Monday, May 16, 2011

What Started As a Complaint But Turns Into a Rant

The perfect storm happened just as we arrived back in town from our trip to San Diego. The day prior to our arrival, the lone grocery store in town had shut it's doors for the last time and three days later, would open them up again in a shiny new and much bigger store just a few blocks down the road. So since our refrigerator was bare of essentials that must be replaced every so often, we were out of luck. My wife went off to our apartment in the urban jungle and my daughter and I started the work week by making meals from our pantry and freezer waiting for Tuesday when the store would open.

Tuesday rolled around and as I drove by the new store on my way to work, the parking lot was absolutely packed. Tuesday evening as I drove back the other way, cars were parked across the street in empty lots and people were hoofing it across three lanes of traffic with full shopping bags. It looked like a bee hive in reverse with worker bees headed in empty and hordes heading out loaded down with food. Deciding that I would rather gnaw on a frozen pork chop than deal with hordes of people sure to be gawking and taking their merry time, I kept on driving.

Wednesday was the same, Thursday was the same, and Friday was the same. I was beginning to get tired of looking into my pantry and freezer and having to decide what my next victim was. Plus, I was starting to crave some fresh milk, fruit and veggies. Saturday morning, we were up at the crack of dawn and made a dash to the new grocery store. Big whoop. The aisles were still narrow and though there were a few more of them, there wasn't a much bigger selection of foods. Sure, there were still chicken broth but now there were three brands to choose from instead of two and so it went as we went down the aisles.

After seven years of shopping, I pretty much knew where everything was so I could get in and out in under twenty minutes even when buying a full shopping cart worth of food. We maybe filled up only half a cart and it still took us almost an hour and I had to stop and ask for directions several times to see where they had stocked certain items. It is a nice store, and I suppose there will come a point where I'm glad for another brand to chose from on certain items and yes it was kind of handy having an attached liquor store so I could pick up a bottle of brandy for my famous beef stroganoff but then I could have done all that stuff at the old store.

When it comes to shopping, something I hate, I guess that I'm just against change. Bigger and newer is not always better. Usually it seems like it means just more of the same old cheap crap. Everyone that has been to the new store ahead of me raved about how nice it was but in the same breath said that they thought that the prices were high. Did they expect the new store to pay for the building and 100 additional employees by lowering prices? They are all drooling with the news that our old Walmart here in town is going to be replaced with one of those new Super Walmarts and is slated to open up late this fall. I don't shop at the old Walmart and I certainly won't shop at the new one so this one doesn't affect me. I'm sure the increased competition will bring down the prices at the new grocery store as everyone seems to want and instead of having one store doing relatively well for itself and paying its employees accordingly, we will have two stores in the throes of mediocrity with many hundred people being paid accordingly. Progress!

10 comments:

R. Sherman said...

You hint at one of the reasons I loathe Wal-Mart, to wit: they change the location of items every couple of weeks to make you walk all the aisles again in hopes you'll buy more. I hate games like that.

PhilippinesPhil said...

I would kill to have a walmart here, any kind of walmart, super or not. You want chintzy, overpriced crap, buy something, anything from any store in this country. There IS no consumer protection, and just try to take something faulty back to any store. Ha. There. There's your rant.

Eutychus2 said...

Nothing so healthy as a good hearty rant!! I love to hear them, they seem to justify my ramblings! ...keep em coming.

Vince said...

I'm with Phil. At one stage we had no supermarket at all. And the entire County was little more than a sheep to be fleeced by the local town. We were paying London prices. Think NYC prices in Iowa for Iowa produce and you're getting close.

Sage said...

I'm a lot like you--I hate shopping. When I moved here, we had two supermarkets (and a meat market that has a small grocery store). The owners of the one store brought out the other store--closed there store to rebuild it and then closed the older store so that we now have only one supermarket (plus walmart which I also avoid). There prices are high, their produce is quality isn't there, and I try to arrange shopping when I am in our neighboring big cities--or buy from the little Meat Market (that always sounds like a place for a college kid!).

Eutychus2 said...

But the little meat market, according to my good wife, has the best meat in the county!

Ed said...

R. Sherman - I hate games but I would ten times rather shop at a store that randomly selects product placement on a nightly basis than shop at Walmart. My pulse goes up whenever I have to type or write their name.

Phil - I can understand how Walmart would be better than essentially the nothing you have there now. I'm sure I would cave in if I lived there.

Eutychus2 - They make me feel better anyway!

Vince - I'm to the point in my life and successful enough that I would just as soon pay thrice what Walmart charges and get something that will last for a long long time. Since Walmart is essentially our only general supply store around, that means doing a lot of shopping online or arranging it around trips to places with more stores to choose from.

Sage - I generally like stores where the prices are high and there are other stores around them. Generally it means they get by with the high prices by competing on quality. However when they are high and the only game in town, you typically get it on both the wallet and quality fronts.

Eutychus2 - There is a meat market about 100 miles away called Western's Meat Market that I am a fan of but only pass by once every couple years. If only it were closer or on the way to someplace I more frequently go....

Frank D. Myers said...

HyVee here has taken this spring to just moving stuff for no apparent reason (other than a new manager). One advantage to shopping at home used to be at least you could find stuff without having to ask (after 10 minutes looking for light bulbs a couple of weeks ago, I finally was pointed into customer service where there had always been before just customer service). Selection's OK in our mid-size county seat town version, but could be better. The only additions to the buildings since day one have been a deli expansion, which improved seating but not the quality of the food, and a pharmacy, which put two pharmacies on the square out of business.

Vince said...

The main difference on this side of the Atlantic was the quality was crap either way.
A saying here ran 'for every 5' of counter you had the income of 200 acres' this was when that meant something. And there was very few shops with only 5'. Mostly they had between 30-40'.
And I know 200 acres isn't much over your way. But to give you some idea, up to three years ago an acre was getting 18-20,000 euro.

geri said...

I always try to avoid going to the grocery stores on the weekends and ideally would only go there on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. What would even be more ideal is going over there at 6am to an empty store. Luckily I am able to go there on weekday mornings before my volunteer job at 9am. I remember last year when our regular grocery store underwent renovation and they rearranged everything - that was really frustrating too. Crowds and not finding what you always buy? Yeah, I can feel your pain.