Friday, June 10, 2011

I survived the T&T Grand Opening in Richmond Hill

That day has finally arrived! I had known about a new T&T supermarket opening near us since the beginning of the year. With each passing month, the anticipation became more and more pronounced. After 2 delayed starts, The first T&T officially opened its doors in Richmond Hill at 10:30 am on a beautiful Friday morning.

Now, I had no intention of battling all the other stay-at-home parents, early retirees and senior citizens to grab at the chance to receive a $10 giftcard for being one of the first 100 patrons to step through the doors, but I was excited to check out the opening day experience anyways. Yes, I wanted to revel in the madness this opening day may bring. I guess I just have a little bit too much free time on my hands?

I admit, I had some mixed feelings about how this adventure might unfold, but I was up for it. My hubby was kind enough to give me a ride to the new T&T but when he saw how slow moving the traffic was along Yonge Street, he may have started having some regrets. There obviously wasn't going to be any parking available, so I asked to be dropped off at a nearby street to brave the crowd on my own and wished him luck in getting back home.

When I first made it into the parking lot, there was already a big crowd milling outside the entrance. As there were still 5 minutes before opening time, I thought I'd join the crowd and wait for the mad rush to begin. At 10:30 am, a few security guards came out and started to let a line of people through but it wasn't clear whether the crowd in front of me was allowed in or not. After 10 minutes of no movement in front of me, it dawned on me that the only way to get in was to join the line which snaked its way around the plaza. Since I got this far, I may as well join the line.

So I made my way to the back of the line. The line was moving at a pretty good clip until about 20 minutes in. At that point, the store must have reached its capacity and we had to wait for people to leave before more people were allowed in. So, about an hour later, I made it in!

Was I impressed? Somewhat. The crowd control was well handled and the store was well laid out. I didn't have to fight too much for the salmon steaks which were advertised for $3.99/lb. I hadn't seen that price in years!!!! It seemed that the longer line up was for the canner lobsters being sold for $3.99 each. Since I have no clue as to how to cook live lobster, I bypassed that line.

Knowing that I had to make my way back home without the use of a car, I knew I can only buy as much as I can carry back with my own 2 arms. So I picked up a few veggies along with my 4 salmon steak and off to the checkout I went. I spotted one checkout with a short line-up and figured it must be the express line even though there was no sign posted saying so. I took a chance and luckily for me the cashier said she'll take my items but she was suppose to only check out hot prepared food items. I knew she wouldn't turn me away because the person ahead of me had both hot food items and a stash of grocery items hidden in her old lady cart!

All in all, it was a good experience. Of course I was nowhere close to getting the $10 giftcard. I must have been more like the 1000th person in line! With 2 bags in hand, I made my way back home. It was a very doable walk of about 30 minutes or so. Probably faster than going by car because of the traffic jams. Will I go back again after spending 2-1/2 hours shopping on opening day? You bet I will! But maybe I'll wait until all the excitement has died down before venturing there again.

Yay, it's opening day at T&T in Richmond Hill. My life as I know it will forever change.

The traffic is moving awfully slow for this time of day. I'm pretty sure every single car ahead of us is headed for T&T.

Oh look, we must be getting close. A T&T delivery truck just passed us going the other way.

Yikes!!! Some cars are trying their luck getting in while others are lined up trying to leave!!!!

I was on the wrong side of the red tape :( However, I did notice a little chinese old lady had snuck underneath the red tape and made it in with no problems. Yes, being a l'il old lady does have its advantages.

See that crowd gathered just outside the doors. They ain't getting in that way. Nosiree.

If you want in, you're gonna have to go to end of the line disappearing around the corner of the plaza.

Here I am, stuck behind a long queue. Ordinally, I don't do this sort of thing. In fact, most times I try to avoid line-ups and unruly crowds. But what the heck, it was a beautiful day and I had nothing else better to do and hey, it's T&T!!!

The line was moving fairly briskly at this point...

but by the time I reached Friends, a Persian restaurant right next door to T&T, the line had come to a standstill. While stuck standing there, just mere steps away from the supermarket, a friendly lady started passing out flyers for her diner. She must be thinking, this is my lucky day.

Check out the back of the flyer. Billy Dancing???? maybe they mean Belly Dancing??? And what's with the Weston Produce Plaza. Shouldn't it be the T&T Plaza now? Well, looks like someone's gonna have to make a trip back to the printers to make some changes.

Inside at last! Here's a nice display at the fish section.

The bakery section looks sooooooo yummy, but I wasn't allowed to take any more pictures. You'd think that T&T would be happy that people are freely advsertising for them. Well, I'll be back!!!