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Wegmans the Musical
June 19, 2013 4:23 AM   Subscribe

"You know you've made it when your shoppers start composing ballads about you."

Fans of the lo-fi feel of A Very Potter Musical (previously) and devotees of a beloved supermarket chain from upstate New York, are likely to enjoy Wegmans the Musical, a 2012 class project at the Algonquin Regional High School in Northborough, Massachusetts. It started as an improv sketch in the Advanced Drama class about the local store that opened in 2011, but with the encouragement from, and the donation of props, by the Wegmans company's New England Division manager, it grew into an hour-and-a-half-long show and even a scholarship. Unlike many high school musicals, though, this was one worked on almost exclusively during a few class periods a week. If you're not sure if you want to commit to a full-length performance, there's a trailer. (Yes, the songs are all spoofs of other theater and popular songs.)
posted by knile (47 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite

 
I grew up in Rochester, NY where Wegman's first started and always thought the cult-like following was weird. Until I moved to a state without a Wegman's and realized just how awful shopping for produce and meat in a regular grocery store is.
posted by karlos at 4:54 AM on June 19, 2013 [9 favorites]


I live in Buffalo. I am not from WNY.

Wegmans: Meh. Overpriced, overcrowded, no self-checkouts, way too big. The hot food is subpar or equal to what I can get in a restaurant or deli. I don't get it. At all.

I'll take Tops over Wegmans any day. I want to go grocery shopping and not have it be a Big Fucking Event.

(Wegmans makes me incredibly crabby.)
posted by peacrow at 5:00 AM on June 19, 2013


The thing is, musicals about companies, produced by the company, used to be a thing
posted by The Whelk at 5:11 AM on June 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Hilarious! Our Wegmans is totally one of the most popular meetup/flirt/romance place for students. Lots of giggling over the produce, handholding in the bakery, etc.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 5:16 AM on June 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Wegmans is the second best thing to come out of Rochester after the garbage plate. I will shop at Tops if I must but always end up angry thanks to their dirty stores, empty shelves and slow checkouts. Wegmans has figured out that customer service actually makes people come back, which is a lesson Tops hasn't learned.

peacrow, the only reason I use the self-checkouts at Tops is I am faster and better than the people they have working there. That is, when they manage to have what I'm looking for on the shelf.
posted by tommasz at 5:25 AM on June 19, 2013 [6 favorites]


I have to ask, what's a garbage plate?
posted by arcticseal at 5:38 AM on June 19, 2013


arcticseal: Do you enjoy dinner but hate the hassle of keeping individual food items separate or distinguishable? Try a garbage plate! Antidiarrheal sold separately.
posted by jumpercake at 5:49 AM on June 19, 2013 [3 favorites]


Okay, we live near THE Wegmans flagship store and I must confess I am spoiled. There are self-checkouts, peacrow, as well as an outstanding buffet-style bistro with a huge vegetarian section and chefs who are willing, even pleased, to share any recipe for any item you happen to enjoy.

I love the extensive International section, the organic produce is unbeatable and I've never gone wrong with their seafood or meats. They even have a good shopping app.

And of course they have the Baldwins.

The general rule hereabouts vis-a-vis The Big Wegmans is to never go there unless you have at least an hour and some decent money to kill. It's too big and too damned entertaining.
posted by kinnakeet at 5:54 AM on June 19, 2013


I was just back in Buffalo for the first time in a decade with my SO and one of the first things I did was head to Wegmans. She was unimpressed. I'm now questioning our whole relationship.
posted by KingEdRa at 6:02 AM on June 19, 2013 [8 favorites]


I shouldn't have asked. I'm fasting until lunch for a blood test and now I'm hungry. So very hungry.
posted by arcticseal at 6:04 AM on June 19, 2013


I had no idea people felt so passionately about their supermarkets.

Wait, no, maybe I did know - I shop at HEB Central Market almost exclusively, after all.
posted by item at 6:18 AM on June 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


The hot food is subpar or equal to what I can get in a restaurant or deli.

I have the same complaint about gas stations. Why can't they get their act together and focus on their core business: catering!
posted by DU at 6:20 AM on June 19, 2013


Though not a resident of upstate New York, I am a huge fan of Wegmans. Their huge selection of apples. Their huge selection of cheese. Sample tables as far as the eye can see.

In particular, I am thoroughly impressed by the size and quality of their microbrew section, which goes on and on and on, and then I remember the limited stock and options of the provincial liquor stores back home, and then I feel all stabby.

