The groovy grocery store for me is Superquinn. At first I thought the name was a play on Mighty Quinn, but it has nothing to do with the Bob Dylan song Quinn the Eskimo (and the Manfred Mann cover, etc.) The chain started in Ireland in 1960 by the Quinn family, eight years before Bob Dylan sang, “Come all without, come all within.”
Perhaps I have watched a bit too much Alton Brown, because I have begun to distrust the slick business practices of the local mega-mart. I am a critic of extremely large grocery stores such as the enormous Safeway at Del Rey Oaks, because I believe that grocery stores are psychologically designed to be confusing when they are too big. People simply get lost in them. Corporations have figured out that the more time you spend in the store the more stuff you buy. They make it purposely difficult to get in and get out of your local mega-mart quickly.
Superquinn is a large grocery store. Therefore, I shouldn't like it. They have 20 meters of dairy aisle devoted simply to yogurt, and two entire aisles devoted to alcohol. They offer the shopper way too many choices, (honestly people, toilet paper is toilet paper, your bum doesn't care if the TP has flowers or pink bunnies.) They have a club-card, (I despise those things because they are used for data-mining,) and they play the scent-will-lure-customers-in game by placing the bakery right at the front door so you're hit in the nose with a sugar coated baseball bat when you walk in. I'm sure this gets hungry shoppers every time. Rule #1: Never shop when you are hungry.
So they do all the things big grocery stores do that I distrust. Yet for some reason, I am quite pleased every single time I go in Superquinn. I don't know what it is; I just like this store. Perhaps it is the black ceiling. There is something calming about that. And the aisle of tea. Oh the tea! They don't need to display 3 meters of the same brand of tea, but they do. Seeing all that tea makes me happy. I feel like Aladdin when he opened the magic cave and found all those jewels & riches. Perhaps grocery stores display miles of tea, miles of meat, miles of yogurt to play on our human need for safety; when we are surrounded by cornucopia, we shall not hunger or suffer.
Perhaps one of the best things about the store is unseen by shoppers; it is rated as one of the best grocery stores to work for. This directly translates to good customer service—whether they are trying for good customer service or not—and an overall nice feeling when you interact with employees. Employees are helpful, they thank their customers, and you can actually find someone to ask when you can't find the polenta. Hallelujah.