I always feel uncomfortable admitting I shop at Spag’s 19, for two reasons. The first reason is that I worry about that “you’re betraying the memory of the real Spag’s” look I’ll get; the second is the general ick factor of shopping at Building 19. (Though — I have to confess — if you remember the Cheapo Depot in Leicester, shopping at Building 19 is like going to Nordstrom’s. My Cheap Yankee friend always used to joke that he wouldn’t be surprised if we read about a truck carrying a load of salsa having a spill and then saw jars of salsa with the label “May contain shards of glass” at the Cheapo Depot the following week.)
Yes, that’s Jerry’s cartoon head pasted over the Spag’s trademark cowboy hat. Also, they couldn’t quite get the red of the “19” to match the red of the “Spag’s.”
I have to say, though, that the grocery section at Spag’s 19 is not half bad.
Look how well organized items are:
I mean, it almost would look like a semi-real supermarket if it weren’t for:
Yes, those boxes! You never know when you’ll find your favorite discontinued shampoo, or how far you’ll have to wade in bags of Swedish fish that have been partially used and re-sealed with packing tape, or boxes of Dimetapp that have had some leakage, in order to find some rare jewel.
And then, when you finally find that jewel, you say, “Gee, I wonder what this is doing at Building 19! It looks so — normal!” And then you find that it’s way past its expiration date. Or has a really unfortunate chip:
It’s also really embarrassing to say that you shop for shoes at Building 19. I mean, that’s where all my shoes come from, but whenever someone asks me, I always say, “DSW,” unless I feel I can really trust them, and then I say, “Building 19, actually!” in a hushed tone, while they back away slowly, making one of those signs to ward off the evil eye.
But, really, look at the shoes:
And the boots:
I saw some Ryka sneakers that looked really good as I was walking out, but I didn’t take pictures. One of the things about shopping for shoes at Building 19 — at least in my huge shoe size — is that half of the shoes are of the orthopedic variety, and they start to look more and more appealing. I can hardly wait until I’m 75 and can finally start to wear them without fear of embarrassing myself.
There are really two reasons we shop regularly at Spag’s 19. One is the peanut butter:
Yes, they still grind peanuts, Spag’s style, at the Spag’s 19, and you can get really nice all-natural peanut butter for the price of Skippy. Also, the flat bread which you can kind of see next to the peanut butter is quite good.
We are also obsessive book readers, so we always look for books. Sometimes, you get to see the trends of celebrities who decide to try their hand at writing books for children:
I always like seeing the really odd stuff. Like cards with quotes from Thomas Edison (“Genius is one per cent inspiration, ninety-nine per cent perspiration.”) with a picture of someone who looks suspiciously like Emily Dickinson. (And, yes, that was my requisite Mount Holyoke College shout-out for the month.)
And sometimes you think about something or someone you haven’t thought about in years…like Lambchop:
I always have to leave before I get complete Building 19 overload:
We tend not to buy a lot on any given trip:
But I think we got some nice stuff: a bottle of ginger beer, some facial cleanser I like, some really heavy duty dandruff shampoo at a great price, a couple of packages of three-ring binder dividers, and some nice books (Dear Diary by the totally awesome Sara Fanelli, which I found in one of those bins you never think anything good will be in, and for only two bucks; Voices from Colonial America: New Hampshire; and The Farewell Symphony, for the classical fan in our house).
And no trip to Spag’s 19 would be complete without a trip past the Haunted House:
Oh, my goodness, my elder son could write a novel about all the spooky happenings he imagines go on there. And in the good weather, there’s usually some heavy equipment (front-end loaders, excavators, etc.) parked near that house and then the kids can get really filthy rubbing up against all manner of construction equipment. Spag’s 19: fun for the whole family! (Even more fun if you bring hand sanitizer and a package of diaper wipes!)
(I’ll probably do a separate post on the Grafton Street Building 19, because that’s a place I avoided for a long time because I always felt the need to shower after coming out of it.)
Spag’s 19 is only open on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays.