So after nearly 7 weeks here in fabulous Bloomington-Normal, Illinois, I finally made my way over to the Fresh Market. All of my co-workers have been raving about the sushi, the prepared meats (meatloaf, ribs, chicken), the salads, the bakery, the produce, yada yada yada. I stopped in this evening to see what I could find for dinner since I still have a bit of a hang-up about dining out alone, and I've been pretty lax in sharing my cell # with the folks working in my office... consequently counting myself out of being able to call people on the spur of the moment to ask for a dinner date.
So here I go into the world of Fresh Market... I walk in the door and immediately my senses are assaulted by the noise of carts banging around, the smell of coffee beans (bulk bins up front) and the general incoherent noise of yuppies en masse. I carefully make my way around the store and to the deli counter, where I encounter a less-than-friendly creature named "Beth" at the salad counter. I ask her which potato salad is probably the sweetest (as I don't care for mustardy salad) and she goes, "blue cheese". Oooookaaaaay... well then I'll take a small container of the blue cheese potato salad, and also a small container of the Waldorf chicken salad. She unceremoniously slaps these two containers on the counter, and off I go towards the bakery area. I pick up two croissants, then decide that some cheese would also be yummy, so I head back over to the very large deli area where my BFF Beth again greets me, "Can I get something else for you?". "Uh, yeah, 1/4 pound each of Jarlsberg and Colby cheeses, please." Again my selections are tossed on the counter and off I go.
I stroll through the cracker aisle, and to my dismay I find that only one box of crackers is under $3.29, so I toss these in my cart and head over to the dairy aisle to get some milk, thinking that they might have single-serve containers. Nope. So I pick up a 1/2 gallon jug of milk and head to the registers.
There are two cashiers and about 12 people in line. I get in what appears to be the shorter of the two lines and wait my turn. Another cashier arrives and calls over the customers ahead of me, so they bolt for the newly opened line. As the mini-crowd parts, I soon see the reason for their speedy departure... in front of me is a rather loud and brash woman, watching the register display like a hawk while questioning the poor cashier girl as to why there are no willow baskets available in the floral department even though there are several baskets in the overhead display.
Apparently this basket is a critical part of her grocery-buying experience, because she is relentless, even asking for the store manager to discuss this situation.
So I stand there while her $200+ order is being rung, all the while cursing under my breath that I didn't bolt over to the other checkout lane. Finally the other cashier waves me over to her register, so I pick up my selections and run over to the next counter.
Twenty-one dollars and fifty-five cents later, I walk out of the Fresh Market with 64 ounces of milk, 1/4 pound each of 2 cheeses, 1/2 pound each of blue-cheese potato salad and Waldorf chicken salad, a box of Breton crackers, two croissants, and a bad taste in my mouth that no amount of gourmet frou-frou fussy food will ever be able to eliminate.