Why I Love Wegmans and An Ode to Butter

Before I ever set foot in a Wegmans, I had heard of the legend.  It sounded like heaven in a grocery store — aisles and aisles of picture perfect fruits and vegetables, fantastic customer service, and an extensive selection of organics.  I had friends that raved about Wegmans, and I always wondered if a grocery store really could live up to their accolades.

Then last summer I read What to Eat by Marion Nestle, a guidebook to today’s supermarkets and the food industry, wherein she explained that Wegmans has their own set of stringent rules governing their seafood counter (far stricter than the FDA’s wishy-washy standards) including in-house testing for microbial levels and regular inspections of their suppliers.  That’s when I decided to seek out the nearest Wegmans and never buy seafood anywhere else again.  Since then, Wegmans has come to a theater near me.  Or, um, a shopping center, rather.  And I have stuck to my guns.  If I want seafood, I go to Wegmans.  As a result, I rarely go to another grocery store, with the exception of the health food store.

So today I was in the mood for seafood for dinner so I made the stop at Wegmans.  As always, the staff behind the seafood counter was friendly and knowledgeable and guided me to select a nice wild caught fillet of fluke.  I moseyed on over to the produce department and loaded my cart with a wide variety of fruits and veggies, all at the peak of freshness.  Finally I made my way to the natural foods section and stocked up on organic flours and sugars, but no matter how hard I looked, I could not find the yeast.

We are in desperate need of homemade bread, and my yeast is gone so I hated to leave without it.  I combed the conventional baking aisle as well as the natural foods baking aisle and finally gave up and made my way to the checkout lines.  That’s when I noticed a Wegman’s employee standing around, looking as if it was her job to be available to help lost souls like myself.  I had already begun putting my groceries on the conveyor belt when I spotted her, but there was no one behind me so I scurried over and asked about the elusive yeast.  She quickly informed me that it was in the dairy aisle and told me to tend to my groceries, that she would bring it to me.

Sure enough, by the time my groceries were unloaded, she was back with several packets of each the fast rising and the regular yeast.  I took the regular yeast from her, thanked her profusely, and completed my transaction.

On the way out, a young guy was gathering carts and he smiled and said hi as I made my way to my car.  I unloaded my wares and turned around to find the guy waiting to take my cart from me.

Now this isn’t rocket science, but for some reason, efficient friendly service like that is hard to come by these days.  And that is why I big pink puffy heart Wegmans.

And speaking of my grocery shopping trip, I couldn’t help but notice the purchases of the young girl behind me in line.  Do you look at other people’s grocery purchases?  Honestly, I try not to, because I feel myself getting all judgy and I don’t like myself very much when I get that way.  So I usually look away and focus on my task at hand, which is about all I can handle anyway, truth be told.  But I couldn’t help but notice a small collection of what most people would consider healthy foods — assorted fruits and veggies, a box of Shredded Wheat, a carton of low-fat yogurts, and a tub of Smart Balance.

The mama in me wanted to hand her a copy of Real Food and beg her to read it cover to cover, but of course I would never do that.  Then I got home and found an email in my inbox from Elaine, asking me if I’d seen this article — This Is Your Brain On Margarine.  You think I should make a few dozen copies and bring them with me next time I’m at the grocery store?

Hey, I betcha didn’t know this: “Butter contains more vitamin A than carrots.”

So go butter your veggies!  And your bread.  And your eggs.  Yes, your eggs.  I always put a dollop of butter on top of my hot-off-the-griddle fried egg.

Disclosure:  I am in no way affiliated with Wegmans unless you consider the fact that they take about half my paycheck every month.

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38 Responses

  1. Good to know. I don’t think they have Wegmans here in AZ, but I’m definitely going to stop in at one next time I’m on vacation. Really. I like investigating new grocery stores. Nerdy, but true.

    Have you been in a Fresh & Easy, by chance? I just went to one for the first time a few months ago and loved it. I hear they’re popular in Europe and are just now making a name for themselves in the States.

