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Features

The 11 Worst Things About Every Grocery Store in Existence

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For all the magic contained in its automatic doors — the free samples, snacks, the Luna bars you definitely don’t eat, the super fun coin-operated horsey machine — going to the grocery store can be a huge headache… a non-stop barrage of cart traffic jams, blank-faced zombies trying to operate the self-checkout, and horrible temptations. These are the reasons you resent the grocery store, making it barely worth it to get on that horsey and have the gdam best time of your life.

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The Produce Section

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You’ve decided you want to try vegetables… good for you. Just get ready to get wet as the auto-waterers spray out of control and hit you in the eye. Some stores try to be cute and play thunder-noises as the rain falls, which is either annoying or terrifying. Worse still, the wetness makes it impossible to open the little plastic bags you’re supposed to throw your tomatoes in. Between that and shaking from thunder fears, you’re screwed.

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The Center-Aisle Dominator

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We can sympathize with the plight of choosing between so many pasta sauce options (Italian sausage w/ garlic? Just straight up SpaghettiOs?), but that doesn’t mean you need to park your cart perpendicular to the aisles smack-dab in the middle, blocking the flow, and forcing us to make a detour into the next aisle full of impulse buys like Luna bars.

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The Expiring Items Trap

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Hell yes you’re gonna buy 36 donuts for $1, especially when they’re right next to the checkout to remind you that you totally forgot to buy 36 regular-priced donuts. But you get in the car and discover they’re going to expire in an half-hour. Time for a donut-eating binge… waste not, want not.

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Aisle Gentrification

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Beans are beans. Except when they’re refried, in which case they’re not allowed to hang out with baked beans or limas, and instead are put way across the store in the “Latin” section. And lord forbid spaghetti share an aisle w/ yakisoba noodles. They’re in the “Asian” section. The grocery store is a textbook example of gentrification gone wild.

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Bag Shame

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Want a clerk at Whole Foods to look at you as though you spent your morning pouring gas on a burlap sack full of kittens? Ask for a paper bag to carry your stuff. You’ll be charged $.05, but the leering condescension is an even stiffer penalty. Next time, consider re-using that burlap sack.

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The Cell Phone Wanderer

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Because there’s no better time to answer a random call than right this minute, this species of jackass will immediately abandon his cart in the middle of an aisle, then spend 15 minutes wandering around the store, picking up random crap, looking at it, and putting it back as he talks about everything from socks to weekend plans. It’s best to relocate his cart for him, then track him as he gets even more confused and frustrated.

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Cart Clog

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Even the most miniscule amount of debris can turn a normal cart into a squeaky-wheeled nightmare that simulates pushing a car through wet sand.

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The Temptation of Off-Brand Chips

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They’re $1 less than the real deal, and there are 499 different variations on them, so why not try the Fauxritos to see if they match up? Ugh. Nope. But you’re still gonna try 498 more times.

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The Self-Checkout Clusterfu*k

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The idea of self-checkout is an amazing way to make the experience of shopping quick, independent, and efficient. Sadly, its designers forgot to factor in the fact that people use them. Some ignore the 12-item limit and empty an entire cart. Others are buying 30 kinds of produce, and can’t figure out how to key in the bar code. Others just stand there, staring at the screen. Nobody notices the three express checkout lanes to the left manned by bored clerks.

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It’s So Cold!

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You expect to get chilly in the beer section, or while you’re scouring for the biggest bag of dinosaur-shaped chicken nuggets. But even the blanket aisle is cold. How are blankets cold, unless they’re the delicious ones with pigs inside… like in the frozen section?

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Kids Carts

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Seriously, why can’t I fit into these?! Stupid kids have all the fun.

Brought to you by the folks at Thrillist

Categories
Products

Toast to Technology with An Ancient Cell Phone Flask

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Probably one of the more creative flasks on the market, this Bev-Burry Flask is almost the perfect way to get your afternoon fix in the office. Notice we said, almost. With everyone all over the new iPhone, chances are this ancient-looking Blackberry wannabe would get called out, but you could definitely make friends by sharing the booze smuggled within this plastic “faux-n.” Ahem.

The flask holds 3 oz of liquor, ensuring you have enough spirits to get your Irish coffee on or to just sip straight up. No judgment. It even comes with a hand-strap and filling funnel to ensure you don’t lose any of that precious nectar. Slip this filled bad boy into your jacket pocket, go about your work day, and I’m sure no one will notice that Jalapeño tequila on your breath. Just be cool.

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Bev-Burry Phone Flask, $16 @Amazon

Categories
Hit-Or-Miss

Fried Chicken Dumplings & the 5 Coolest Dishes We Can Expect From Lifetime’s ‘Supermarket Superstar’

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Unless you’re one of those Trader Joe’s/Wholesome Choice/farmer’s market people, chances are when you go to the grocery store, you stick to the tried-and-trues. You know, Chef Boyardee, Yoplait, Nestle. Every once in a while, the marketing geniuses in the food industry manage to introduce a totally new product into the mainstream (Greek yogurt and kale anyone?), but for the most part, we consumers are stubborn little assholes who need to be told ad nauseam that something is worth our time before we even consider testing it out ourselves.

