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Here in the western states we have a non-union, employee-owned grocery store chain called WinCo. It is like a Sam’s Club or Costco without the need to buy food in a convenient pallet-size handy-pack. You can buy one box of macaroni and cheese and not commit yourself to a life-time supply.


The prices at WinCo are a fraction of the big-boy stores like Safeway and Lucky’s. It is a no-frills-bag-your-own-groceries-and-don’t-even-think-about-asking-for-help-to-your-car kind of place. I’m okay with that. Why pay $5.46 for a box of Cheerios at a grocery store with mood lighting and Fabio as the head bagboy when you can pay $2.62 at WinCo under the glare of fluorescent lighting, right? Cheerios are Cheerios.


Another good reason to shop at WinCo is the experience boosts your ego a notch or two. The clientele is . . . well . . . how can I put this delicately . . . a bit rough around the edges. The beautiful people shop elsewhere.


Feeling a little down about the three pounds you put on over the holidays? Head to WinCo! You walk through the doors and feel as svelte as a runway model, or maybe a gazelle on a starvation diet.


The shopping carts have signs on them that say, “Wide Load” and they are not referring to the cart, but the cart pushee. If the Centers for Disease Control commissions a study on the nation’s obesity problem, they can just set up shop in WinCo and watch the world go by with Oreo and Ding Dong-filled carts. Before you get your dander up over my observation about the customers-at-large at WinCo, I have nothing against these Jenny Craig eschewers. I simply made an observation from behind my tofu and bean sprout-filled cart. My Oreos were hidden under the tofu.


Aside from tasty treats in foil packets, my fellow WinCo female shoppers love their manicures. The woman in front of me had nine-inch nails. No, she wasn’t from the band of same name.  She had the longest nails I’ve ever seen and they were painted Pepto Bismol pink. I’m sure the nail polish bottle had a catchy name like “Barbie Claws Ken” and she couldn’t resist the celebration of neon pink.  I had to stare. At the base of each nail was a filigree tattoo and all I could think was, “That had to hurt.” I get a hangnail and I’m off to the emergency room.


Speaking of tattoos, some of the good folks at WinCo have more tattoos than teeth. There was a mother-daughter pair who looked quite fetching in their matching tube tops (san’s undergarments) and florid dragons sprawled across acne-pocked creamy-white backs. Ew.


Don’t get your dragon tattoo in a kerfuffle. I have nothing against tattoos except when they are on a body, say mine.


One stately gentleman standing in the beer aisle had a charming tee shirt worthy of Sir John Gielgud’s closet. The shirt gently molded the man’s rotund middle, had a cartoon image of a can of Pabst Blue Ribbon, and read, “Yeah, I got six-pack abs. Jealous?”


The women are equally fond of their body-hugging clothing. Bare midriffs and cleavage abounds. But enough about me.


Shopping at WinCo is a shopping extravaganza. All the groceries you need at low, low prices and fodder for sparkling dinnertime conversations that start with, “You won’t believe what I saw at WinCo today.” Also, much can be gleaned from the adventure and put smack dab in the middle of your novel. You can’t make this stuff up.


WinCo Food

The WinCo Food Festival of Fun (Photo credit: Michael Batfish)




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