Back in the day (i.e. five years ago) before there was such a thing as Whole Foods, most New Yorkers conducted the majority of their food shopping at corner bodegas that smelled faintly (or not so faintly) of cat pee. The Korean woman behind the counter barked at you to hurry up and there was exactly one type of anything you could possibly need: One box of Kraft Macaroni ‘N Cheese. One cup of chicken flavor Ramin noodles. One bottle Clear Eyes saline solution (size small). One single roll of scratchy toilet paper.
Life was simple.
But once you move here you’ll quickly discover one of San Francisco’s true treasures…Safeway!
Like Disney World, Oz or Neverland Ranch, there is just something magical about Safeway. First off, they’re huge. It’s like walking into a happy magic food palace. Coming from a bodega on the lower east side, the selection is staggering! Their prices are great and you can get almost anything there, including wine and alcohol! Yes, in San Francisco (in all of California actually), you can buy a case of nice (even very nice!) Napa Cabernet and a 750ml of Patron at the grocery store!
But Safeway is more than just food (which, by the way, you can order online and have delivered), most of them also have a bank, coffee depot (often Starbucks or Peets), pharmacy, sell postage stamps, offer western union services and sell monthly Muni passes!
I have yet to see tourists clumped together working nervously through the produce section taking photos of organic arugula, but if I was a local tour guide it would definitely be on my list. It’s just that weird.