Archive for the ‘Shopping’ Category

Social Safeway Enters The DC Social Media Scene

Safeway 2912-20090929-110318Real DC Locals know that we have the odd habit of giving alliterate nick names to our Safeways. In fact I’ve been sitting on a half-finished piece on all the DC Safeways that I hope to finish sometime before the Redskins lose 20 games in  a row.

The Safeway on Wisconsin Ave, also known as “Social Safeway” hasn’t been so social recently since the location has been going through renovations like much of the other area locations (the Spanish Safeway has been sporting bi-lingual “under construction” signs.)

I was happy to recently discover that the store has embraced it’s local nickname, establishing an online home at– even though I just ran into it recently, the site was mentioned back in January 2009.

The site has a short history of Safeway in DC as well as an explanation of it’s DC Safeway nickname. You can also check-in on it’s construction progress through a webcam on-site. While the cam just shows your typical cranes and dirt, the time-lapse feature is a really cool visual to watch as compiles all the photos into one quick montage of construction.

Some of the features of the new Social Safeway includes:

  • Expanded Wine & Beer Offerings
  • Wine Steward with Wine Cellar
  • Sushi Bar Island Deli
  • Jamba Juice
  • Starbuck’s Kiosk
  • Huge Organic Produce Section
  • Hearth Oven Fresh Brick Oven Store prepared Pizza
  • Two Levels of Free Parking

The store will be two stories and include indoor and outdoor seating with a balcony overlooking Wisconsin Ave. The plans sound like it may resemble the design of the Wegmans in Fairfax that I’m a big fan of. If that’s the case, then I have to say that the new Social Safeway will be even more sociable than ever.

According to DCist, Social Safeway is expected to be finished by March 2010.

Thrifty DC: Five Ways To Enjoy DC On The Cheap

Photo courtesy of Flickr user incandenzafied

Photo courtesy of Flickr user incandenzafied

Have you been spending money like there’s no recession? Earlier this year I realized I have to get my act together on spending, so I thought I’d share with you five ways to have some fun on the cheap around DC:

1. Take Advantage Of Deal Websites

There are a few sites out there that can cut you deals on things around DC. What’s The Deal DC is a new start-up source of bargains around The District, and is currently offering half off prices for Salon Roi, just in case you just HAVE to get that mani and pedi… Groupon is another site looking to tell you of great deals on stuff. I personally enjoy using Shop It To Me, a website that sends you customized e-mails telling you when certain stores or brands are having sales.

2. See The Neweum Before September

For the rest of August, you can get into the Newseum for only half of the pricey admission cost. Thank WTOP’s celebration of 40 years in DC for the deal.

3. Screen It On The Green

Even though summer is coming to a close the area’s many outdoor film festivals give you a great chance to relax and watch a movie outdoors- all for free. The Crystal City Film Festival goes into September.

4. Keep Track Of Free And Easy Events With Going Out Gurus

I always read The Going Out Guru‘s Free and Easy Events blog posts which they put up weekly, it’s a great way to help plan your social calendar.

5. Dumpster Dive For Your Goods (Well Not Really)

While I am not actually endorsing dumpster diving, I am going to be checking out Freecycle and Craigslist Free Items for the few furniture items I’d like to add to my place. If you are willing to put up with what you get- nothing beats free.

Package delivery hazards, and being a city mouse

Props to joezilagyi on Flickr

Props to joezilagyi on Flickr

I guess I understand why FedEx offers this service; “real” FedEx is aimed at delivery to offices during the business day.  But then FedEx began contracting out Home Delivery (not without issues) for online orders to folks who are not often home during the day.

I find it interesting that FedEx recently changed its ad campaign from Relax, It’s FedEx to We Understand.  But I don’t think they understand the differences between home delivery to country mice and city mice.  Case in point was delivery this morning of a rug ordered online.

9:55 am: Loud knock at the door.
9:56 am: I open the door and am almost beaned by a rolled-up rug falling at my face.   The guy driving the Penske rental van (illegally parked across the street) calls out “Sorry!” as he gets in and drives away.  I drag the 60-pound package into the house.
9:58 am: I check the FedEx tracking website to see that the package was left “on the porch”.

Okay, I live in a rowhouse in the densest urban neighborhood in DC.  I do not have a “porch”, I have two cast-iron steps outside my front door, which I don’t even own.  No one in their right mind should leave a package at my door.  Right.

