If you think we’re a little behind the times out here in Bellevue, don’t blame us. Blame our retailers.
try to decide between salads at Panera, we’re stuck choosing between the No. 1 and the No. 7 at McDonald’s. Your date night might include specialty martinis at Virago; on our nights out, we hope to God it’s two-for-one draft night at Jonathan’s. You parade through the office in the latest Green Hills boutique fashions. We’re left hiding behind the ficus in our last-call looks from Bellevue Mall.
I regularly convince my family to ditch Bellevue in favor of shopping in trendier neighborhoods, but it’s not as easy as it sounds. Because while you can take the Ferriers out of Bellevue, you can’t take Bellevue out of the Ferriers.
Just ask the folks at the The Fresh Market.
With its piped-in classical music and imported gourmet delicacies, Brentwood’s Fresh Market is designed to make food snobs—hell, even regular
snobs—feel right at home. If its parking lot could be gated to allow through the doors only those with an income of at least six digits, I’m pretty sure that’s how it would be. Instead, it’s up to the patrons to make the less desirable feel unwelcome. And they’re doing a great job.
We Ferriers might as well have shown up in the back of a pickup truck filled with hay bales for all the stunned looks we got from shoppers upon our arrival. In Bellevue, my halter-top and flip-flops would’ve fit right in, but at The Fresh Market, I stuck out like an unmanicured thumb. My husband, wearing his favorite Three Stooges T-shirt, wasn’t doing much better. As he disappeared with my stepdaughters down the escargot aisle, I stood frozen, clutching our wiggly 2-year-old and not knowing whether to brave the stares or flee back through the automatic doors.
“Hey! They got yellow watermelons here!” I heard my husband guffaw over by the produce section. Resolutely, I headed in the opposite direction.
And that’s when I saw him
being Vince Gill. The self-proclaimed Ambassador of Country Music was examining the antipasto like it was Tanya Tucker’s secret diary. I hiked Baby up on my hip and walked toward him, not because I was going to say
anything. I just wanted a closer look at his prodigious talent.
Oddly for a Saturday, Vince was dressed in a sport coat and an…an…ascot. Vince Gill—
an ascot man?
I gasped, and he looked up at me. Whew. It wasn’t Vince Gill at all. This man was just some country club look-alike. I started to smile in relief, but my grin froze when I noticed his lip curling. He looked me up and down, and then grimaced
before stalking past me.
Un-be-friggin-lievable. I had gotten a grimace
from a Vince Gill wannabe in an ascot
. Could this shopping experience get any worse?
I think you know the answer.
Dismally, I skulked into the bakery, determined to pick up at least a loaf of garlic bread. And wouldn’t you know it, Lilly Pulitzer’s No. 1 customer (and quite possibly her oldest) was standing in my way, alongside a cart laden with groceries.
“Excuse me,” I said.
me,” I said again, louder.
Gently, I moved her cart over a few feet.
The woman whipped her lacquered head around and clutched at her bony chest.
“Well!” she exclaimed.
, your cart was in the way,” I replied. Gah!
I grabbed my bread and headed for the beer aisle. Hubs was already there, of course.
“I looked, but they don’t have any Bartles & Jaymes,” he said, disappointed. As he shuffled up behind me, I heard a crash and felt something splash my feet. Hubs had knocked a large bottle of French sparkling water off the floor display. Glass was everywhere and my shoes were soaking wet.
“Oooooh!” Baby squealed. “Is a messy mess! Look! A messy mess!”
“Hush!” I hissed. “Hubs, what are we going to do?”
“Umm…” he whispered uneasily, looking around for an employee. “Let’s run.”
We quickly made our wet-foot-printed way to the registers to pay for the goods, praying that no one would discover the disaster we’d left in our country-ass wake. We couldn’t get to the car fast enough.
As Hubs backed quickly out of our parking space, he rolled up on the curb and over a good chunk of Fresh Market landscaping. We all squealed in response.
“Dad!” the girls yelled from the backseat. “What’s your problem?”
“Girls,” I said, turning back to look at them. “This is what happens when Bellevue comes to Brentwood.”
Read more Suburban Turmoil at www.suburbanturmoil.blogspot.com or on the
Scene’s blog at www.pithinthewind.com.