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Is your supermarket as bad as mine?


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I just need to let off some steam. My supermarket makes me crazy. Since this forum is so positive in demeanor, I don't want to be a bad apple. But I seek the infantile sheer catharsis of yawping about how very frustrated I am.

I live in a very small town, in a very small state, and I have to remind myself I'm very lucky to have a supermarket in town at all, but this particular one I'd trade for any other of the same size or larger supermarkets in area towns in a heartbeat. Any. The employeees aren't the problem. They are all nice people and nice to deal with. My guess is that the problem resides with management in the main office. This store is one small link in a big regional chain, big enough to have store brands etc... They do make a real and sucessful effort to keep prices in line, but they seem to think low prices are all there is.

I end up so frustrated that I have a fantasy where I run down an aisle screaming about how much I hate them, with my arms sticking straight out to my sides out and knocking hundreds of items down to the floor. I'm wayyy too old to live out this fantasy but, I just want to act like a child and pound my fists on the ground or something. A tantrum would be very very good right about now. You know the image of the small child knocking down the huge tower of neatly stacked items? You can not imagine how attractive that looks to me right now.

Once I started writing down all the things that mess with the quality of my "shopping experience" I was surprised what a long list it is.

1. They are running out of stuff all the time. There are times I can't get several items on my list, and I'm not talking about out of season items, just regular things any other market would have.

2. They have virtually no specialty items. The list of what they don't have is, well, gigantic. Haven't they heard of Whole Foods? Don't they know there's a market for good food?

3. They have lousy veggies. Their buyers seem only aware of price tags.

4. They have a barely, no, not really OK, meat dept. with all family sized offerings. I just live with gf and the packs are usually too big for just us. Why can't they pack a variety of sizes? Better quality would be a huge plus.

5. The deli and fish counter stink - literally - it varies day to day - I hate walking anywhere nearby - not even 30 or 40 feet away. I've thought of calling the state health inspector. It's never like that anywhere else I shop. One recent night, it was much nastier than usual. Just plain foul. I'll only buy stuff cut to order in the deli early in the day since I suspect things get nastier as the day wears on.

6. They have no concept of putting like items together. Then they move stuff around so I can't find it in a hurrry. They have weird and constantly changing location of items. I'm sick of wandering around looking for the new hiding place for something I found last week.

7. They drop good products constantly shortly after bringing them in. By the time I happen across something, and I decide I like it, they've decided it is a non seller and discontinued it.

8. They wayyy overstock some items and then short others. Their vast alsle of gallon waters is amazing, all store brand. Zillions of identical store brand gallons of water taking up yard after yard of shelf space. They could fill an olympic swimming pool. How many good items do they not stock just to make room for one brand and size of water? Why water?

9. Their baggers need training; always trying to put five and even six sodas and a couple of other heavy liquids in a single flimsy plastic bag which then rips if I don't ask for extra bags. I know it's not being cheap. It's just a lack of training. Why do I have to watch over them all like a hawk?

10. Their veggies are always near throw by date - do they warehouse the veggies for a few days or weeks before sending to stores in an over heated truck? Sort of a ripening process?

11. Baking items - no cake flour - what's with that? But lots and lots of "add an egg" or "add water" mixes.

12. Their veggie quality is too often from unacceptable to very low - old tough overage overgrown veggies - stuff any good market would throw out, or more likely would never have bought. The better I learn to cook, the more I buy meat and veggies elsewhere.

13. Frequently, items hit the shelves with no pricing for sometimes weeks at a time. I cannot believe someone from the store doesn't notice.

14. Top of the shelving labels are located where you cannot read them - only a very tall person would be able to see.

15. The veggie dept stockers are always slamming food around when stocking the food into bins - as if veggies won't get bruised.

16. They have a sucky selection - most all boring and most all cheap.

17. They don't get it that cheeep is only good if one gets what one wants rather than second rate items.

18. The meat dept is weak as all getout. They don't even have the components of meatloaf - ground beef, ground veal, ground pork - heck I'm not even going to wonder if one could get something ground to order ... I wouldn't trust them enough.

19. Odd placement of items in store - it makes things hard to find. The frozen pizza dough is in the frozen fish case. Huhhh???? Like I want fish scented pizza. Thankfully, now days I just make my own dough, but if I didn't, I'd want to get it from out of town.

20. They seem to get the cheepest possible shopping carts so they rattle and creak throught the store. The wheels are just about falling off carts they brought in new just a couple of years ago. I don't see the economics of buying easily destroyed carts.

