was a kid and a grocery store was stellar if it carried Hydrox and Ideal cookies, but once it was bought by Royal Ahold, it went downhill fast. Lots of fake food in unattractive stores.  My mother, who still lives in Maryland, always loved shopping at Ukrop’s when she visited here because it was such a different experience. Trust me those of you who never saw the Ukrop’s light–it was far better than the typical grocery store.  It was as if the people who ran the store cared about you and the food, and how you spent your Sundays, but that’s another post.

So on Monday for my first visit since Giant/Martin’s took over my local Ukrop’s, it was disconcerting to feel like I was in suburban Maryland. I like living right here in Richmond. I don’t want to be associated with or reminded of that insanely stressful existence in the DC metro area. Ukrop’s said in one word (that newcomers didn’t know how to pronounce) that we are not in a major metropolitan area, folks. We are in Richmond and our chocolate-iced cupcakes were good before those fancy cupcake shops were even born.  Giant says in one word we might as well face up to the fact that we are being swallowed into the megametropolitan DC area by an international conglomerate that doesn’t even know what pita bread should look like.  Dag.

Need proof of what we’re dealing with down here in Richmond?  Couldn’t find real pita bread in Martin’s. Oh, sure, in the bread aisle I saw some Thomas’ English muffin pita bread that isn’t pita bread at all, but that was it. The rule about pita bread is very firm: if your name is Thomas you don’t know how to make pita bread.  And I don’t want to incite a panic, but the sparkling water situation is dire now. Thank goodness Target can keep me in La Croix.  It was good to see the bags of Ukrop’s White House rolls there, but will it be enough?

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