I normally shop at Wal-Mart for groceries, but they don't have one near where I am, so I went into Harris Teeter. It was like entering the first world. The signs were all painted in a functional yet pleasant colour scheme. The person at the deli counter volunteered to help me as soon as I came near, and actually seemed anxious to do so, unlike the reluctant Wal-Mart employees. Instead of the cheap and overprocessed meats found at Wal-Mart, Harris Teeter offered a delightful collection of succulent meats, complete with many prepared meals. There was a nice salad bar, a refrigerator with an array of international cheeses, and even an olive bar. (That one really struck me -- how many different kinds of olives does one really need?) The shopping aisles seem enormously long -- I'm not sure to what purpose, but it certainly looks like they have an intimidating stock of items. The cashiers not only ring up and bag your groceries, they take your cart on their side of the register and unload the items for you first.
I've been in stores like Harris Teeter before, but only when looking for particular items that I can't find in Wal-Mart (or whatever the local discount chain is). It's very seductive as a shopper, and I could easily get used to it. Of course, there is a price -- a literal price, in that everything is more expensive. Actually, quite a few items were reasonably priced; I imagine that a careful shopper could keep the weekly grocery bill within bounds. But what a temptation there is to buy the many premium and store-prepared items. I'm afraid my days of shopping at Harris Teeter are over, since I noticed a Food Lion not far from here. Perhaps someday I will have enough money to shop at upscale grocery stores and not think about the cost of food; for now, I feel like I'm throwing money away if I don't go for the least expensive option.