21. The employees run those annoying vacuum cleaner things around the store wayyy before closing. You can't think when you are getting chased around the store by a whirring whining machine.

22. They seem to think it's OK to start shutting down the veggie section way before the store is closed for the night. Come in near close some days and the veggies have scampered back to the back rooms - why can't they wait till close?

23. Diffferent sizes and brands of the same product will have unit costing in price per pound, per ounce, per dozen, per sheet and per box, so you cannot sort out unit pricing without calculator.

24. Frequently, they blame a distributor when they are out of one or another item. They say so and so is out. If this supermarket chain is so big, which they are, why don't they have the clout to demand better service of their suppliers? Of course they do have clout. My guess is that they just figure the customers will suck it up and get by with food they don't want rather than the items they came in to buy.

25. They put up bins marked "Special" - loaded to the gills with items at their regular price. It irks me that unwary shoppers will believe there is some sort of special bargain and stock up with no additional savings.

26. Why can't they employ more adults, maybe retirees who need a little extra income. Older folks have more common sense and don't abuse the food like kids sometimes do. A nearby grocery does exactly that, and dealing with the help there is noticably better.

27. I often have to buy double or more of what I want since I can't trust them to have anything in stock when I need it, They are out of regular yeast today unless I want to buy a huge jumbo size jar way more than what I want. I end up warehousing for my supermarket. Any money I save from their low prices is lost by my need to stock up to protect myself from their poor inventory control. I end up essentially their banker and warehouse.

28. I occasionally see store employees standing on the handles of the carts by the front windows to access banners high up on the front windows. I guess they haven't heard of food safety??? Do I really want to have floor and street grime on the handles I touch? It creeps me out that they have the baby seating on the carts, but do I need to have them walk around their bathroom then plant their grimy feet all over the cart handles so that I can bring that home with me?

29. Veggie bins overfilled so you can't take food out without a dozen falling on the floor. Jusy plain lazy management and no training/followup.

30. They keep potatos out too warm and in too much light for so long that the red potato always have some of that toxic green under the skins. I have to peel them all. I no longer feel OK about having their red potatos "skin on" - the way I often like them.

Any few of these complaints by themselves would be OK, but they score so low, so across the board, so dependably ...

A number of times I have gently tried to get a couple of minor issues improved. The employees try, but management seems uninterested. At a certain point, you have to accept reality. I've given up trying to get improvements made. Now I shop out of town whenever I am near any other supermarket and have the time and energy. I like to shop daily so out of town is less than ideal. It's twenty miles to the nearest real market.

Thanks for listening!

Edited by nakji (log)
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While I don't live in a small town in a small state, I feel your pain! I grew up in Vermont and can only return to visit now in very small doses--and a lot of the blame is the grocery shopping (to be fair, it may be my mother's shopping habits, and not the stores themselves--Hannafords in Rutland actually looked pretty good the one time I was there).

Now I live in a reasonably sized city in a reasonably sized state (I tell everyone that Denver is as rural as I ever want to be again), but I still have issues... I live in a fairly affluent (and new) neighborhood which was specifically planned to have a central "town center" (modern urban planning), but the Albertsons that won the bidding to be the "market" is just plain B-A-D. Many of the complaints you raise about your little local store:

* Meat and fish selection is spotty (never, to my knowledge, literally, but there's always tomorrow) at best. And the fish is usually mealy looking, when it's not stone-cold frozen.

* The produce section is a joke. Miles and miles of apples and out-of-season red rocks, er, I mean, tomatoes, but not a sprig of Italian parsley or rosemary. Every so often I find a shallot that's as surprised to be there as I am to find it, but that's rare.

* At least six months ago they "reorganized" the store, but they haven't bothered to change the aisle signs, so I have to wander all of them to find what I'm looking for.

* Why, oh why, isn't taco seasoning with the other "Mexican" foods?

* If there is a sun-dried tomato to be found, I haven't stumbled across it yet.

* Someone really needs to explain to me the logic of cookies and soup in the same aisle.

It just irks me that I live in this great urban neighborhood, and no one bothered to put a Whole Foods or a Sunflower or even one of the new, upscale Safeways in instead of a floundering Albertsons. Craziness.

Luckily for me, unlike you--you poor thing, I have several ethnic groceries and a couple of Whole Foods (heck, even the Super Target has better prices and selection) to choose from and only have to resort to the local store when I'm desperate (or desperate for Doritos).

Feast then thy heart, for what the heart has had, the hand of no heir shall ever hold.
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. . .

