Friday, December 07, 2007

Ode to Wegmans

All Tops and Martin's markets were recently purchased by Morgan Stanley Private Equity for $310 Million. I say, "Good luck, fellas."

I am a dedicated Wegmans shopper. I LOVE their stores. We have two Tops Markets close to our house but we still drive the extra distance to shop at Wegmans. Why, you ask? Well, I will tell you why.

After working all day and dealing with annoying people, the last thing one wants to do is go into a crowded/disorderly/messy/bright store and deal with more annoying people. WhenEVER I go to Tops, this is what I feel like I'm walking into. Honestly! There is no homey feeling - no sense of respite for the weary. It actually feels like a chore: get in, get out. Have you seen those commercials for the credit card companies? Like robotic consumers walking in unison, paying their bills with a swipe of their card, and seamlessly moving as if possessed? Like the "It's a Small World" ride at Disney? That's how I feel when I'm at a Tops! Like a mechanical tool.

Now, when I walk into a Wegmans store (especially the newly refurbished one near us), I feel like I'm entering a farmers' market: people are smiling, they're answering questions, the lighting doesn't blind me. I can (and do) spend hours just walking around and ENJOYING my shopping experience. I don't feel rushed. I do feel comfortable. I can linger and enjoy.

Friends and family members tell me that Wegmans is "too expensive" or "too big". Then I ask them when they last shopped at a Wegmans and they tell me "I just told you they're too expensive...I don't shop there!" I laugh and end the conversation...more Wegmans for me, I think. But then, their stupidity festers within me until I burst out and tell them how ignorant they actually are!

Tangent: I used to be one of them. One of the nay-sayers. When we lived in West Seneca, I would grocery shop at Tops and Jamie would grocery shop at Wegmans. I told him that he's "wasting money" because I was certain Tops was cheaper. Although I didn't necessarily like my shopping experience at Tops, I wasn't going to spend more money just to be comfortable. Then he challenged me! He put together a list of things we needed, two identical lists to be exact, and told me to get these items at Tops and he would do the same at Wegmans. (Just so you know, we weren't being extravagant...the list contained things like "dog treats, one yellow onion, a quart of milk, and paper towels"...we needed these things.) I went to Tops and, trying to be sneaky, bought store brands of the items I could...I KNEW my total would be far less than his. Well, needless to say, I was mistaken - by almost 20%!

Regardless, I hope that Morgan Stanley opens their eyes and makes some big changes within the current Tops organization (or lack of). Trust me - even if you've never stepped foot inside a Wegmans store, you'll want Tops to take some advice from their biggest local competitor.

That is all.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Joe, what have I been saying all these years. Wegs is THE PLACE. I won't go anywhere else. I was there 3X this week. LOVE IT and LUV U 2 .... cookies next Saturday. My place. Love, AH