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Oak Harbor Albertsons offers alternative 'Meet Market' for Valentine's Day

Zach Badaouie plants a sweet peck on the somewhat-dubious Lydia Vaugh at Albertsons’ singles night last Thursday. The kids lightened up the atmosphere and showed the adults that affection can blossom in the “Meet Market.” - Jenny Manning/Whidbey News-Times
Zach Badaouie plants a sweet peck on the somewhat-dubious Lydia Vaugh at Albertsons’ singles night last Thursday. The kids lightened up the atmosphere and showed the adults that affection can blossom in the “Meet Market.”
— image credit: Jenny Manning/Whidbey News-Times

What’s a lonely guy or gal to do with Valentine’s Day near and no one to share it with?

Oak Harbor’s singles are familiar with the meat markets in town: the happy hour specials, mechanical bull riding, Jell-O wrestling ... and the scene deteriorates from there.

Now there’s a new kind of “Meet Market” in town, at Albertsons. Yes, the supermarket.

Instead of perusing the same old meat counters, lonely hearts can shop for a prime date, a top loin and bottle of red in a well-lit, sober atmosphere where “what you see is what you get.”

No “beer goggle” effect here.

Last Thursday, less than two weeks before Valentine’s Day, the supermarket “Meet Market” made its debut, which surprised a few unsuspecting shoppers, including Oak Harbor resident Ed Everett who stopped in for some cupboard basics and left with a free pizza compliments of the “Prize Patrol.”

The event encompassed all ages from 7-year-old puppy-love pals, Zach Badaouie and Lydia Vaugh, to those in their peak-dating twenties and on through the sultry senior retirees. Albertsons’ store manager Bob Drennon estimates about 30 singles turned out for the “Meet Market.”

Instead of free drinks or hard-to-pass well specials, Albertsons’ “Prize Patrol” called out a number every 15 minutes. Whoever was closest to the number, which was taped on the floor around the supermarket, won a prize.

Other winners received chicken dinner meals, french bread and other goodies.

The butcher shop, bakery and deli each boasted a table with appetizers and drinks to get the conversation going. If the munchies and mock-tails didn’t spark some chit-chat, each shopper who collected the phone numbers of five other store patrons received $5 off any purchase of $25 or more.

Turnout was a little lean at the kickoff event, said Drennon, who anticipates that more people will show up this Thursday, Feb. 11.

If anything, Drennon hopes the event might help a few singles forge a few new friendships.

“It’s just something cute, different and fun,” he said.

And it just might be the kind of place to find your Valentine.

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