At the end of last year — which is a phrase I am now legally allowed to write when discussing 2013 — we Chicagoans suffered a major blow, the effects of which will continue to haunt us for many years to come: one of our major grocery store chains decided to abandon the greater Chicagoland area. It was a dark and dangerous time. There was rioting in the streets. Teeth were gnashed on Facebook. Dogs had human pets.
We are slowly, gingerly recovering from this injury. Huddled on the L or hiding in our rent-controlled apartments, we mourn together and seek alternatives. Is there a magical shop somewhere that sells Hungry Man dinners and has a tasteful and reasonably priced selection of organic produce? Have you found a cheaper option hiding behind the Whole Foods? Can anyone tell me what chia seeds are? I hear that’s very in this year.
As we are Chicagoans, we shall persevere. We will overcome, my friends. We are a sturdy people. The polar vortex ain’t got nothing on us.
I myself have turned almost exclusively to Aldi’s for my grocery shopping needs. I am lucky enough to live within walking distance of one of the least questionable stores in Chicago and it does the heart and wallet good. And while Aldi’s has managed to provide me with most everything I need to survive (the additions of hummus and off-brand Velveeta may have had me singing for joy in the aisles), there are certain short comings which I can’t come to accept:
- Eggs sold by the half-dozen.
- Ready-made macaroni salad, my food of choice for curing depression when clementines are out of season.
I have lived around the corner from a liquor store ever since I moved to Chicago. I have selected my apartments with an eye for their relation to liquor stores. I cannot accept that this is no longer the case, that I live in an awkward dry zone caused by my proximity to the students of Loyola. This lack of accessible adult beverages is incredibly disturbing. I have furnished my weekly viewings of Downton Abbey with wine courtesy 7/11 for the past two weeks. This aggression will not stand, man.
And while there may be a reasonable, mature answer to these problems, such as ‘planning ahead’ and ‘going to a different grocery store, like the one that’s really close to your office and totally carries all of the wine’, I prefer instead to take to the internet and complain. I am, after all, a child of the late eighties.
Why, Aldi’s? Why you gotta play me like that? I thought we had something good together.