by Jim Harris

According to the Weavers Way website, “After 30 years of wear and tear, and almost 4 million shoppers (we didn’t actually count—but it’s close) we are renovating our Mt. Airy store to provide our members with some much overdue improvements … This summer’s planned Mt. Airy renovation will involve temporarily closing the doors at 559 Carpenter Lane, but Weavers Way will be open for business at Greene St. and Carpenter Lane throughout the summer … “We have known all along that a renovation of this magnitude would require a store closure, which is one of the reasons it was deemed necessary to wait until after we had a second store where our members and others could shop in the meantime. We had expected we would need to wait three or four years after opening our Chestnut Hill store before we had the funds necessary to take on this renovation, so we are very pleased and excited to be doing it so soon … ”

I have managed to obtain a copy of the top-secret plans to renovate Weavers Way co-op in Mt. Airy. This was supplied to me by an undercover operative known only as “Captain Jack” in return for a cashiers check in the amount of $17.95. I don’t normally like to pay for information; it’s much easier to just make stuff up, but this story is so compelling I felt it was worth the price.

Perusing the blueprints, I immediately noticed that gourd-shaped passenger gondolas will run throughout the store on rails. Pure genius. Not only will this keep customers from bumping into each other in the narrow aisles, it will streamline the whole operation. And with the addition of Hollywood-style sets and special effects, the shopping experience promises to become an adventure so exciting that it will make other grocery stores pale by comparison.

In the newly-renovated store, customers will be able to grab a gob of Gruyere from the Victorian Cheese Carousel, snatch some sauerkraut while whizzing through the Fermented Forest or pick a pod of peas in the Land of Legumes. The basement will be converted into a medieval wine cellar complete with chanting monks, and the second floor will be a fully working farm with live barnyard animals.

In addition, colorful costumed characters, including Mr. Peanut, Mr. Potatohead, The Jolly Green Giant and Chiquita Banana will roam throughout the store, giving out free samples and offering tips on organic gardening. The original California Raisins will sing, dance and slice meat behind the deli counter, and a Euell Gibbons impersonator will give hourly lectures on “How to survive in the wilderness by eating nuts and berries.”

Those offenders who flunk the exam given on the content of those lectures will be tied to a spice rack in the Chestnut Hill Weavers Way and flogged with parsley until they take the test again and pass it.

What I discovered next was even more frightening. Apparently the entire building will be able to detach from its foundation and move about on treads like a huge military tank. It will have a 4,000-horsepower turbine engine that runs on vegetable oil, and as far as I can tell, the structure will also be seaworthy.

I estimate that such a ship could carry enough food and fuel to keep a crew of 50 at sea for over a year. Add to this the fact that there are onboard cannons and giant battering rams fore and aft, and you have to wonder if the Co-op’s plans for expansion might be even more ambitious than anyone had imagined. But on a positive note, the new setup will create dozens of additional jobs, including stevedores, galley slaves, beekeepers and skilled swordsmen.

A word of warning: you may have seen entirely different representations of these proposed renovations in other newspapers — boring, innocuous changes like “wider shelving” or “energy efficient lighting.” Captain Jack assures me that this is deliberate misinformation being disseminated to lull the other “healthy food” stores into a sense of false security.

Most people probably think of the hippie-like Weavers Way way of doing things — trusting each other and all that — as being as guileless as a biology classroom skeleton, but Captain Jack assures me there are plans in the works that are not so innocent. For example, he says they will be selling prison soap, pre-chewed baby food, a liquid vitamin that makes men’s hearts glow in the dark, a new mortician service whose slogan is “Let us urn your business,” having a pet acupuncturist who specializes in treating porcupines, making keys for doors that have no locks and offering classes in a new language currently spoken only by 1,000 people in India. It’s called “Tech Support.”