This past weekend, I needed to go shopping. Usually, this is merely a question of how much effort my roommates or I feel like putting out; do we really feel like making the trek to Trader Joe’s for the better options or am I content with Price Chopper? (To add further complexity, I got a gift card to PChops for Christmas.) But this weekend was different. This weekend, I found myself farther out on Route 9, past the Trader Joe’s, past the other Price Chopper. I found myself in another world.
The sun was dimly setting into the less than vibrant horizon, but I could still make out a huge hill in the distance. We drove over a small bridge, near a BJ’s gas station. A bulk grocery store having expanse into the market of gasoline is strange enough to me, but it gets far stranger. Fancy streetlights (not just the orange mercury vapor ones) lined the four-lane road that continued and wrapped around the hill on our right. The hill was clearly manmade and towered next to the cars parading past. The only thing that gave its prominence any competition was the structures to come.
Ahead on our left was one of the largest group of subdivisions I’ve ever seen. They were shiny and new, yet horribly flimsy and repetitive. All I could think about were the lyrics of “Little Boxes” by Malvina Reynolds… except these boxes were less little and more ginormous. As we made the bend to the shopping arena, I groaned. Northborough Crossing is like its own city. Put in a school and a hospital, and have Wegman’s set up a P.O. box, and you’re all set. I wondered if there are any tenants in that apartment complex that work shifts around the shopping plaza and never have to leave.
According to an article in the T&G, the plaza has 2,400 parking spaces. The Wegman’s alone is 138,000 square feet.
Now, I had been in a Wegman’s before in upstate New York, but this Wegman’s is something I had never before encountered. I was expecting something like Whole Foods – pretentious and trying way too hard to offer more of an experience than Wal-Mart while still serving the same purpose.
We entered… and I nearly had a panic attack. Besides being a Whole Foods on steroids, our local Wegman’s also has a whole separate Market Café area. Here, customers can get food on the spot to eat or order to go… that is, if you can ever make up your mind. We got a plate and filled it with some incredibly hodgepodge foods ranging from naan to broccoli salad to steamed asparagus. There was Thai, a pizza place, sushi, an entire vegetarian bar… It was ridiculous. I’ve felt like a glutton before, but when I realized that I wasn’t sure if I wanted to eat food or buy it first, I really hit rock bottom.
The moral of the story: go to Wegman’s but be prepared. This one’s a doozy, and its surroundings are just as perplexing. Just make sure some time has passed since you last read 1984 or any other books on futuristic dystopias.