So what happens when someone — anyone, be it your mom or your sister or your neighbor — has a brilliant food product idea that most people would probably love if they’d only give it a shot? Why, put it on TV of course.

That’s the basic gist behind a new show from Lifetime airing this Monday called “Supermarket Superstar.” Each hour long episode will follow three home chefs as they pitch their unique and specialized product ideas to several food world celebrities for the chance to have their creations launched nationally through The Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company grocery chain.

“Almost anyone can cook a great meal,” reads the press release (take that, Masterchef!), “but this is the first food comeptition show that provides a platform for individuals that can change the way millions of Americans shop and eat.”

Last week, we headed out to the preview event at the Smog Shoppe in Los Angeles, Calif. to see what all the fuss was about. Some of the chefs’ products, admittedly, were bland. Others we wished were taken over by the “grown-ups” and made better. A select few, however, we wanted to buy right then and there. Here’s a round-up of the five dishes that impressed us most:

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Fried Chicken Dumplings AKA “Pao! Bao Fried Chicken & Gravy Bao” — Ben VanCleave, Los Angeles, Calif.

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East meets South with these fusion dumplings stuffed with a variety of fillings, including the featured Fried Chicken & Gravy; definitely the most innovative and eye-catching product we saw all day — Appears Episode 101: “Snacks,” September 2

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Frozen Cheesecake Cookie Sandwich AKA the “Smoogy” — Tekisha Collins, Indianapolis, Ind.

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Named by Collins’s son, the “Smoogy” features frozen cheesecake filling sandwiched between a sugar cookie and graham cracker blend — Appears Episode 107: “Baked Goods,” August 12

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Barbecue Shrimp Cocktail Sauce AKA “Famous Flaming Ember BBQ Sauce” — Leon “Torchy Burns” Williams, Valley Village, Calif.

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For anyone who’s tired of boring bottled shrimp cocktails, Williams’ unique twist on barbecue sauce can be served either hot or cold, splattered on ribs or dripping of plump, dangling shrimp — Appears Episode 106: “Barbecue,” September 9

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Crab Pie — Monica VanCleve, Austin, Texas

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Exactly what it sounds like, savory crab baked into a crispy crust like a “crab quiche” — Appears Episode 108, “Dinner Entrees,” September 16

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Chinese Tamales AKA “Chimales” — Dominic Lau, San Gabriel, Calif.

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As owner of LA’s own “Don Chow Taco Truck,” Dominic Lau combines fresh masa stuffed with either Kung Pao Chicken or Chinese BBQ Pork to create his signature fusion dish — Appears Episode 105: “Global Cuisine,” July 29

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Supermarket Superstar premieres Monday July 22 at 10 ET/PT on Lifetime

Categories
Hit-Or-Miss

This Hiroshima Costco Charges A Ridiculous $32 for Parking

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Good news! Apparently, I’m not the only person on planet Earth to sometimes go to Costco to just hang out. The free samples, the office chair races, the mounds of 88-to-a-pack of derelict baby toys. It’s dinner and a night out all in one, and now the residents of Hiroshima can enjoy my personal Wonderland . . . as long as they spend $32 (3,000 yen) to park.

Yes, $32 just to park. That’s less than two days of parking at Disneyland, and they don’t even offer tram rides to the cashier!  But, wait. Costco knows their parking fee is a little cray, so they offer a deal: Make a purchase of $53.50 (5,000 yen) or great, and you get an hour of free parking. Make a purchase of $107 (10,000 yen) or greater, and get two hours of “free” parking. In other words, it’s a race. Hiroshima shoppers need to plan their routes before parking. Dad grabs the twelve-pack of tires, Mom hustles for the two-for-one stove deal, and the little’uns fill their tiny hands with all the child-size jars of mustard they can handle. They better hope they find everything and it costs more than 4,999 yen, otherwise the 3,000 they spent outside just went to waste.

Apparently, the astronomical fee is a protective measure: Officials predict mad traffic at the popular warehouse/store, and the three-level parking structure can only accomodate 1,050 cars. Only. It’s also across the street from a large baseball stadium, so Costco doesn’t want anyone crowding their lot just to while away their day while watching the game.

If that 3,000 yen is a bit much for you, though, Costco offers parking meters, too: Just 100 yen ($1.07) for 10-20 minutes.

Yeah. Right. Good luck with that. Because Costco isn’t literally a giant warehouse maze that requires wheel dollies in place of shopping carts.

H/T Rocket News 24 + PicThx Parent Collective