Forget the fact that closing the Safeway near Winco caused those customers without cars to now give their business to the most frustrating store in Eureka.
Forget the fact that last Sunday the music being piped through the store's PA was the theme from The Exorcist. At least that seemed fitting, though perhaps something from Goblin's Dawn of the Dead score would have been far more symbolic. After all, the shoppers wandering the aisles, mouths agape, looked much like the mall-roaming zombies in Romero's classic film.
No forget all that. That isn't why the new Safeway sucks. The reason it is such a stick in the eye is that it is a vast, vacuous beast that is a hideous looking as it is pointless.
Shoppers who frequent the Northcoast Co-Op and Eureka Natural Foods (ENF) will instantly recognize the new Safeway's decor. It screens "organic." It looks "healthy." It is supposed to remind you that the Fritos you are buying are somehow good for you. The Safeway Organics brand is meant to make consumers feel better about their purchases. Does it work? You tell me. I'm not buying it.
I've shopped at Safeway. I was there last week picking up habaneros for yet another potluck at work. I didn't have time to run to the Co-Op or ENF, so I ended up in Eureka's new slice of Hell. People seemed excited to be there ... and it was real excitement. Not just commercial fake excitement. That, too, is typical for Eureka. Throw anything new into the mix and people flock to it like perverts to a bukkake shoot. They all want to get a chance to get a little "happy." It's why when Jack in the Box first opened it took forty-five minutes just to get in the door. My experience in the Safeway was no different. Here were people discussing how great it was for Eureka to have a "real store." Erect and wet, I expected people to any moment start dry humping a bagel display. Nobody, it should be noted, seemed to be aware that the music overhead was from the movie where a young girl masturbated with a crucifix. (Really, who hasn't?) It was surreal. Guy Debord would merely have to nod in the general direction of the large wood (real or not -- I didn't feel) pillars outside the store's doors to get his point across.
According to my daughter, the Safeway in Eureka is set up much like the one in McKinleyville, which I have never visited. If it was, that does even less to explain Eureka's erotic fascination with the store. It isn't even that special if that is the case.
I probably won't be back to the new Safeway any time soon. I was never a huge Safeway shopper, as I found the items to be far too overpriced without the quality to back it up. If I want to pay high prices, I go to the Co-Op of ENF where I know the quality is good and worth what I'm paying. I'm sure the Safeway will do well enough without my dollars, though. Eureka has plenty of zombies with little else to do.