  2. So um, this comment has nothing to do with this post but I was curious to whether or not you mentioned not doing What I learned this week today and I missed it! LOL!
    It is Tuesday isn’t it? I wouldn’t be surprised to find out it isn’t! LOL!

    1. Oh jeez! I knew I was forgetting something. I think WILTW is dying a slow death. I’m just not into it and the participation seems to be dwindling. What do you think?

  3. I heart Wegman’s too. Mine seems to be staffed with less enthusiastic staff.

    Frugal tip? Buy the big jar of yeast-saves you a lot of money if you make bread often. I also find it extremely odd that they put it in the place they do in our store. Near the cheeses/cream cheese/yogurt area.

    Also totally off topic, but I love the font on your site. It seems like a day for mismatched comments, so I had to say it. 🙂

    1. I couldn’t find the big jar of yeast. Actually, I couldn’t find ANY yeast, lol. I do prefer the jars. I usually buy it in bags in the bulk section at K. Whole Foods so that’s why I’m unfamiliar with where it’s located at Wegmans.

  4. Love, Love Love Wegmans. I never heard of the book, but wow. Now I have even more reasons to trek up to Cherry Hill for food shopping!

  5. Oh, and thanks for the shout out yesterday! Still only a few takers on the giveaway… I guess no one needs $50 to Sephora 🙂

  6. Couldn’t help but comment today Jo-Lynn. I live in Rochester NY where there is a Wegmans in every town and sometimes 2. I have one right up the road and seldom does a day go by without my stopping by.

    The folks at Wegmans know what they’re doing. No question about it. And for whoever might be wondering, the Wegman brand products are generally twice as good as the national brands.

    I am about to move to Massachusetts (hubby is being transferred) and when we went to visit the area the person leading the tour said, “And you’ve probably never heard of them, but Wegmans is building a store here …” big laugh from our crowd. And cheers!

    Just to wind this up, it’s been pouring here all day and coming out of the store on my wayto the car a young man (one of their “helping hands”) ran over with an umbrella and walked me all the way to my car, told me to get in while he put the groceres in my trunk and took the cart back to the cart rack. How nice is that? Wegmans style …

  7. I am totally a butter person, so that article was right up my alley.
    For some reason margarine always disgusted me, to the point if it was served to me I’d pass on it and all that yummy bread and rolls I was supposed to slather it on.
    I always thought Julia Child used plenty of butter & she lived a long & happy life, so I will too.

    Never been to Wegman’s but my DS raves about it…maybe someday I’ll get there.

  8. I love my Wegmans… so helpful to a mom with young kids… “helping hands” unloaded my groceries in the trunk, while I buckled all my kids in! LOVE it!

    Interesting post on margarine… makes me want to throw out what I have! hope my kids can recover! 🙂 Must go buy butter!

  9. I big fuzzy heart Wegmans too! The produce is wonderful and you are right, they know how to do customer service – a big thing in my book. Does yours have the cool toy train?

    1. YES! My 4-y/o loves it. I wish they had more local dairy, that’s what I’m going to ask them about. I know they try to get local produce when possible. And they sell grass fed meat. But the dairy and egg selection is underwhelming.

  10. A beautiful, very large Wegman’s opened in our town last year. It took me a while to get there. I had sort of a snotty attitude toward them at first because a local store that I loved was put out of business right after they opened. It was like a smaller version of Wegman’s. Anyway, I finally got over myself and made my way there and…WOW. It really is amazing. I’m convinced that I spend twice as much there, not necessarily because of the prices but because I must have that natural facial mud mask or that Le Creuset utensil holder. 🙂 My new mantra is, “stick to the list…stick to the list.” I’m not a big seafood person, mostly because I’m scared to buy it from anywhere around here so that’s good to know about their strict standards. I purchased some scallops there because I noticed they were from the East Coast. Those bacon wrapped scallops were the hit of the party…so fresh. Their thick-cut bacon, also is nitrate free…and delicious.

  11. Wow – I just learned that Wegmans is coming to MA!! But not to my area 🙁 I will continue to listen to my sister rave about hers in Buffalo…

  12. I, too, live in the land of Wegmans… and the specific parking spots for Moms w/ little ones is a Godsend, as is the child play area, so Mama can shop in peace… I shudder to think about moving to a non-Weggies state… As always, love your words!