In summary, then: I love Wegmans. But it's a love that hurts. I can totally see that as a musical.
posted by Capt. Renault at 6:37 AM on June 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'd love Wegman's to move in around here but they probably don't like PA's liquor rules.
posted by octothorpe at 6:38 AM on June 19, 2013


I'd love Wegman's to move in around here but they probably don't like PA's liquor rules.
Wegmans fought the law and Wegmans won.
posted by knile at 6:40 AM on June 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


...but they probably don't like PA's liquor rules.

Funny story. (Funny to me, anyway.) Me and Mother Renault were on a road trip, and we stopped for supplies at the Wegmans in Binghamton. Among other things, she needed a bottle of wine for the hotel room. So I pick up some beer for myself, from their ginourmous section (and you can build your own six-pack, which is especially nice), and we walk around and around and around looking for the wine. We only see some non-alcoholic wine, over by the cheese. So Mother asks the lady, "where's your wine section?" The cheese lady responds, "We don't have one, since we don't have a licence to sell alcohol." And we're totally flabbergasted, since we just got out of aisle upon aisle of beer, and they don't sell alcohol?

PA's liquor rules are an entirely different kind of joke.
posted by Capt. Renault at 6:45 AM on June 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'd love Wegman's to move in around here but they probably don't like PA's liquor rules.

Yes, they have stores in Erie, lots of beers too.
posted by methinks at 6:45 AM on June 19, 2013


I'm an Ithacan with a love-hate relationship with the local Wegmans. Start the hate part with the lack of apostrophe in the company name. Seriously, however, their efforts to provide organic and vegetarian options are great. Though one specific big black eye there is that their whole wheat tortillas have fish oil in them, ostensibly to give us the fantabulous Omega-3 (but I really think to make them more palatable); this makes them useless to my vegetarian friends (and me when I am trying to be vegetarian).

They do make an effort (a well-advertised effort of course) to hold costs down on staple items, such as whole wheat bread and milk and OJ, and I appreciate that too.

The glorious buffet areas are a tempatation, especially since they make a wide variety of Asian and vegetarian options (including dim sum and Indian items now) in addition to the salad bar and typical pizza/wing/homestyle items you see now in many big supermarkets (like the Tops competitors). But it's not cheap, and you can easily spend $10 on an average-sized plate of stir fry and rice items. Which is a little much, honestly.

The cheese case is pretty amazing, better than some (most?) dedicated cheese stores I have shopped at (in the U.S. anyhow). Which means mostly I have to avoid it unless I want to gain 50 pounds. The olive / tapenade / hummus bar is very tempting as well.

On the negatives side, one thing I tend not to buy at Wegmans is fruit, since they seem to buy from distributors who pick fruit very under-ripe, which I'm sure is better for shipping and visual esthetics, but also results in utterly flavorless or will-never-properly-ripen fruit. For example, I have *never* been able to eat a pear or peach bought in a Wegmans store, even when I've tried to ripen them at home in paper bags. Fortunately in warm months there is a good farmers' market alternative in my town. Their apples are not as bad, however, though they tend to run out of the kinds I like (Empire and Gala).

Specific to the local Wegmans, because I live in a college town where thousands of students have cars, making no establishment truly safe for townies, I also have to time my trips to Wegmans to avoid mobs of students, and also not to go right *after* the crowds of students either, since they have cleared out Wegmans like a swarm of vermin. (No offense, students, I know there would be no fun town here without the colleges.) But so Saturday mornings before 10 or 11 are best, or weekday evenings. But Saturday or Sunday afternoons the place is a madhouse between junior faculty families with several kids in those oversized cart-toddler-car combos (I think of them as SUV carts) and the groups of students who (as someone upthread mentioned) see Wegmans to be as much of a social opportunity as one for getting in, buying groceries, and getting out.
posted by aught at 6:54 AM on June 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Also in State College. What they don't like is Giant Eagle.
(In response to octothorpe.)
posted by tss at 6:55 AM on June 19, 2013


Wait, no, maybe I did know - I shop at HEB Central Market almost exclusively, after all.

That's probably a good comparison for our midwestern friends.

In particular, I am thoroughly impressed by the size and quality of their microbrew section, which goes on and on and on,

How did I forget that? Yikes.
posted by aught at 6:56 AM on June 19, 2013


Wegmans is the major reason I got my driver's license in grad school. No joke.
posted by en forme de poire at 7:00 AM on June 19, 2013 [3 favorites]


And we're totally flabbergasted, since we just got out of aisle upon aisle of beer, and they don't sell alcohol?

