I suppose in Shakespeare's day, what you are about to read would be in the form of a poem or maybe even a sonnet, but this is 2011 and I'm sure not Shakespeare.
Fresh Market rocks.
(See, not Shakespeare.)
I have no idea if Fresh Market is regional or if most of you know what I am about to describe, but I have a feeling that if you do not have a Fresh Market near you, most of you (except those in SmallTowns everywhere) have something like it.
Fresh Market makes grocery shopping pleasant- not to the point of fun, because people who shop at Fresh Market are much more serious than that. (They probably read Shakespeare. ALOUD.) The marketing department is GENIUS. I can picture the development days when they all sat around with their half-caff, non-fat lattes in their all black wardrobes drawing the diagram of a grocery store experience on recycled bamboo paper.
Here is what they brainstormed:
1. Warm Welcome- As soon as I walk in, I see woven baskets hanging from some sort of natural display, market bags, gifts and candles. Then I turn the little corner into the dimly lit grocery store where I'm greeted by the scent of roses and lilies.
2. Fresh Flowers- The scent of roses and lilies is strong, but not funeral strong. Pleasant strong. The flowers are so fresh I'd swear a small child just picked them from her grandmother's garden. None of the flowers are ever wilted or brown and they all are wrapped in pretty papers.
3. Free Coffee- They give me coffee in tiny Dixie cups, the kind you use to rinse at the dentist, but because I am standing there near roses and kumquats, I don't notice my free coffee is just a tiny paper cup filled with two sips of coffee. No, I feel special, appreciated, dare I say- loved?
4. Dim Lighting- I am not sure if the dim lighting is to hide all the prices or just to add to that loved customer theme, but it works. Once my eyes have adjusted, I want to stay and spend money. (Rotten marketers!).
5. Classical music- Seriously. They play Bach while you check the lettuce.
6. Produce- Each tomato and every grape is exquisite. They have interesting fruits and vegetables that I can't get anywhere else, but I'll probably still have to go to Winn Dixie for my green peanuts. Granted, a head of cabbage is five dollars, but that would make some mighty fine cole slaw.
7. Perfection- Every single item on the shelf is perfect, free of flaws, dusted, and straight. But it's not perfect in a creepy Sleeping With The Enemy kind of way, more like a THIS PLACE IS AWESOME AND MAKES ME WANT TO BUY STUFF kind of way. (Although, the regular shoppers do not use words like awesome or stuff. I'm not a regular shopper. Could you guess?)
8. Special Displays- The cheese is always stacked haphazardly on purpose and even the chips look like they just arrived and are waiting for me to toss them ever-so-gently into my unique little shopping cart (that never, ever squeaks.)
Just FYI- Once a shopping cart squeaked in Fresh Market and an employee wearing a pretty apron and offering slices of warm French baguette, swiftly rolled it into a back room with the wilted lilies and the bags of bags of discarded Dixie coffee cups, never to be seen again.
9. Joyful Deli and Meat Department Workers- There are always people diligently making something and they always look happy. They even look attractive in hair nets. Maybe it's the dim lighting. They make me want to eat sushi and things like squid salad.
10. The Nut Bins- Every time I walk by I have the urge to purchase raw, organic almonds.
11. The Candy Bins- Chocolate covered everything. It is strategically placed right next to the free coffee, which makes me want to buy ten dollars worth of chocolate to see if it compliments the freshly brewed Dixie cup of Hazelnut blend.
12. Food I've Never Heard Of- They have crackers from France and cookies from Germany. (Cue the Bach CD.) All of it costs more than the gas that got me there yet I want to try each and every one. Oh, wouldn't that be tasty with some organic horseradish raspberry orange blossom honey mustard...
13. Izze- They sell it. Enough said.
14. Customers- We're all hyped up on free coffee, but the dim lighting makes us a bit sleepy, so it balances out and everyone is happy and friendly and simply a delight to be around.
"Oh, did you want to get by me so you can buy that nice Sockeye Salmon?"
"Then, pardon me. Let me move my quiet little cart so you can pass by."
"Thank you, lovely woman with the Dixie cup, have a most joyous day."
"You, too. May I say those roses in your cart compliment your skin?'
"Why, thank you. You are most kind."
15. Free Coffee- Yes, I repeat myself, because let's face it, whether it's at Sam's Club or the Wal-mart Auto Center, people love some free coffee. Drat! Those Dixie cups!