For as long as there have been supermarkets, there has been the possibility of love. Making eyes over the mangoes in produce, flirting among the flank steaks at the meat case. Which way to the green M&M’s? The supermarket is fraught with romance.
Wal-Mart’s Asda chain in Great Britain just launched its own dating website in conjunction with UKDating, one of the country’s most popular online destinations for those seeking love. However, where regular sites might ask about hobbies, Asdadating.com matches potential partners based on their shopping preferences.
Asda officials say they were inspired to create the service after they viewed the results of a shopper poll showing that 71% of men and 64% of women are open to meeting someone of the opposite sex while they go about their food shopping. What’s more, another 41% admitted to looking into the shopping baskets of others in an effort to determine their marital status.
“You can get your weekly shop done while chatting to fellow Asda shoppers who take your fancy,” an Asda spokeswoman told Business Review Europe. “With over 18 million shoppers visiting Asda each week, we realized this is an unmissable opportunity to help set up a few dates.”
Food stores in the United States have their potential, too. Some have long enjoyed a reputation as a meeting place for singles. Whole Foods Market seems to attract most of the attention, though plenty of independent stores are themselves hot spots.
“For five years running, or more, Alfalfa’s was named the place to meet your soul mate in Boulder, by the local press,” recalls Mark Retzloff, a co-founder of the original Alfalfa’s Market in Boulder, Colo., who recently reopened the store with some of his old partners.
“There were a number of people who met their spouses in the store,” he said. “However, I can’t vouch if they’re still with them.”
A number of enterprising retailers are taking a more sophisticated approach. Take Harmons Grocery Stores, for example. The Salt Lake Tribune notes that the 13-unit independent will feature Friday Date Nights at its new store in Farmington, Utah.
For $70, couples can sit and listen to live music or watch the flames dance in the fireplace on the second-floor dining area, while Harmons chefs serve up a multi-course menu of starters like wild mushroom fricassee salad and cream of asparagus soup, an entree and sides of stuffed chicken, potato latkes and patty pan squash, and all finished with a dessert of “trilayer” mousse.
Every supermarket wants to offer all the right products to their faithful customers. But only a few retailers can call themselves matchmakers in the truest sense.