Yeah, that's a NY state thing, not a Wegmans thing. Wegmans would very much like it to change, but so far the liquor stores have put up a good fight to keep control of wine sales in NY.
posted by aught at 7:02 AM on June 19, 2013


Oh, Wegmans. The only thing that I miss about Rochester (aside from my parents, of course). We used to hang out at the Pittsford Wegmans when I was in high school; it was brand-new at the time, and it was the place to be. People always look at me funny when I say that - unless they've been to a Wegmans!

I'm curious to see what the new East Ave Weggies will look like (or is it already done? I don't know). I don't live in Rochester anymore, but I'm still cranky about them making a new mega-Wegmans there.

East Ave was always my favorite store. A few years back, I was bragging about how great Weggies is to my ex-boyfriend (he is from Florida), and he thought I was just playing - how could someone be so devoted to a grocery store? He was hooked after he saw an employee shake someone's hand and greet them by first name warmly as we were walking in - and the butcher complimenting his hat didn't hurt, either. They treat their customers so well, and they have nice products. I have a lot of fondness for Wegmans.
posted by k8lin at 7:04 AM on June 19, 2013


I'm curious to see what the new East Ave Weggies will look like (or is it already done? I don't know).
It opened recently.
posted by knile at 7:07 AM on June 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


Yeah, that's a NY state thing, not a Wegmans thing.

It was just the idea that under NY State liquor laws, beer is not considered alcohol, for the purposes of selling at Wegmans. The disconnect between legal reality and reality reality.

Still, in that beer section, I'm prancing like Homer in the Land of Chocolate.
posted by Capt. Renault at 7:08 AM on June 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


peacrow, you are a crazy person. Wegmans is like the Platonic form of the supermarket, even though we mostly end up shopping at one of the Top's that are closer to us.

Wegmans: Meh. Overpriced

About the same as Top's for most stuff, though there's always the temptation at Wegmans to get some expensive cheese or meat that Top's doesn't carry.

overcrowded,

I'll give you that.

no self-checkouts,

(A) They do have them, and
(B) They don't need them because they open a new register whenever there's a meaningful line.

way too big.

This is like complaining about too much choice.

The hot food is subpar or equal to what I can get in a restaurant or deli.

Duh. You're in a grocery store. Of course the hot food won't be as good as an actual restaurant or full-service deli. The proper comparison to Wegmans hot food isn't going to Hutch's or the Lake Effect, it's going to the hot food section at Top's or, God help you, Save-A-Lot or similar.

I wonder if they have fresh local corms today...
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 7:27 AM on June 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


Once I visited the Wegman's in Syracuse and met Man Ray and Fay Ray.

You wouldn't believe what they were wearing.
 
posted by Herodios at 7:36 AM on June 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


I spent the night before my wedding at the flagship Wegmans. I REGRET NOTHING.

(And if you were a kid on the school bus in western New York, you know to sing along: Tops never mops, look at their floors!)
posted by gnomeloaf at 7:37 AM on June 19, 2013 [8 favorites]


The only grocery store I'd categorize as "fun" is Stew Leonard's, although mostly for the animatronic puppets you're forced to walk past in the maze-like layout.

Wegman's is pretty good in its own right, though. I'd never have been able to buy a six-pack of Pennsylvania microbrew without Wegman's.
posted by ardgedee at 7:37 AM on June 19, 2013


Wegmans fought the law and Wegmans won.

I think this post just convinced me to brave the massively popular new Wegman's near me this weekend. I love Wegman's; I just hate everyone else in Wegman's. I've been in a Wegman's on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, and it was positively post-apocalyptic in there.
posted by gladly at 7:39 AM on June 19, 2013 [1 favorite]



And we're totally flabbergasted, since we just got out of aisle upon aisle of beer, and they don't sell alcohol?

Yeah, that's a NY state thing, not a Wegmans thing.


My jaw dropped the first time I went to a drugstore outside of NYS and saw a whole aisle of hard liquor. It was like seeing your grandparents making out.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 8:10 AM on June 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


I love Wegman's; I just hate everyone else in Wegman's.

This.

We joke that the Pittsford flagship store is for people who honestly believe that no one else exists in the world. From the parking lot to the aisles to the check-out -- it's pure privilege.

I once saw a young woman in a full length fur coat approach the patisserie with her cart. She couldn't get it close enough to the counter (in her worldview) and she kept jamming it closer.

"That's MY LEG" -- said the older gentleman who was standing there. She had been repeatedly jamming her cart into his leg.

She didn't even apologize.

But that says more about Pittsford than it does Wegmans. Or does it?

Wegmans takes heat for closing their stores in the city and moving everything out to the suburbs, with the exception of the newly-re-designed East Ave Wegs.

