WinCo for the win! (co.)

Shucking prohibited. Jiving, however …

We keep getting flyers at Casa Flor for WinCo Foods, even though its closest store is 14 miles away, and my curiosity had been piqued. So what better to do on a weekend afternoon than go grocery shopping?

(Yes, I am fully aware of how lame that sounds.)

Imagine a store the size of Costco, filled almost entirely with groceries — which you can buy in normal-size quantities, not by the metric ton.

WinCo was the first grocery store I’ve had to leave because I was overwhelmed. I made it through the produce and meat departments, but had to give up after that because there’s just too much of everything. I made it around half the store’s periphery, and when I looked at the aisles they appeared to be the length of my house. Enter without a list and you could get trapped all day just wandering, wandering …

(My text to Hipster Heidi, who had been there before: “Ho. Ly. Crap.”)

That said, here’s what I got for $35:

  • Six boneless, skinless chicken breasts.
  • A pound of frozen wild-caught salmon fillets.
  • A pound of lean ground turkey.
  • A handful of Sour Patch Kids from the bulk foods section. (Bagged and paid for, I mean.)
  • A meal’s worth of gluten-free spaghetti noodles, also from the bulk foods section, for Mr. Brooks to try.
  • Two dog chews/breath fresheners (from a separate area in the bulk section), so I can continue to ensure the undying affection of Alfie, The Meatheads’ crazy spaniel.
  • An eggplant.
  • Two ears of corn. (25¢ each — unshucked. PS: My new issue of Cook’s Illustrated says it’s easy to shuck corn by cutting off the stalk end just above the first row of kernels, then microwaving the ears for 30–60 seconds. Next, hold each ear by the uncut end and shake it until the cob slips free, leaving the husk and silk behind. I shall try and report back.)
  • Three limes, one red chili pepper and one jalapeño, to make this infused tequila from Everyday Food magazine.
  • Two red bell peppers.
  • A bunch of beets.
  • Six 1½-foot-long stalks of rhubarb, which is destined for greatness (probably gin-related).
  • A hefty stalk of ginger root.

Maybe that’s not as big of a bargain as it sounds like to me. You know how sometimes you’re in, say, Neiman Marcus and you’re like: “This $18 bottle of lotion is a freaking steal!” But if you’re in, say, Target you’d be: “If I’m spending $18 on lotion, it damn well better come with a [sex act].” Anyway, it feels like I got a lot for my money at WinCo. — especially with all that meat. (Dirty!)

And this may be a turn-off for some, but I love it when you have get to bag your own groceries. When I was little, I wanted to be a grocery bagger as an adult.* I couldn’t decide between that and being the guy who cleaned windshields at the gas station. Now I can do both, part time!

* When we were at City Market in Austin, Sharyn was amused by how delighted I was to punch all in the produce codes needed to create stickers for the checkout employees. (“More! More! Do you need a tomato? An apple? Rutabaga?”)

The shirt: Short-sleeved cotton henley by Converse One-Star, from Target.
The shorts: Cotton cargos by Abercrombie & Fitch,
liberated from Mr. Brooks’ closet.
The shoes: Jack Purcell sneakers by John Varvatos for Converse,
from Nordstrom Rack.

2 responses to “WinCo for the win! (co.)

  1. I know what you mean about the bagger job. In Italy, I got to punch in the code for peaches, and then the machine spit out a sticker which I got to stick on the bag. Heaven.

    • Sam Mittelsteadt

      The self-checkout lanes are kind of fun for that reason, too! (Although the laid-off cashiers probably don’t enjoy them as much as I do.)

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