And so I will rant briefly about being a responsible online-orderer in the city, which includes:

  • planning accordingly for when one is home to answer the door and when one is not
  • getting to know one’s regular FedEx, UPS, and USPS delivery professional
  • knowing one’s neighbors and relying on one another to get accept packages

I won’t add “expecting a delivery person to be able to read a note taped to the door”, because that’s been kind of hit or miss.  </rant>

Baking as Transformation

Chocolate Crumble Cake Bread Pudding

Memo to anyone who bought the Double Chocolate Crumble Cake from Whole Foods this weekend.  If you were as disappointed as we were with this, consider following this Paula Deen recipe and transform it into yummela bread pudding!

The unseasonably warm weather has almost put me off baking and soup-making, both traditional activities for me this time of year.  I’m looking forward to a drop in temperature next week — and more baking adventures.

Does The Obama 8 Dollar Make You Holler?

As we approach the day we sit down and say thanks, we grow closer to another important milestone in the holiday season- Black Friday.

I’ll be back home in Massachusetts possibly waiting in lines at 5 AM, but I wanted to write about something else people may not be waiting in line for.

Last week I was watching TV at work (don’t worry it’s my job) when I saw this crazy ad for the “Barack Obama Limited Edition Coin.” I bet it would go great with “Obama Vitcory Collector’s Plate.”

Shortly after seeing the ads I was disappointed in the lengths people will go to cash in on history. I wouldn’t say I’m surprised however. DC locals are familiar with the vendors that line the streets of The Mall, selling all sorts of knock-off DC apparel. Everything from “Witness Protection Program” to knock-off sweatshirts with the local Alma Maters on them.

Carlos Lee at Politico recently wrote a piece that highlights even more items I didn’t know were out there- did you know that there’s a fake 8 Dollar Obama Bill? I just had to check it out.

Low and behold there was a bill on eBay for sale- the best part of the item is the fine print:


In the words of John Stossel– give me a break!

All sorts of people are joining in the madness- WMATA will be unveiling Obama SmartTrip Cards and Farecards for the special event. I can’t wait to swipe Obama’s face on the Orange line!

The buzz around Obama has risen him to rockstar status – so it makes perfect sense that the merchandising is nothing short of that as well. What does everyone else think? Are you all ready to get your loved ones Obama plates for the holidays?

Crazy for Black Friday

Via DCist, we can bring you the thrilling news that WMATA has decided to open its doors at 4 AM on Friday, November 28 to accommodate shoppers who would like to use public transport for their early-morning trips to the sales.

In a crazy enthusiastic press release, WMATA offers you helpful tidbits on which line to take to which shopping center (and provides bus information for Tyson’s Corner Center and Georgetown)!  For example:

Blue and Yellow Lines
• Pentagon City Metrorail station is the home of the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City.
• Crystal City Metrorail station is the underground home to over 200 shops, restaurants and cafes.
• Franconia-Springfield Metrorail station and the Springfield Mall can be accessed via Metro and a short bus ride to a major shopping center in Farifax, VA.
• From the King Street Metrorail station, Alexandria city offers free shuttle bus to Old Towne Alexandria shops.

Awesome!  Metro also wishes to remind you that “[s]hoppers taking Metro on Friday are likely to find another bonus. With many workers taking the day off after Thanksgiving, more parking will likely be available at Metrorail stations. Shoppers can park their cars at Metrorail stations and forget the hassle of trying to negotiate crowded city streets or looking for a parking space at the shopping mall. A SmarTrip card is needed to pay for parking at Metrorail stations. ”

From personal experience, I can tell you that it would definitely be worth the bus ride from WFC to Tyson’s…I once drove my sister there — before she could drive herself — to do some Christmas shopping and we spent 90 minutes trying to park.   60 minutes shopping.  (Don’t say I didn’t warn  you, DC.)

To cut down on holiday-related stress, I will be doing most of my shopping on Cyber Monday (yes, it has its own web site; so does Black Friday).  All the benefits of the sales, with none of the crowds, cold, or queueing – and the gifts arrive at my door or their intended recipient’s!

Another great way to beat holiday anxiety is to use the various packandship services available from shipping companies.  If you are a holiday baker, like me, you can take your tins of cookies to the shipping spot with a list of addresses, pay them and leave.  No scrounging for boxes that are the right size, searching for packing peanuts or bubble wrap, or bothering with wrapping your tasty treats yourself.  Which reminds me, I’ve got to make my baking supply list and get cracking!

Oh, and to get you in that shopping mood, you can stop by the Metro Center Macy’s for their holiday window unveiling party, tonight at 5 PM at 12th and G Streets, NW.   Brian McKnight will be there to sing holiday tunes, and the exciting Ballou High School marching band is also due to appear (trust me, they’re awesome).

