Monthly Archives: May 2002

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An even better cafeteria experience is the Hats Off Cafe. This is another one of those hidden gems you're not going to find by happenstance.

This is the cafeteria in the building where I work. While I disagree with Willamette Week about the building (they think any federal dollar spent is wasted), I wholeheartedly agree about the cafeteria. The new cook is the best we've ever had. Why we have a highly-trained chef that gives us such scrumptious meals must be sheer luck. Take advantage of it.

Had a smashing time at the first ever Portland Bloggers get together. It's a very small group right now (nine members), but five of them showed! Anyone who has ever run a group like this knows that's a miracle, and all praise be to Jenn at Illusionare for pulling off such a comfortable gathering. Next time we'll have to choose someplace that's open later, since Peet's Coffee closed and kicked our sorry asses to the street.

So who did I meet? Jenn of course. And Nick, who has been to and done all the things the rest of us want to; Angie, who reminds me of someone but I can't put my finger on it; and Christopher, whose eyes light up when he discusses the magical thing that is The Web.

We talked about sites we all knew, sites we all should know, absent Portlanders, and great gatherings of the webbly masses.

The basic discovery of the evening: I really like my fellow Portland webheads.

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When Webvan bit the pavement, I cried and cried. I had just moved downtown to someplace where it's a pain to get groceries. Sure, developers will happily put in apartments and convert lofts, but will they put in a grocery store? NoooOOOOooo. So until recently, I ate a lot of pizza.

Now I can not only get my groceries delivered via a website, I have a choice. Safeway and Albertson's have both gone online.

I recently took a delivery from Safeway. They had a few substitutions, and I wasn't all that impressed with the driver. Webvan spoiled me with their friendliness and professionalism. Still, very tolerable. I was happy to have groceries.

Comparing interfaces, I'd have to say I prefer Albertson's. They have taken the time to put up product thumbnails and complete descriptions. Safeway gives you a generic icon and abbreviations. Searching is equally efficient on either site, though Albertson's scheme is faster. Both searches are intuitive and easy to use.

But what about products and prices? For most items, Albertson's has the better selection by far. Some examples:

Donuts--Safeway has 14 (you have to count them), mostly national brands. Alby's has 24 (they tell you at the top of the list), mostly from their in-store bakery.

Condoms--Safeway has a lousy 4. Alby's has 15. We know where their priorities are.

Finally the kicker: Orange Juice--Safeway has 2 choices of non-frozen OJ. They didn't have my brand, but I ordered anyway and got something undrinkable. I'm kicking myself looking at Albertson's, which has 41 delicious juicy items to choose from. 41. Day-um.

Prices are about the same. Over all Albertson's may be a few cents more expensive. They both charge $9.95 for delivery.

Obviously, my next delivery will come from Albertson's. They got in about a month after Safeway, and may have missed some business. They are certainly making up for it with a nice interface and great selection.