Friday, March 12, 2010

Safeway is America

In a nutshell… As well as in a coke can, an egg carton, a gallon of neon pink Tampico, a can of Tuna, and a box of Lucky Charms. Safeway is America in the same way that California is America; it has a little bit of everything; something for everyone, so much for anyone. Abundant and plenty are the basic necessities, readily available, for a price of course. Anyone walking in hungry can walk out 1 crucial step towards to fed. Safeway is America in the way that HDTV is America: Possible for some here, Impossible to all, for most of the world. People go to their local Safeway, to fuel their own personal American dream. All with similar ideals, but vastly different outcomes. We go in with a shopping list of eggs and milk, and come out with Peeps, a People Magazine, and a Rockstar. What did you go to Safeway for?

I went to Safeway, to get 33.8 oz. of delicious sparkling water, for less than a pack of gum. Encouraged to buy multiple, although not required, in order to take advantage of the saving. I went, because, like most things in America, saving is simple at Safeway, one need’s only to enter a phone number, to watch the price you though you were going to pay, disappear like your local Dodge dealership; in order to reveal your new, and improved, savings price. If you’re like me, you can assume your mom has shopped at Safeway more than once in her life, so your home phone number will do just fine. The catch to Safeway, though, is that I also ended up with some deodorant. As well as some face-wash, a random decision to give AXE another shot, and some of that special “man soap”. I suppose I had never really wandered down that aisle, since Safeway’s brother-in-law Target, gets my personal hygiene business. But I was truly in the dark, regarding the non-food element of Safeway. The magazines I knew about, always the magazines--- Been there since the dawn of man, they are there exclusively for the husbands and 9-yr olds who have already found the Pepperidge Farm Milano cookies and gushers, and will now just sit out the monotonous produce and condiments shopping with the newest Sports Illustrated or GAMEPRO; maybe to rejoin the mother figure, when she should be making her way through the frozen foods section. Anyways… as always, I spent the majority of my time, in the deodorant section. With the competition being neck and neck between brands, I feel each needs some time for investigation. Eventually, I think back to whose current marketing campaign is better, and since Method Man and Redman aren’t indorsing the “power-stripe” anymore, I went for the Old Spice. Swagger, naturally, sold at Safeway.

We should get back to get back to the waters for a minute, because they, to me, define Safeway pretty well, or at least the divide therein: The divide between name brand and generic. This is as predominant a divide in America, as the divide between red and blue. The haves opt for the name brand Vitamin Waters, while the have-nots (and the supersavers) opt for the 69-cent waters that will quench the thirst of an entire family. The haves: the Simply Orange, orange juice. The Have-nots: the radioactive orange Tampico. For every walk of life, a juice… So America.

I, personally, go for the waters. Available at a price so low, it can only happen in America, where mass replication, is as everyday a process, as fielding rice in China. They come in unique 33.8 oz. bottles, which, to my knowledge, are used for nothing else. No other liquid on this planet is contained the way that my Cranberry Raspberry “Clear” is. One of the flavors is Apple Fritter (a pie-ish baked good, if im correct?) another is Key Lime. Of course, you still get the “wild cherry”, which of course, is as apposed to the un-wild ones, which spend their Friday nights at home, playing Xbox 360, or watching old episodes of Weeds on Megavideo.

But I digress, my point here, is that the labels in a grocery store can define America. The generic de-facto flavors, and the over-romanticized brand name product-lines; read like a novel. A sad tale of the nation built on the hope to build a good life; being whored out, at a cheap price, wowed and controlled by fancy titles, and brands. Materialism is a crime, which I myself am guilty of in the 1st degree. In my mind, Cheese is cheese, and milk is milk. The same way, a shirt, could be just a shirt; or shoes, just shoes; it’s just not that simple anymore. America is the top cop that’s been undercover for too far long, and is in desperate need of a way out, but there's one problem: were in too deep. Beginning to lose our true identity to who we’ve been pretending to be; we’ve lost touch with the world around us. Questions have been raised as to the sincerity of our word; people are talking. Sleeping with one eye open, and checking our backs every chance we get, we can’t shake the feeling that something is about to give.

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