We have a Safeway that's conveniently located, only three blocks away. Over the years, it actually hasn't been too bad, though it has a number of quirks that have sometimes made it inconvenient. For example, a lot of the time they're out of milk. Now I know you're probably thinking that I'm a whiner -- why should I expect a grocery store to carry such an insignificant item whenever I would want to buy it -- and it's a fair point. If I want milk to be readily available, I should live in the suburbs.
About a year ago, however, a major announcement hit our neighborhood -- a Harris Teeter will be opening up in the Spring of 2007 two blocks beyond the Safeway. Strangely enough, almost as soon as that announcement was made, things at the Safeway got noticeably worse. As one cashier put it, "It's like they want you to go to the Harris Teeter as soon as it opens." Recently, however, Safeway has decided to meet the competition, and is moving upscale. To that end, it's adding a Starbucks and a bank. Sadly, however, these additions aren't being "added on," but instead require a reconfiguration of the existing space. For the time being, this means that there are some significant changes in the way things are set up. For example, the cereal aisle is presently closed, and the cereal is both in the greeting card aisle and on a rack beside the checkout aisles. From the looks of things, I better get used to it, because it looks like it'll take at least another six months, more likely eight, before they can get things back to normal. Of course, the "normal" at the end of this process will leave me with a smaller supermarket in exchange for a bank and coffee shop that I don't need and almost certainly won't use. Nevertheless, odds are that it won't be too hard to get used to Safeway, version 2.0, as I'm sure that I'll be able to count on the milk being as available as ever.