One of the first questions I got asked when I moved here was, "Have you been to a Meijer yet?" Which is pretty odd. Who asks you, almost immediately, if you've been to a grocery store?

My brother moved to Ohio a number of years ago, and he kept talking about "Meijer" like it was some amusement park he'd visit every week.

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SO, after a few days in town, I made my inaugural trip, and WHY ARE THESE NOT NATIONWIDE!?!?!?

It's part Walmart, part Kroger, part Hobby Lobby, and part... whatever else you could really think of, but BETTER. The one I went to was under some renovations, so it didn't even feel like it was at its full potential, but still just a cavernous world full of literally everything I could need!

When I walked in the door, a greeter welcomed me with, "Welcome to Meijer, hope you have a great visit," versus the Walmart greeters who's looks alone suggest, "Welcome to Walmart, I wish you hadn't come here." (Not all Walmarts, but certainly the one I frequented back home.)

At the moment, I'm still staying in a hotel while I find a more permanent place to live, so my needs at Meijer are fairly limited. BUT, that didn't stop me from doing a full lap of the place. If I need to update my wardrobe (which I definitely will when it REALLY turns winter up here), I've got more options for clothes than Walmart ever had. The Meijer-brand food is better than what I grew up on with Kroger and "Great Value" in Walmart, AND, they carry local brews. I can get my micro-brew on with a grocery store visit, instead of fighting the crowds on a busy night at the local breweries (though, I'm not opposed to it, sometimes you're just in a hurry).

When I DO eventually find a place to live, there's a whole housing section of everything I need to make it feel like home. And not just the "Live, Laugh, Love" basic white girl decorating stuff. Full on NERD stuff for people like me! Comic book character decorations and bar signs. Even the stock photos used for the frames were cooler than "generic family No. 7" you'd find in a Walmart frame. I wouldn't even change some of them if I bought the frame. It's cooler than what I was gonna put in there anyway.

Now for those from my homeland of Kansas that might be reading this... sounds an awful lot like a Super Walmart, right? Nah. There's seriously something different about a Meijer. And THIS chain, NOT Walmart, should be the American standard.

I was so overtaken by its magnitude, I forgot to pick up a couple of items (or maybe I did it on purpose as an excuse to go back after work today).

Even when I was screwing up the self-checkout (I promise I wasn't trying to steal those chips), all the employees were super nice. The lady fixing the machine could tell I was from out of town (I guess I have an accent?), and wanted to know all about me while she was fixing my error.

Seriously, I don't know why the rest of the country decided "Walmart" was the best way to go. Meijer is older, and already had a couple dozen locations before Walmart even opened its first store. In its modern feel, they're both EXACTLY the same age, and will turn 60 this year.

The only "upside" I can see to Walmart, is there is absolutely no dress code. Meijer still felt like a place where pants are at least a necessity. Meanwhile, I've been known to meander into a Walmart at 3 am in college wearing nothing but flip flops, boxers, and a tank top (summers in NW Oklahoma were pretty brutal during college).

So Meijer, I get the hype now, and from now on, any time someone comes to visit, that's the FIRST stop we're making... after one of the breweries of course.

MICHIGAN SUPERMARKETS: 1915-1960s