Armed with my shoppers card and coupon book full of free things if I spend at least $10.00, I’m off to the brand-new Wegmans 11 miles away from us.

I realize that 11 miles is nothing to the vast majority of the world, but considering I’m 2 miles from work, 2.5 miles from my normal shopping place and only 3 miles to Victor’s mom’s house, my travel-triangle is pretty small.  (It’s even past the Lowes and Target I never go to because they’re so far away!)

But for groceries, I will make the sacrifice!  (I traveled 8 miles yesterday to the Mexican/Italian produce place!)

I’ve pretty much lost faith with my old friend PathMark (nee SuperFresh).  Their prices continue to rise and the employees continue to ignore me as I walk down the aisles.  I’m the invisible shopper.  I’m not looking for conversation, I’m not looking for a boisterous greeting – I’m looking for simple eye-contact and a half-smile.  The tiniest bit of recognition that I’m a customer in the store.

You can’t accomplish that, you don’t deserve my hard-earned money.

To be fair, there are a couple of women there who go out of their way to say hi, but the majority of employees don’t look up and don’t say a word.

So…  I’m off to the netherlands of formerly-farm Pennsylvania.  I’ve made a list of things I know we need (and things we DON’T need!!!) and have debit card in hand.  The goal is to keep this trip under $200.00.


I went, I saw, I shopped!  And had a good time doing it!

My main goal this trip really was to see if it was quick enough to make this my weekly grocery store.  The Downingtown store is just a tad too far for a weekly trek, and as I mentioned, I’m no longer enthralled with PathMark.  (I gave them my best shot – they just didn’t reciprocate!) The only other store I’ve ever liked around here was Geunardi’s in St Davids – but they went to hell after being bought by Safeway.

I’m thinkin’ they did it!


I think the biggest thing one hears about Wegmans is that they’re expensive.  Well… one can spend a lot of money there, but in and of itself  that doesn’t make them expensive – it means they have lots of things you want to buy!  It also means you need to have a bit of shopping savvy.  If you shop any store regularly, you learn what to buy and when.

I had nothing pressing.  I could take my time.  I crossed to the far end of the store and started my shopping trek in the grocery section.  We needed staples in the house after not doing any major shopping for a couple of weeks. Canned beans were 59¢.  10 pound sugar, $4.79.  Good prices.

I wandered and meandered and started filling up the cart.  Cybil needed dog food, so I thought I would see how she likes the Wegman kibble – 17.6 pounds for $8.25.  I did a good read of the label and the ingredients look good.  Can’t say the same for Wegmans ketchup.  High fructose corn syrup in a few too many products.  Sorry, I don’t care what the commercials say, the stuff is poison.  I won’t allow it in my home.

I also purposely didn’t go into the center of the store where they have the most fantastic plates, platters, cookware and gadgets.  I ran into one employee over at the cheese section who told me about some absolutely wonderful Italian ware that had me drooling.  But I resisted.  That trip is for another day.

Let’s talk cheese.


It doesn’t get much better than this.  If it can be imported into the states, it can probably be found here.  The selection is remarkable.


This is an area where one can get in trouble if one is like me.  I like my cheese.  I like all types of cheese, I like stinky cheeses, hard cheeses, soft cheeses, spreadable cheeses, Italian cheeses, French cheeses, Swiss cheeses – and everything in between.  It’s really easy to go overboard.  Moderation is not always in my vocabulary, either.  On the plus side, there are plenty of folks available to answer questions and cut cheeses to your specifications.


Besides having everything under the sun, Wegmans is a master at merchandising and display.


The food is presented in such a way that one just has to buy it.  I really practiced restraint.  It was a restraint born out of experience.  There are only so many meals in a week and we’re both still working towards losing weight.  I just can’t justify buying everything – regardless of how much I want to.  Besides, I have to save something for next weeks trip!


Having said that, I had to get *real* deli skin-on hot dogs.  I can’t abide those mushy vacuum-packed national brands.  I want my dogs to pop when I bite into them.  (I had one for lunch.  It rocked!)


Were I not a cook, I’d be going crazy here.  The whole entire “food court” is one fabulous display after another.  The food is just beautiful, and presented beautifully. I got more ideas just walking up and down the aisle. People eat with their eyes, and it’s a good thing I can’t gain weight looking!  It’s just remarkable to see.

And being a cook,  half the fun of eating is the creation of the meal.  Not so for most of the population.  This place is for them.  Seriously.


And the seafood…

Fish scares so many people.  It doesn’t have to.  And here’s proof.





It can be overwhelming.

I’ve shopped with Wegmans semi-regularly since they opened in Downingtown, and friends took us to dinner at Tastings, the fantastic restaurant attached to the mother-ship store in Rochester.  I’ve worked in 5-star hotels and have been in the food business in one form or another for close to 50 years.  It can still be overwhelming.  So many choices, so little refrigeration space at home!


One way to save money and to have a bit of fun in the kitchen is to buy things like a whole pork loin.  That 8.5 pounds of pork – in mere minutes – became a roast for tonight’s dinner (that I will cook with onions and apples) and 10 thick-cut pork chops for later.  I cut them thick enough to stuff or maybe do something fancy like those gorgeous pictures up there.

It cost $14.06 and there was no waste.


I also spent less than $18.00 for all of this chicken.  Portioned, into FoodSaver bags and into the freezer.


Smart shopping and a sharp knife help balance out the impulse buys and keeps the total bill in check.

I took what should have been some beautiful pictures of the breads and bakery area, but… they didn’t come out.  Needless to say, it’s pretty impressive.  From basic breads to fabulous desserts, they have it all.

And the same with the produce.  Not a lot of pictures, but lots of really fresh stuff.


The produce prices were high, compared to Gentile’s in Newtown Square where I normally buy my produce, but the quality looked excellent, and the displays – like everything else – were great.  One thing I really like at Wegmans is the bag-and-price kiosks (or whatever they’re called).  Put the produce on the scale, punch in the PLU and it gives you the price and prints out the price label.  No sticker-shock surprises at the register!


I wandered the store for about 90 minutes but this trip stayed out of the Market Grill and the Pub, didn’t buy sushi, and didn’t get any Chinese food from the buffet.  I need to save that for another trip when I can spend a bit of time there.

Actually, I need to make it a trip with Victor and we can eat and then spend time looking at the Italian cookware and pottery!

All in all, it was an excellent trip. I bought 10 bags of groceries (using my reusable shopping bags) and spent :::drum roll, please:::  $163.17!  Well below my self-imposed limit of $200.00!

Actually, it would have been a few dollars cheaper, but I forgot to give the cashier the coupons for the free apple juice ($1.89) the frozen mixed vegetables (89¢) and the free shopping bag (99¢).

Oh well.