Happy holidays, DC!

Holiday giving dilemma

A great place to shop, or get on a train and visit your mom instead.

Union Station: A great place to shop. Or spend your money on a train to visit your mom instead.

Today brought snow flurries and a chill north wind, and it’s really beginning to feel a lot like that old Holiday gift giving season.  However, with the wholesale rejection of the outgoing administration’s admonition to go shopping, and with belts tightening, a lot of us are wondering just how this is going to work.

While there is an upcoming sales tax holiday (and the markdowns are just going to get better and better), my family is looking at this an opportunity to do some housecleaning.  I’m embracing Freecycle, with e-groups across the region.  I also recommend the “free” listings on craigslist because who doesn’t love a curb alert?  Help out a neighbor–and give yourself the gift of less clutter. 

Finally, giving of oneself is the ultimate in generosity.  Check out these opportunities, consider something more vampiric, or you can even barter your volunteer time for fun and profit.

Happy holidays?

Photo credit to zizzybaloobah on Flickr.

Buy it Fresh

baby tomatoes @ dupont farmer’s market
Originally uploaded by gingher

Discouraged by the slim pickings at your local Safeway and Giant? Worried about FDA warnings about Salmonella contamination of fruits and vegetables? Don’t want to spend more than $1 per orange at Whole Foods?

Support local growers and buy your produce at one of DC’s many farmer’s markets this weekend.

Saturday 8:00 am – 2:00 pm
Adam’s Morgan
18th Street and Columbia Road, NW

Saturday 9:00 am – 1:00 pm
Chevy Chase
Broad Road and Northampton Street, NW

Saturday 9:00 am – 1:00 pm
Heritage Park
Division Avenue and Foote Streets, NE

Saturday 9:00 am – 1:00 pm
U Street
14th and U Streets, NW

Saturday 9:00 am – 1:00 pm
Mount Pleasant
Lamont Park

Saturday and Sunday 7:00 am – 4:00 pm
Eastern Market
7th and C Streets, SE

Sunday 9:00 am – 1:00 pm
Dupont Circle
20th Street and Massachusetts Avenue, NW

Detained by Montgomery County Police For Buying Sugar

I was detained by the police today and accused of stealing. I was also illegally detained against my will by several Wal*Mart employees preceding the detention by police. My crime? Leaving Wal*Mart with four bags of sugar (that I had just purchased) without showing a receipt, because I was not given one by the Wal*Mart cashier. I was threatened with being taken to jail, threatened with physical violence as I attempted to leave, and had to defend myself and my property while Wal*Mart security attempted to rip it from my hands, breaking my bags and causing one of my items to break open on the pavement. After I was released (having been completely innocent all along), I was lectured by the police officer and Wal*Mart manager about how next time I could make it easier on myself by just agreeing to give up my rights to their goons to begin with. While the initial employee who detained me apologized, the others, including the Wal*Mart Manager, did not.

I was at the Germantown Wal*Mart to buy four bags of sugar because earlier in the day I had been at Butler’s Orchard picking 10 pounds of strawberries to turn into delicious jam. And to make delicious jam, you need lots of sugar. I grabbed four bags and headed to the checkout, where I also decided I could use some refreshment. I grabbed a Mountain Dew from the cooler, but the cashier had already processed my card for the four bags of sugar. He apologized and rang up another transaction for the Mt. Dew. At that point, he crumpled up my receipt for the four bags of sugar and handed me the receipt for the Mountain Dew. I headed for the exit, and was greeted by Wal*Mart security who wanted to check my receipt. I produced the receipt for the Mountain Dew and explained that the cashier had tossed the other receipt for the sugar. I would repeat this explanation 6 more times before this affair ended. The rest of the tale is below… (more…)

Dead Watermelon at Safeway

Dead Watermelon at SafewayI was at the Safeway on Old Dominion Drive in McLean on Sunday and saw this bugger there. Not only was it rotten and split – yes, way past rotten and soft – but there were ants all over it, which are too small to be visible in this picture, unfortunately.

Safeway employees and managers – every time I am ready to give your store another chance, I see something like this. It doesn’t take much to keep the place looking decent. Is this how you save money? Do you try to reduce shrinkage by waiting until the ants carry everything off to their intricate system of nests somewhere in the building?

Do any of our readers work for Safeway and want to comment? All I can think is that if there is one ant-infested part of the building, there are likely to be others.

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