Mark has been looking forward to this day since he saw the sign go up announcing the replacement of the Toys Я Us store, with a new store. He was like a child on Christmas Morning, ready to rip into the pile of brightly wrapped presents when Trader Joe's opened yesterday. Yes, Trader Joe's has come to Fort Lauderdale. There was even a time when Mark and I got into a heated argument about moving to Chicago because he thought he would miss the grand opening of Trader Joe's. Never mind that there are already five of them in Chicago alone, not to mention many in the suburbs. So anyway, yesterday Mark announced that we would be going to the brand new, shiny, Trader Joe's up on Federal Highway, in Fort Lauderdale. Mark showered and shaved, I put on a clean shirt, and off we went.
It was a scene worthy of a papal visit. Crowds of people, all moving in the same direction, towards the former site of Toys Я Us, now Trader Joe's. Out on Federal Highway, a six lane major thoroughfare, police cars sat with flashing lights while officers directed traffic in and out of the parking lot. Once we managed to drive onto the property it was more mayhem. No handicapped parking spaces were available, so Mark had to fight over a space two rows out. It was nerve wracking. Mark sat with his turn signal on showing that he was going to take the soon to be vacated spot, while another car coming from the other direction signaled the same intentions. I have to hand it to Mark. Despite his poor driving skills it seems that his survival instinct took over and he zipped into the spot, barely missing the bumper of the young woman who had challenged him. And of course, as we walked from the car to the store, a line of cars slowly followed us, assuming we were leaving and they would get dibs on our parking space. Things weren't much different once in the store. It was wall to wall people, all pushing the red shopping carts. There were even mini red carts for the kids to push around. Most of those carts were eventually pushed into my ankles at one point or another. Meanwhile, Mark was in shopping heaven, though I don't understand why. It was still just a grocery store. Kind of a hippie version of Whole Foods. Hippie prices with Whole Foods quality. I think if we go back on a normal day, not the grand opening, I will actually like shopping there. As it is, last night I had Trader Joe's famous frozen pot stickers and frozen orange chicken for dinner, washed down with some Two Buck Chuck wine that was purchased for three bucks. It wasn't horrible.