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Leominster Turtlegirl Ranks The Grocery Stores Of The Twin Cities

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When I think about going grocery shopping in the Twin Cities, four grocery stores come to mind: Shaw’s, ALDI, Hannaford and Market Basket.

Shaw’s is just totally out of the question. I don’t shit money. That place is more overpriced than movie theater candy. The only reason I ever go to Shaw’s is because they have 2 stuffed animal claw machines at their entrance. I play every time I go. I lose every time. It’s basically become an abusive relationship over the years. The day I win will be the day I crawl through the prize door like an unattended attention deficit toddler whose mother is too busy at the scratch ticket machine.

ALDI. Gross. It’s over by Walmart on 117. I tried going there. Once. The grocery carts alone were just baffling. Apparently, you need a $.25 to “rent” a cart. On this particular day, I didn’t have a quarter. So, I left. That was the one time I tried. Then came the infamous, stomach-churning meat scandal of 2013. What the Christ kind of grocery store pretends that horsemeat is beef?! They actually freaking did that. They sold horsemeat and told the customers it was beef. Talk about false advertising. PEOPLE WERE UNKNOWINGLY EATING HORSE. Personally, I don’t eat horse. It’s just not my thing. ALDI can go eff itself as far as I am concerned. If I found out I was eating horse and not cow, what the shit?

Maybe this guy should be the new mascot of ALDI

Screen Shot 2015-05-01 at 7.52.17 PM

This leaves me two options: Hannaford in Twin City plaza or Market Basket near the mall. The Hannaford on Lancaster Street to just too random. It makes me feel uneasy and out of my element.

When I go to Hannaford, I basically wander around for 2 hours browsing their enormous supply. There is nothing wrong with that – my adult ADHD kicks in to high gear and I get side-tracked by everything. I also end up spending $75.00 more than my budget allows because who doesn’t need a delicious premade rotisserie chicken and 3 pounds of thick cut maple bacon from the butcher?


(Side note: Every butcher Leominster Turtleboy or I have dealt with has always been a dick. It’s like we are getting in their way. Be nice, butcherman. It’s your job. Do it and do it well.) Hannaford is the place I go to when I don’t feel like being with other humans. It is never crowded (unless Market Basket is on strike) and the aisles are wide enough that you never have to cart-dance with anyone.

That leaves me one more grocery store option, Market Basket. I very much have a love/hate relationship with this place. The issue here is, I immediately think of popping some Xanax to ensure I can conquer the cluster fuck that is Market Basket. Their current slogan is, “More for your dollar,” but I think their slogan needs to be changed.

A much more appropriate and truthful slogan would be, “Where every day is like the day before Thanksgiving.” I don’t understand how it is even possible. I feel like there aren’t that many people to feed on this side of 190. You can be there at 1pm on a Tuesday, and somehow you’re elbow to elbow with Gramma and Grampa McBasket who are quarreling over what kind of oatmeal would soften their weekly bowel movement.


I really can’t comprehend how, after a complete renovation, Market Basket can only be navigated by someone named Magellan. The aisles are far too narrow and there are ALWAYS people stocking shelves. I thought shit like that got done at night time when no one was there. Not at Market Basket. They like being in your way and no knowing were their products are. Over the years, I have had fair enough Market Basket experiences; other times, I have walked in and walked out due to the unbearably long Disney World-like lines at the cash registers.



Here are some guidelines I’ve come up with to surviving Market Basket:

  1. One must always have a list. You can’t go to a place this chaotic without having a very specific plan of action.
  2. Leave your phone in the car. Any sort of distraction will just impair your focus and judgement
  3. DO NOT enter Market Basket if you are hungry! Or high. I have witnessed many red-eyed individuals pushing overstuffed grocery carts full of Doritos, Oreos, frozen corndogs, Pop Tarts and Fluffernutter ingredients.
  4. NEVER leave your cart unattended.
    1. Example 1: An enormous lady started shopping through my cart. She took my butter, pub cheese and wheat thins. I didn’t dare intervene. (Picture a rhinoceros stealing from a meerkat. That meerkat isn’t going to do shit about it) I feel like I looked just like this:
    2. Example 2: A guy took my half-filled cart. He was my old history teacher. It would have been too awkward. I started my shopping over.

5. Wear sneakers and headphones. Sneakers are just smart- so many people, so many carts. Hell, if you have steal-toed boots, go with those. Headphones and an iPod allow me to tune out EVERYONE. I probably look like a huge bitch giving off a “don’t talk to me” vibe. Good. That’s what I was going for.

