supermarket frustration

Where we live, there are a number of supermarkets, large and small.  I live just a few blocks from one of the largest, which is where I usually shop.  They have the lowest prices in town and very good sales, and I can buy coupons that are only valid at their store in the Sunday paper.  Generally speaking, I love this supermarket, because I can walk there, and they have a good selection.  It’s a massive international chain, with stores all over the world.  Ours is medium sized, not huge but definitely adequate for this city of 66,000.

When they have food, that is.

They haven’t had eggs for weeks.  Chickpeas haven’t been available since we moved here in July 2011.  The little label for them is there, in at least three different brands, but the chickpeas are missing.  Same with the eggs.  Yesterday when I went, they didn’t have a single package of plain old sugar.  There was only one kilogram of all purpose flour!  And I’m not talking about a particular brand – I mean they didn’t have any brand of these items.  And yesterday they had almost no toilet paper.

If you want to talk about the inexpensive store brand, it gets much worse.  They frequently don’t have their own milk, yogurt, dishwasher soap, and many more.  I’ve only seen their brand of ‘Swiffer-style’ cloths once.  I love their store brand – it’s very cheap compared to the name brands, the quality is just fine, and they have a remarkably wide selection of products, when they are able to keep them in stock.

We’re supposed to be in the middle of a deep economic crisis.  People supposedly don’t have money. So what is going on?

I’ve stood in line behind enough people over the last months to realize that most people that shop at our store have switched over to buying the store brand, but that doesn’t explain the absence of the basics in every brand.  I can’t explain it.  Maybe people are stocking up on basic goods because they are worried about their ability to buy them in the future (I fall into this category myself).  But none of these things explains the chickpea shortage.  I visit the supermarket several days/week since last July, and there have never been chickpeas.

Why is our supermarket failing to stock basic food items that are never, ever reaching expiration date on the shelves?  If they purchased more of these goods, they would sell.  Why not do it and collect the profit?  I don’t get it… and I also don’t get chickpeas and eggs 😦


4 thoughts on “supermarket frustration

    • Amber, that’s a good point about the farmers’ market. They do sell eggs at the farmers’ market. However, it is not so simple. It’s too far too walk, and my lack of a Greek driver’s license means S. has to drive. It’s also Saturday morning. S. does not get up early on Saturday morning. The eggs are mostly sold out by 8am. So … it’s pretty hard to manage. And they are more expensive, as well. The dried chickpea issue is extremely frustrating…. And today, once again, there was NO MILK. Argh.

  1. I don’t want to laugh, but there you are with the same kind of issues we have going on here all the time too! (Walmart in a Colorado mountain city of 60,000 including the rural area surrounding). I’m raising my own chickens how, but that’s my only stopgap against hard times even though I am ready to admit that I really can’t count on the stores anymore for what to expect to be there even in stable times like now. Toilet paper and salt are the two things I would hoard as soon as any inkling of something worse – ‘instability’ for instance- was in the air.
    Could you ride a bike to the Farmer’s Market?
    It’s really hard not to romanticize life in Greece even with everything falling apart there right now, and I cannot imagine how you are NOT panicking for basic supplies, even though it’s been a rough few years already and you feel kind of used to it. (I am sure all the chickpeas are being sold overseas where they get more for them! That’s what I read is happening with medicine shortages there.
    I wonder, could you order chickpea seeds and get a couple of plants going there?

    • hi illoura 🙂 I could probably ride a bike to the FM, though I don’t have one, because this city is reallllly not bike friendly. We’ve lived here since July and I’ve never seen a single soul risk his life on a bicycle.

      I’m definitely not panicking. Panic is for people who have not prepared. I’ve been stockpiling since the day we moved into our apartment (I had a stockpile in our previous home as well). Food security gives you a great deal of peace of mind.

      I wish we could grow more stuff here. We live in the city and our balcony is tiny and doesn’t really get much sun except in the summer, so I’m a little limited in terms of gardening. I haven’t started anything yet (it’s still too cold – we’re usually well below freezing), but I’m planning to grow a few things this year.

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