I end up so frustrated that I have a fantasy where I run down an aisle screaming about how much I hate them, with my arms sticking straight out to my sides out and knocking hundreds of items down to the floor.

. . .

I hear you loud and clear. I haven't taken to screaming yet but I do walk around my nearest supermarket saying under my breath, "I hate this store. I hate this store."

Many of my complaints are the same or similar to yours - fresh produce that wasn't even fresh last week!

Store brands but few national brands.

Specialty food - ah - that's a joke!

I could go on and on but here's the kicker - I DON'T LIVE IN A SMALL TOWN! I live in the GTA in one of the most affluent areas in Canada! Thank heaven there are other grocery stores around it's just that this one is my local and hence would be so convenient if it wasn't so AWFUL.

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

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It's about twenty miles to the nearest good market, and maybe 30 to the nearest ethnic stores. Whole foods or the like? A zillion miles. Actually 64 miles - I just mapped it.

About my tip top of cooking expertise is a good bread or a souffle (darn I don't know if that's spelled right). I'm still at the "surprised when something new comes out right the first time" stage; thrilled a pot roast came out like beef candy. In truth, the biggest thing keeping my cooking skills back is me, but ... darn it, I'd really like to find some really good food nearby.

Hannafords is my salvation. In Concord NH, twenty miles from me. Nice veggies, more of a meat dept. That reminds me, finally there are a couple of real butcher shops in Concord NH. Bless them! Good meat, finally. I've turned into a carnivore now that I don't have to eat tortured aged protein.

Hannafords also moved into New London NH recently. They made a couple of PR missteps and alienated a lot of the locals there, but I'd take a Hannafords in a heartbeat.

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I'm in a fairly trendy area of a big city. Right now there are four major chain grocery stores, plus several smaller markets all within walking distance of me. When I first moved here, however, there were just the 2 large markets, both in walking distance, but in opposite directions from where I live so I'm sure they didn't really consider themselves to be in direct competition.

One of them has always been good. The other one, however, was disgusting. I would go there for certain packaged foods, but their produce department was a joke. Everything was past its prime and they always had fruit flies everywhere. Just going in there would kill my appetite.

And then, another market opened right across the street from them (it wasn't at the time, but it's since been bought out by Whole Foods). It was a smaller store, but carried only the best quality organic foods. Yes, more expensive than the crappy market, but the produce was always beautiful. Surprisingly, it STILL took a year or more for the crappy store to realize they had some serious competition there.

I honestly think the manager was of the opinion that no one would want to pay the premium prices of the new store and so he just carried on as he always had. They've since cleaned up their act and are now a good place to shop for produce. But obviously, even with the new store right across the street, and with another option not that many blocks away, people must have still been buying their produce there in spite of the problems. Which tells me that for some people, yes it IS all about the bottom line. My mom, for one, is the type of person who won't buy fruit at its prime, but will get it on sale when it's just about to go bad (and then she'll just cut off the bad parts). Personally, I'd rather pay a bit more and get higher quality.

I'm gonna go bake something…

wanna come with?

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One small suggestion to ease a fraction of your pain: re item no. 9, use reusable cloth bags. The ones I have can hold a small anvil and a couple of bowling balls without breaking.

My nearest supermarket does not have a seafood counter but that is not necessarily a bad thing, judging by the quality of the produce sold there.

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Are all the stores in the chain like this? Or do you think the management of this particular store is to blame?

In any case, I suggest you send a letter (a letter, not an email, not a phone call) to the CEO of the company and list all your gripes. You don't have to downplay the problems, either. The way you've described the store here on EGullet makes the situation quite clear.

If the CEO is doing his/her job, the CEO shd care about attracting more customers by improving the store. If you have problems with this store, I bet other people do too.

Then there are other matters that should ring alarm bells with a competent CEO.

For example:

5. The deli and fish counter stink - literally - it varies day to day - I hate walking anywhere nearby - not even 30 or 40 feet away. I've thought of calling the state health inspector. It's never like that anywhere else I shop. One recent night, it was much nastier than usual. Just plain foul. I'll only buy stuff cut to order in the deli early in the day since I suspect things get nastier as the day wears on.

Yup, health inspections.

And--

13. Frequently, items hit the shelves with no pricing for sometimes weeks at a time. I cannot believe someone from the store doesn't notice.

25. They put up bins marked "Special" - loaded to the gills with items at their regular price. It irks me that unwary shoppers will believe there is some sort of special bargain and stock up with no additional savings.

