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Last updated: March 16. 2013 9:24PM - 279 Views

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When off on an adventure, or just away for a weekend, some people make it a point to fit in as many … fill in the blank … as possible. You know, historical sites, museums, art installations ...


Other people's gallivanting agendas can lean more basic.


True-confession time: I may have a mild obsession with grocery stores. Other
people's grocery stores.


By other people, I simply mean people who don't live here, people with all kinds of options. I'm so jealous that when passing through the magical, not necessarily faraway lands they inhabit, I have a hard time keeping my eyes on the road and off the handy-dandy Yelp app on my phone that lets me know just how close I am to losing myself in their beautiful, bountiful aisles.


No offense to local grocery stores – and my wallet teeming with club cards proves I'm loyal to ALL of them – but I just can't help myself. Is it so bad that different groceries make me giddy?


This will explain some of my excitement upon reading the other day that former race-car driver Joe Amato wants to bring an upmarket grocer to downtown Wilkes-Barre.


I almost wrote him a letter. It would have gone something like this:



Dear Mr. Amato,



Hey, how about Trader Joe's? They won't listen to me – I've requested a location near the 18701-18707 ZIP codes online at least 40 or 50 times now – but you have more clout, sir. (And your name is Joe too, which can't hurt.) Please help.



Thank you sincerely,



A culinarily curious TJ's groupie.


Yeah, culinarily curious. That's what the right brains behind the Trader Joe's brand call us suckers for their quirky stuff. Guilty. Have you ever had the white bean and basil hummus? I swear it would blow your mind and make you board my TJ's bandwagon in a hurry.


Trouble is I can rattle off a handful of other grocery stores I'd love to see hang a shingle here, too. But if we can have only one – to quote a beloved, teary-eyed, then-little one overwhelmed by decision-making – I don't know what my choice is!


A Fresh Market? A Stop & Shop? The former is especially grand in summer – I tell you a better burger has not been made than with its ground round – and nobody churns out store-brand chocolate-chip cookies like the latter.


But this passion of mine is complicated. I'm not convinced I want what I say I want, see. Part of me fears familiarity and its evil compadre, contempt. (Do we love most fervently what eludes us? And what of my guilty – until now secret – pleasure of hitting the road often for the sole purpose of bringing home cool stuff for parties that people don't see every day?)


Oh sigh. Careful what you wish for, right? I was a far more devoted fan of Christmas Tree Shops – it's true – when I had to drive to New England to hit one. No offense, Tree.


But, ah heck. The pros of bringing the love home seem to outweigh the cons. I could stop buying so many cute but redundant freezer bags on all the impromptu stops. And free time on trips certainly could be better spent actually seeing the world …


So let's try this again:



Dear Mr. Amato, Can we talk?


Reach Sandra Snyder, the editor of At Home, at 831-7383 or ssnyder@timesleader.com.


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