Say what you will about Tops not having fresh produce or a good selection -- they feed people in Rochester.

Oh -- and don't feel too bad for Wegmans not being able to sell liquor and wine in their stores -- they have a strategy.
posted by vitabellosi at 8:16 AM on June 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


with the exception of the newly-re-designed East Ave Wegs.

That's my grocery store! It's not even just re-designed; they knocked the entire old one down and bought the rest of the block to build the store on. They filled in the old foundation and used it for more parking space. I actually built the website for the sit-down italian restaurant they have on premises. At the grocery store. A few blocks from my apartment.

This could quickly become an issue for my gut and my wallet.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 8:24 AM on June 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Which one's Wegman's?
posted by Sys Rq at 8:56 AM on June 19, 2013 [3 favorites]


I have a bit of a thing about industrial musicals. There's a British equivalent, the Mike Sammes Singers, who recorded nice easy-listening songs about tights, TUC biscuits and ICI to be played in supermarkets.

I don't know much about Wegmans, but I also have a bit of a thing about foreign supermarkets, and listening to this might convince me that I need to book a plane ticket to upstate NY.
posted by mippy at 9:01 AM on June 19, 2013


When I moved back to Ithaca, I started getting calls from far-away friends asking for specific things from Wegman's, and asking if our favorite cashiers were still working there. Shipping store-brand soda to Indiana? That's brand loyalty.
posted by tchemgrrl at 10:11 AM on June 19, 2013


I was a Tops person when I first moved here, because the closest Tops was large and very new, and the closest Weggies was one of their oldest and smallest. So, they knocked it down and built a new one. Can't beat that for trying to accommodate. They're not the second coming. But I've lived in six states and they're the best supermarket I've used. Also worth noting is that they are very consistently ranked as a decent place to work, which treats their people fairly.
posted by tyllwin at 10:26 AM on June 19, 2013


Shipping store-brand soda to Indiana? That's brand loyalty.

When I lived in MA a few years ago, I had someone FedEx me a package of Wegmans wheat pitas. Oh, those pitas.
posted by jumpercake at 10:45 AM on June 19, 2013


Writing songs about a supermarket? What do they think it is, Trader Joe's*?
* 2nd song less about the store and more about the clientele, also semi-NSFW lyric
posted by oneswellfoop at 10:52 AM on June 19, 2013


Oh God, I love Wegmans. I live in Missouri, but I took a vacation to Rochester two years ago to visit friends and they took us to check out Wegmans. We spent most of our time in Wegmans perusing the aisles and 60% of my vacation photos are of my friends and I at Wegmans, gawking and admiring all of the wondrous delights.
posted by chara at 11:00 AM on June 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Writing songs about a supermarket? What do they think it is, Trader Joe's?

Funny you should mention Trader Joe's. They recently put in a new store RIGHT NEXT TO the Wegmans flagship location.
posted by aught at 1:49 PM on June 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Wegmans: Meh.

what

don't EVEN.
posted by AV at 7:07 PM on June 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


They do have an uncommonly good store brand soda. And it has cute names like Wedge and Dr. W.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 8:39 PM on June 19, 2013


And it has cute names like Wedge and Dr. W.

My friend particularly wanted to open up a can of Wup.
posted by tchemgrrl at 9:48 AM on June 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


When my Scottish now-husband first came to visit me in upstate NY, everyone (like, at least 10 people) asked him, "oh man, have you been to Wegmans yet?! Tell her she has to take you to Wegmans."

And he kept going, "Is it a theme park? The best food ever? I don't understand."

Me: "It's just a grocery store."

Him: "Oh."

Me: "But... you'll see."

And he DID. Now he requests a trip to Wegmans whenever we see my family. And they bring us Wegmans organic peanut butter when they visit New Hampshire.

I really think it's mainly the very soothing rust-colored walls/ceiling! Also, friendly staff.
posted by Isingthebodyelectric at 2:05 PM on June 20, 2013


I've lived in Rochester my entire life (except for college)

The idea of having a supermarket that actually closes at night is completely foreign to me. I went to visit my sister once and she was like "okay, we have to go to XYZ supermarket because it's past 10pm and the one near our house is closed" and I was all "WTF?"

(even better than living in Rochester? Living in Rochester across the street from a Wegmans. YOU CAN AVOID THE PARKING LOT. I have one of those old-lady wheeled shopping trolley things and just LOAD IT UP.)

It's also amusing to see whether "your" Wegmans calls it "soda" or "pop".
posted by Lucinda at 8:02 AM on June 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


I think we might need to do a roc mefi meetup sometime soon.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 3:48 PM on June 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


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