Folks, is a new grocery store really that exciting? A cynic’s take on HEB mania


A new HEB just opened in Frisco. Did you hear? Of course you have.

I don’t know which is more fascinating: the unabashed zeal surrounding the opening of HEB, or the grocer himself. At first, as a natural cynic, I wanted to poke fun at this – gently, of course. The first rule of opinion writing is to never scold your readers.

I wanted to portray my hubris like this: Really, you survived a pandemic and then got excited about a grocery store? For God’s sake, you can get an onion anywhere.

I thought if I pointed out to readers how much their nostalgia got the better of them, they might better understand themselves and their excitement. Whether it’s a new Dutch Bros., an In-N-Out, or a Buc-ee’s, who’s only been here a few years, I’ve noticed: Texans get excited when they find new points of sale. Just wait until residents of Fort Worth can flock to the new HEB planned for Mansfieldthe first in Tarrant County.

I wanted to show readers how crazy it seemed to stand in line waiting to get into a place where you normally have to pay 35% more for milk, thanks to inflation, and now, because you buy from HEB, you have to pay even more. Have you compared prices to Walmart or Kroger? I bet I could get a third more groceries at Walmart for the same amount spent at HEB.

Of course, he has a barbecue restaurant and his own brands, but so does everyone else.

A real question: Is there something missing in your life that makes you so passionate about a grocery chain? Do you need to focus on your child’s school play instead, or perhaps playing backgammon? Is there a deep void out there that you think you’ll fill by walking into a sparkling new grocery store?

Inside HE-B’s new location in Frisco, Texas on Tuesday, September 20, 2022.

Now that President Joe Biden pays off student loansmaybe consider that college degree you never completed, muster up the courage to ask that woman out on a date — now that you can’t blame COVID — or put on those shoes and just hit the gym.

I realize how pessimistic that sounds. Times are hard. Not difficult at WWII level, but tricky. Money is tight, even though gasoline prices have fallen. The pandemic crippled our economy and even though Texas was wide open, we still felt like we were swimming in a jar of COVID testing and quarantines.

Working from home, while it has many benefits, can feel like you spend every day walking from your desk to the fridge. Opening a can of Coke Zero, you’re embarrassed to remember that your 13-year-old self thought your adult self was going to change the world. Now you’re just wondering during your important 10 a.m. Zoom meeting if your neighbor has always mowed his lawn every week at this time.

After seeing the excitement around the new HEB, I realized that sometimes it’s the little things in life, during the really tough times, that keep us going. Sometimes an occasional Starbucks boosts your energy, even though it costs $6 for 12 ounces. Sometimes that unexpected hug from someone you love is the best thing you’ll feel all day.

Sometimes it’s knowing that even though the world felt like it had stopped for a few years, it didn’t: someone was planning to build something new, create more jobs and to offer you a shopping experience so warm and fuzzy, so pleasant and vibrant, that for a minute, you forget your problems.

Shopping at HEB will not fill a void in your life or give you a new hobby. It will not replenish your bank account or reduce your waistline.

But it could just be something fun to do with the people you love, to remind you that good food feeds your soul, that life will go on, and that we’ll find things to smile about no matter how bad things get. become difficult.

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