After a pretty quiet and productive weekend (the children were next door with the ILs from Friday evening to Sunday morning, which I hope goes a long way to preventing more nightmares), Dan and I decided to do our grocery shopping on Sunday afternoon at the (still new) Robinson-area Market District.
The children were with us, too.
I was, given my last hellacious experience there, a little reluctant. At the same time, though, I could see a lot of advantages to going back into the breach.
First, both children could go into the Learning and Activity Center (LAC).
Second, my husband was with me.
Third, we could also have dinner there if we chose.
So after an internal debate, I decided we should go for it.
Compared to my last experience, it was a raging success. I still have some misgivings about shopping there, though.
Both girls went into the Learning and Activity Center. There was a brief delay while Kate was let in; they had to wait for one child to check out before they could take Flora. But it happened in the space that Dan went to go fetch a cart.
Child-free, for the time being, we set off.
I didn’t have a very good list. I knew what we needed, but I hadn’t written every last thing down. My list went something like, “ingredients for potato chowder” and “stuff for girls’ lunches”. So there was still some searching involved. Granted, it was less stress because the girls weren’t with me. But that store is BIG. Nay, HUGE.
Shopping with Dan isn’t really shopping with Dan. He wandered off on his own agenda and spent a lot of time browsing.
And impulse buying.
*Relatively speaking; it wasn’t that bad.
Dan needs to learn how to use the bulk foods dispensers a little better. We ended up with $12 worth of green lentils — about 6 to 8 pounds — because they came out really fast. Apparently, once the food is dispensed, they have to throw it out if it’s not purchased. We eat plenty of lentils, though, so I just said, “Let’s take them all.”
Prepared Foods still wasn’t that smooth an experience.
I went to pick up the girls. Actually, I went to pick up Flora; Kate had asked for her mommy about 15 minutes before we were done shopping, and we had to go get her — which took a while as we were clear on the other side of the store from the LAC; that added probably another 1/2 hour to our shopping trip, which was already running over an hour.
Dan checked out and packed the car.
The girls and I headed to Prepared Foods, and I really wish we had waited for Dan. I had too much to juggle (two trays, three plates, two children, and my purse). When I went to pay, there was only enough room to set down one tray, which made reaching for my wallet tricky. So, a further note to self: If you’re going to eat in the Market District cafe with the children, have another adult with you.
The single beer selection to drink with your dinner isn’t impressive (runs the gamut from Coors to Bud). I opted for a take-out six pack of Bear Republic Racer 5 IPA; Dan had a Yuegling. (Technically speaking, we could have each had two of the Racer 5s, since we were eating. I guess you can’t just go to the Market District to drink. Which, why would you want to?)
The rice that Flora and Dan got off the hot bar was undercooked, but everything else was good. I love the rosti they serve there with salad and apples. Delicious. I’m really going to have to try the Indian food bar some time.
Also, I do not understand the set up of paying for your food and drinks. Maybe I’m doing it wrong. Can I walk into the Cold Drinks section (which includes non-alcoholic selections and beer) and pick out drinks and pay for my food and drinks there? If so, why have those little single cash registers in the Prepared Foods section? I end up juggling my trays, paying for my food, finding a table, picking out drinks and paying for them (while hoping my children don’t run around), and finally eating.
Cons: The store is just too big for “quick” shopping trips; and it’s going to take a lot of time to “memorize” where everything is. Even with an excellent, thorough list, shopping here would take well over an hour. I’m still against making this my go-to store. And I’m still not that crazy about the Prepared Foods section.
Pros: It was a much less traumatizing experience this time around. The kids were happily occupied for the most part. Having another person helping me out was vital (thanks, Dan!). The prepared food (except for the rice) was very good.
I’d go back, given the conditions listed above.
And OH YEAH: Since the kids went into the LAC — NO MINIVAN OF SHOPPING CARTS. That’s a big PRO in my book.