Saturday, April 28, 2012

Local Woman Is Last To Admit That Martin's Sucks

SHORT PUMP,VA--  Beth Orinstein, of Wyndham became the very last grocery shopper in the west end to realize that Martin's really does suck late Thursday afternoon after it took her 20 minutes to find a jar of olives. While all of her family and friends had come to the conclusion months earlier that Martin's wasn't fit to carry Ukrop's jock-strap, Beth had stubbornly held on to the hope that Martin's wouldn't turn out to be a crushing disappointment.

"I just wanted to give them a chance, you know?" Mrs. Orinstein said as she tried to steady herself with a mint-chocolate milk shake at Chick-fila. " I guess everyone dealt with the death of Ukrops differently. I just couldn't bring myself to accept that they had been bought, so I just pretended that nothing would change. After all, they didn't take away my rainbow cookies and White House rolls..how bad would it be?"

Mrs. Orinstein, a mother of three growing boys, was delighted back in February of 2009 when the only noticeable changes in her Short Pump Crossings store seemed to be the hideous nuclear waste green uniforms the employees were forced to wear. The still friendly, if somewhat embarrassed workers still took her groceries to the car for her. Her favorite Ukrops meals to go were available for her to buy at the last minute for dinner on those days when she fell asleep on the sofa watching the Young and the Restless. But gradually Beth began to notice the subtle changes, and soon she went into full denial.

"I just couldn't deal with the sense of loss, the relentless disappointment. So I guess I just pretended not to notice when they totally re-arranged all of the aisles in the most annoying way possible. It's like one day I could have shopped for a week's worth of groceries in thirty minuets with a blind fold on , and suddenly it takes me ten minutes to find the condiment aisle."

As Beth stares out the window, her eyes begin to fill with tears and her hands start manically working the straw of her shake. Keeping alive false hope for two years has clearly taken a toll. I ask her to describe the olive incident in more detail, but she just sighs heavily.

" Like everyone else, I have to admit that it did bother me when they took down the "Let's All Go To Church This Sunday" painting. I mean, I don't actually attend church, but it always made me feel better when I saw that thing hanging up there. And yes, it was annoying when every time I needed something on a Sunday I had to go to that dreadful Food Lion. And, there was something endearing about having to stop by Krogers to buy beer and wine on the way home. But today, I just wanted to buy a bottle of olives for God's sake!! What moron thinks to put olives on the baking aisle?!"

As her frustration begins to pour out in torrents now, other Chick-fila customers start to notice, and begin to nod their heads sympathetically, their expressions a mixture of understanding, sadness and anger. " Of course, I suppose I should have asked Mr. Creepy Customer Help-Guy where they were, but then he would have followed me around trying to make conversation for an hour! I want olives, I don't want to make a new friend!! And what's with the grocery carts full of discount wine and beer everywhere?! WE GET IT...you sell hooch! Oh, and how about that tacky seasonal aisle they added, with all that kitschy plastic junk that you used to have to go to Walmart to buy?? One day I look up and an entire wide aisle is devoted to crap that costs less than a dollar. Seriously, the next time there's snow in the forecast..to hell with it..I'm staying home!" As we got up to leave, teary-eyed customers stood and applauded, a scene worthy of a Frank Capra movie.

I thanked her for the interview and being willing to admit that she was the last hold-out, the last person in Short Pump to understand the complete community devastation that the arrival of Martin's has visited upon us. In the half-empty parking lot, she stood beside her Yukon Denali for a photograph. When I got back to the office I tried to reach an official at Martin's for  comment. No one in management agreed to be interviewed for this article, but an anonymous low level purchase agent did admit that the transition has been more difficult than company officials had expected saying only, "For what it's worth, we underestimated the bitchiness of our customers."

In a related item, officials at Bill's Barbecue, Pleasants Hardware, Ben Franklin, The White House of the Confederacy, the Coliseum, and each statue on Monument Avenue all have denied that they are the targets of hostile takeover bids by a consortium in New Jersey.