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The News Hole

Supermarket Sweep

Posted 2/8/2006

On Jan. 22, Dateline did an undercover investigation on the safety and health violations of 10 of the nation’s largest supermarket chains. Safeway, which has five stores in the city, came in at the top of Dateline’s list of stores that had the largest number of “critical” violations.

We decided to check out a couple of local Safeway branches in two different neighborhoods to see for ourselves what condition the stores were in. While neither made our skin crawl, it was clear that not all Safeway supermarkets are created equal.

Location: Canton store, 2610 Boston St.

Ambiance: Convenient location in the popular Can Company shopping area; well-lit with covered lighting fixtures to diffuse glare, clean, indoor and outdoor seating ideal for chatting up the hottie you met in the produce section.

Clientele: Live to work (and party—this is Canton, after all). You can’t shake a stick in this store without hitting a young urban professional square in the head—nor are you likely to turn a corner in the parking lot without coming nose-to-nose with an SUV.

Amenities: In-store Starbucks so you can get your caffeine fix while you look for capers; shopping carts equipped with plastic child-safety seats and car-shaped attachments for the kiddies to ride in; dry cleaning on-site, too.

Produce/Specialty: Wide variety of well-stocked fruits and vegetables, an abundance of organic items, all-natural meats, a florist, and fresh-baked goods.

Miscellaneous: Open 5 a.m.-Midnight with 14 check out aisles, including four express lanes.

Conclusion: Safeway knows that people with means will head to the counties rather than shop at an inferior supermarket.

Location: Lower Charles Village, 2401 N. Charles St.

Ambiance: Both the inside and outside could use a good scrubbing. Wouldn’t hurt to pick up some of the trash strewn outside in the parking lot, either. Pretty obvious security cameras mounted on ceilings throughout the store. Exposed bulbs in lighting fixtures shed inconsistent light throughout store.

Clientele: Work to live-a diverse mix of Baltimoreans who are more likely to be hoofing it, busing it, or cabbing it than driving Ford Explorers.

Amenities: One handicapped-accessible, co-ed bathroom stall with a cleaning lot that indicated that it was cleaned approximately every hour . . . on the previous day. Also offers small selection of floral arrangements. Shopping carts available, but are equipped with security devices that make it impossible for you to wheel them past the parking lot’s perimeter.

Produce/Specialty: Produce section poorly provisioned and cluttered with empty boxes, stems, leaves, and other items litter the floor. Watch you don’t trip on the turned-up carpet near the lettuces.

Miscellaneous: Open 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. with nine check-out aisles, including two express lanes.

Conclusion: Safeway knows a captive audience when it sees one.

Press Release of the Week

“Baltimore Mayer Martini O’Malley Receives a Gift . . .

To celebrate being named America’s Fittest Cities by Men’s Fitness Magazine, Baltimore Mayor, Martini O’Malley received a shipment from BACARDI of their newest spirit Island Breeze. Just one serving of Island breeze has 48 calories, half that or traditional spirits and wine.

Cheers to you Baltimore!”

Press release courtesy the Baddish Group


The Morgue: Chronicles of Old Baltimore

The slots battle, 160 years ago this week

To the Honorable The General Assembly of Maryland: The memorial of the subscribers, citizens of Baltimore, respectfully states, that with many of the fellow citizens they have long deplored the existence of the Lottery System as authorized by our Laws, and have on several occasions, in earnest appeals to the Legislature, deprecated the continuance of the system. Such appeals must naturally come from large cities, where the evils arising from this prolific source are most felt, and are daily more and more impressed upon all reflecting persons.

Source: The American & Commercial Daily Advertiser, Feb. 14, 1846

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