6. Never ask the teenage girls behind the glass windows at the front of the store a question. I am not sure what makes them different from the rest of the workers, but I have never actually been helped by one of them. Instead, I get that dumb look only a teenager can give. It kind of always goes like this:

Screen Shot 2015-05-01 at 8.10.38 PM7. Smile at the cashiers and baggers. Market Basket literally hires the BEST baggers ever. I have had the most fun talking to some of these guys at the end of an emotionally exhausting shopping experience. One calls everyone “Bubba” and one shares the same love for Mario Kart as I do.

8. Always keep your purse on your body. I know, I know. Common sense. Some people lack this or don’t believe bad people exist. Not too long ago, some wonderfully insightful people were snatching up purses that were left in grocery carts while ladies turned their backs. Keep it on you and close it. Or, if you hate carrying your purse, at least do this:

9. Avoid Market Basket on the weekends. Dear heavens. Saturdays and Sundays are not even worth it. I would rather starve for 2 days. It can wait until Monday.

10. Be careful in the parking lot. People drive through this lot like it’s Talladega. I have also noticed an increase in sports teams collecting money outside the entrances/exits. Uh. Don’t just stand there and expect me to give you money because you’re holding a coffee can that says “Support Cheerleading.” Bake something. Wash my car. Give me a lollipop. Paint my face. Sell me flowers. One doesn’t simply just give money in exchange for nothing.

Would love to hear what other tips people have…

Ride the Turtle, Twin Cities.

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8 Comment(s)
  • Adam
    May 4, 2015 at 5:33 pm

    Wait, Shaw’s is expensive? I thought they were one of the more reasonably priced grocery stores around – they’re also one of the few supermarket chains around where you don’t need those stupid ‘membership cards’ to get discounts on everything.

    If you want a supermarket that’s overpriced, you should look to none other than Big Y. I routinely tell my parents not to shop there because you pay so much for so little. As close as it is to me, I always go to the grocery stores much further from my home because I save more going anywhere else but there.
    I remember going there one day to buy some honeycrisp apples and I couldn’t believe they were 3.99/lb. I left the store immediately and traveled to Shaw’s where they had them for only 1.99/lb.
    Maybe if Market Basket was closer around my way I’d check them out, but for now I’d rather stick with my next best option.

  • fellow leo turtlegirl
    May 4, 2015 at 5:32 pm

    excellent blog. It’s like you took the thoughts right out of my head. Just trying to find a parking spot at market basket gives me a panic attack, let alone navigating inside. I’ve never understood how small the aisles are as there is usually about 50 people in each one. so I also usually end up wandering down those huge spacious aisles at hannafords.

  • Steve Gambone
    May 2, 2015 at 7:54 am

    I was a Market Basketeer during the big fight so I’m biased. (It wasn’t really a strike, more girlcott than boycott.)

    You do need to shop with a plan and learn how to adapt to MB shopping. Learn how to read the checkout lanes to guess which one is fastest. Don’t just go to one that’s close. Think and learn.

    FYI all the MB high ups started out bagging groceries. It’s chain of really big Mom and Pop grocery stores with an old-fashioned work ethic.

  • Thom Kilcoyne
    May 2, 2015 at 7:43 am

    If you want to save $$$ , take a ride down 190 to Price Rite on Gold Star Blvd. You also get a side show of every ethnic origin. When I pay with cash, bells and whistles go off. Seems everyone has that “special card” for special people.

  • JayC
    May 1, 2015 at 9:48 pm

    Market Basket stocks at night but has to restock shelves during the day because they are so busy. The shelves would be bare if they didn’t. If you think the average Market Basket is a circus, go to their huge store in Chelsea, it’s a madhouse.

  • BobnMic
    May 1, 2015 at 9:24 pm

    Nice job again Leominster Turtlegirl. I’m a guy so clicking on an article about super markets would not be my first choice, as a guy, but when it’s authored by you I will read it and be entertained by it all of the time. Thank you.

  • Fitchburg-Shuffle
    May 1, 2015 at 8:01 pm

    Shit on is us all you want but at least we have TWO baskets to choose from!!! Ghetto basket has the double wide Goya isle and John Fitch has every Fitchburg resident over 80. Bite me Leominster!

  • Ser Davos Seaworth
    May 1, 2015 at 7:49 pm

    Monday and Tuesday mornings are the best.

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