I don’t shop at Balducci’s often. It’s too expensive for my pocketbook. But when a special occasion arises and I’m in need of quail eggs or Iranian Sevruga caviar or a 12-year-old aged balsamic vinegar, I’m happy to direct my attention—and my vehicle—toward the Bethesda location. The staff is always knowledgeable, even down to what kind of wine pairs well with truffled deviled quail eggs topped with caviar.
But last weekend, when another special occasion arose (see Thursday’s Young & Hungry for the occasion), I was reminded why I don’t always like shopping there: I hate rich people. Now, I hate to generalize. I know some rich people; not all of them want to build walls around themselves to keep out the swarthy immigrants (except of course for the swarthy immigrants who care for their kids). And yet many of the people who shop here act as if I’ve scaled their walls, swam across their moats, sedated their guard dogs, and have started to raid their personal pantries.
How do I know they’re rich? As my wife, Carrie, notices: “People go to Balducci’s dressed like I would to go to the Kennedy Center.” And that’s just the middle-aged ones; the younger shoppers look like they’re modeling for a fashion shoot right in the store. But whatever their age, they’re often rude. One blond woman, slinked out in some revealing silky top, buzzed by me with her cart, rammed my shoulder, and couldn’t muster enough kindness to face me and utter an apology. Another woman, this one in a cream-colored suit with gold jewelry, pushed our cart out of the way to slip past and then, as Carrie noted, “sort of glared icily” at her.
So am I a classist? Or maybe you’ve had rude experiences at the Bethesda Balducci’s, too?