As you’ve probably heard, it’s a fast-paced world out there. So when we came up with the category Best Place To Run In For Milk, we pictured, in addition to actual running, a stopwatch. Granted, there may have been other considerations on readers’ minds when they voted for winner Harris Teeter, such as the pristine atmosphere, or cashiers who can utter the phrase “Do you have a VIC card?” without sounding deeply depressed. But figuring that the predominant factor had to be the abundance of fast-moving checkout lines, we were itching to find out precisely how much time it takes to get out of the store after grabbing some milk—as well as get from the parking lot to the dairy section, of course.
To add even more spice to the project, C-VILLE sent not one, not two, but three one-man teams—Will Goldsmith, Jayson Whitehead and yours truly, accompanied by our trusty timekeeper, Caite White—to the Harris Teeter at the Barracks Road Shopping Center on a Thursday afternoon in July to get three results. And also, just for fun, to see who could get back to the car the fastest, though wagering was strictly forbidden.
Here are our times:
Yours Truly: 4 minutes and 25 seconds
Jayson: 4 minutes and 26 seconds
Will: 4 minutes and 55 seconds
A few things should be made clear: 1) How the category is phrased notwithstanding, we agreed beforehand that there would be no running. I personally didn’t want to get chewed out by a store security guard, but beyond that, the idea was to simulate an ordinary experience. And 2) Both Jayson and Will used the self-checkout lane, which, in Jayson’s case, made little difference, but in Will’s case perhaps—ironically if you believe machines have made our lives more efficient—led to his pathetic last place finish.
But overall, if three people can simultaneously “run” in for milk in under five minutes, then it’s as clear as spring water why Harris Teeter has carved out a place in the minds of Charlottesville grocery shoppers.