Stock up on love in aisle three

Singles Night at Safeway is an accidental phenomenon

Nicholas Luchak

When Lukas Frank created a simple Facebook event, he did it on a whim. Little did he suspect that it might lead to love for many a Winnipegger.

“My friend Alonso [Morales] was about to go grocery shopping,” Frank explains. “He said it would be great if there were a lot of single people at Safeway while he shopped. So I made an event.”

That event, titled Singles Night at Safeway, has become a social-media phenomenon. The unofficial dating meet-up, happening March 3 at the River Ave. Safeway, is based on a simple premise: if you want to meet other singles, show up at 7 p.m. at Safeway. Tie a shopping bag around the handle of your cart or basket to identify yourself as a participant. Then, go forth and mingle. At the time of this writing, over 900 people have identified themselves as “going” to the Facebook event.

“I hope it’ll be a fun time,” Frank says. “Afterwards, we’ll be heading over to The Toad in the Hole for drinks. I just think it’s a hilarious idea, and everyone seems on board with the silliness.”

Thor Blondal, one of the people planning to attend, discovered the event early on and was surprised to see it grow in popularity.

“I didn’t really think it would become an actual thing until about a hundred people joined,” Blondal admits. “I don’t really expect to meet any girls there. I expect to have a few laughs. But hey, if I find ‘the one’ in the cereal aisle, that’s just gravy.”

Karlee Liljegren, another potential attendee, says she’s intrigued by the premise, but may not follow through on it.

“It’s hard to really meet someone at a bar or a show where people are generally drunk,” Liljegren says. “This is just a different scenario that’s meant to be a laid-back, no-pressure night to meet some interesting people.”

Kelley Robinson, a University of Winnipeg psychology faculty member with expertise in dating and relationships, says the novelty of the event actually creates an atmosphere that’s very conducive to meeting new people.

“You go grocery shopping all the time and you suspect that some people there might be single,” Robinson says. “Maybe you’re attracted to them, but it’s hard to approach someone with intention to get to know them in that scenario. It doesn’t happen very often and some people get scared off by that. This is creating a context where it’s okay to initiate conversation and ask someone on a date.”

Robinson says the popularity of the event is indicative of a need for a broader singles culture in Winnipeg.

“It’s exciting seeing a community of singles identify themselves. Our culture is very couples-focused. Singles are often invisible in that. I think it’s great that singles can get together, claim their own event, make it what they want to be. The fact that so many people responded to this is a testament to the fact that Winnipeg needs more events like this.”

Safeway did not respond to The Uniter’s request for comment.

Participants are also encouraged to bring or buy a non-perishable food item for the Winnipeg Harvest bin.

Published in Volume 69, Number 22 of The Uniter (February 25, 2015)

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