  13. I want a Wegman’s!

    And I remember someone telling me that margarine was one…chemical, cell…whatever the heck you call it (I know my science, can ya tell?! LOL) away from plastic. I’ve never eaten the stuff, but that definitely kept me away! LOL

  14. I’m a transplant to Upstate NY from the Intermountain west. Whenever I begin to get homesick for the comforts home, I just remind myself that there is Wegman’s; hence, all is well in the universe. We love taking our friends and family to Wegman’s when they come to visit us, as though it were Disneyland or some other tourist destination. We parade them through the patisserie, the fromagerie, the organic food section with pride.

    When I go to Wegman’s, I fall in love with food–the best kind of food. And I always walk away with something like apricot-infused cheese or fennel or a fuzzy mushroom I’ve never seen before. It’s magical and delightful. And yes, I just said that about a grocery store.

  15. I love Wegmans! unfortunately I moved to a land with no wegmans. Publixs has great customer service though, so they will have to do. It’s not nearly the same as the amazing fresh food departments they have at Wegmans.

    If you do decide to go around giving out copies of that book or articles on margarine to strangers, please don’t blog about it. I would have to unsubscribe and I love you to much to do that.

  16. The lady behind you at the grocery store could have been me. My daughter is allergic to dairy and smart balance is one of the few margarines that is dairy free. The rest of us eat butter but she gets smart balance.

  17. I wish we had Wegman’s. There’s no ONE good grocery store here and I end up making TOO many trips for stuff.

    And yes, I do peek into other people’s carts on occasion. Some are NOT GOOD at all.

    And Thanks so much for the mention! 🙂

  18. Another Smart Balance user, my son can’t have dairy. He drinks goat milk and we occasionally use Smart Balance. I love butter though and he can tolerate butter in baked goods. But for toast or baked/mashed potatoes, I use Smart Balance.

    1. Hi Crystal. Thanks for your input. I know there is often more than meets the eye behind people’s diet choices, which is another reason I try not to look at other people’s carts too much. 🙂 It’s none of my business. Unfortunately many people still think margarine is healthier than butter, which is sad.

      My daughter had a dairy allergy when she was younger. It was a real pain. Best of luck to you with that!

  19. Thanks so much for your comments about Wegmans. Folks like you make us get up every day to do our job. I’m the team leader in the cheese shop at Wegmans Ithaca, and we wouldn’t know how to be different. Great customer service is just what we do, and we enjoy it. We try to make your day a little brighter, and a little more stress free.

  20. Wanted to let all the busy moms and dads out there know that most Wegmans stores have a location within the store called “W-Kids”. This is a place where you can sign your child in a special room with Wegmans staffers to play while you go grocery shopping in peace. Some locations allow you to drop your child or children off for anywhere from 5 minutes to an hour or even up to an hour and a half! While in the room, kids can play with one another, watch a Disney movie, play simple racing games Playstation or X-box, read, color, play with a variety of toys or play with one of the friendly staffers that man the room! All the while you are off getting everything you need and nothing you don’t! Any problems or little Timmy needs a potty break? Have no fear! Wegmans ensures each child and parent are complete with matching wrist bands and parent doesn’t leave without a large pager (similar to the ones they give you in resturants when you are waiting for a table) in case of emergencies (including potty breaks). And after said emergency is done, little Timmy gets to go back in the room and play while mom gets to finish up in line. Just wanted to give those new to Wegmans the heads up on a one of a kind service they offer!

  21. Wegmans is a strongly anti-union corporation that very gives its employees infrequent 25 cent raises and doesn’t give them any in-store discount. Beware of their “family-friendly” image, as many employees I know that work there are unhappy with their shoddy business practices.

  22. Ugh I get so grossed out when I see people have margarine at the dinner table with bread. I bought Jessica Seinfeld’s cookbook “Deceptively Delicious” and EVERY SINGLE recipe used margarine. And it’s supposed to be a healthy foods cookbook. For feeding your kids. Gross!

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