I don't know about consumer protection laws in your state, but if I saw these things in a supermarket where I live, I'd be on the phone to the Attorney General's office, Consumer Protection Division. Especially #25.

And as for this--

28. I occasionally see store employees standing on the handles of the carts by the front windows to access banners high up on the front windows. I guess they haven't heard of food safety??? Do I really want to have floor and street grime on the handles I touch? It creeps me out that they have the baby seating on the carts, but do I need to have them walk around their bathroom then plant their grimy feet all over the cart handles so that I can bring that home with me?

Not only sanitation, but what about occupational health and safety for the store's workers, allowed to use shopping carts like step ladders?

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Collar the manager and give him/her a piece of your mind, with a smile of course. "Gee, you know I'd buy more fish if your counter didn't smell like the cleaning table at a fish camp."

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I say you shuld just "vote with your pocketbook." 20 miles is a ways to go for groceries, but I think it'd be worth it to avoid this terrible place. If you're feeling generous, let them know you are avoiding their store, and why, but it likely won't do any good. They probably have a target audience of people who don't care that much about food or are financially strapped and *think* they're saving lots of money when they shop there.

I've thought a lot about this, since I am car-less and must either walk or take the bus to shop. I have decided that it's not worth it to shop at a place that makes me miserable, no matter how much closer it is. Plus, it's good exercise to walk a little further! :biggrin:

O/T On the subject of the carts, thanks for validating what I thought might have been my own craziness about them. I've noticed that several grocery stores in my area now have sani-wipes at the front door by the carts, and a lot of them also have special carts that look like little cars for the kids (although the regular carts still do have the baby seats - urg). But since I am usually on foot and I can't carry too much at a time, I just use a basket. And I do bring my own canvas bags - and load them myself.

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... Why, oh why, isn't taco seasoning with the other "Mexican" foods? ... 

That's EXACTLY the kind of thing that makes me crazy! Spending wasted extra time looking for something that has suddenly moved to some incomprehensible mislocation.

... I haven't taken to screaming yet but I do walk around my nearest supermarket saying under my breath, "I hate this store. I hate this store."  ...

That's just what I do.

  ...  for some people, yes it IS all about the bottom line. My mom, for one, is the type of person who won't buy fruit at its prime, but will get it on sale when it's just about to go bad (and then she'll just cut off the bad parts).  Personally, I'd rather pay a bit more and get higher quality.   

Me too, I'd rather pay what it takes to get satisfying decent food, appealing and fresh I go into Concord more and more, mostly to Hannafords, to get good produce and a better selecion of basic meats, and too the new butcher's for tip top meats.

  One small suggestion to ease a fraction of your pain: re item no. 9, use reusable cloth bags.  ...

So obvious, but I hadn't thought of that. Thanks!

Are all the stores in the chain like this? Or do you think the management of this particular store is to blame? ....

I'l have to look at more of their stores to have an answer to that. My suspicion is that it's the central office at the heart of many of the issues, but just a guess. Some do seem to be the kind if issues that stem from policy. I'm sure the veggie buyers work for the whole chain, so that would be centralized. The stinky deli? I hope that's local. Missing prices? Local, I suspect. Fake specials? I suspect that's cetral management. I doubt the local store prints up the signage.

I hadn't thought about the osha issues involved with kids balancing on shopping cart handles. I might make a call or two.

Collar the manager and give him/her a piece of your mind ...

If I do collar him, I want to not just be venting, I want to speak effectively and stay on point and effect change. Right now, I'm so unhappy I couldn't do very well. I have a couple of employees who I speak to who know I don't feel very good about the store. Nice people, but I have doubts that my feelings get effectively transmitted "uphill".

More and more of my money goes elsewhere.

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Now I live in a reasonably sized city in a reasonably sized state (I tell everyone that Denver is as rural as I ever want to be again), but I still have issues...  I live in a fairly affluent (and new) neighborhood which was specifically planned to have a central "town center" (modern urban planning), but the Albertsons that won the bidding to be the "market" is just plain B-A-D.  Many of the complaints you raise about your little local store:

* Meat and fish selection is spotty (never, to my knowledge, literally, but there's always tomorrow) at best.  And the fish is usually mealy looking, when it's not stone-cold frozen.

* The produce section is a joke.  Miles and miles of apples and out-of-season red rocks, er, I mean, tomatoes, but not a sprig of Italian parsley or rosemary.  Every so often I find a shallot that's as surprised to be there as I am to find it, but that's rare.

* At least six months ago they "reorganized" the store, but they haven't bothered to change the aisle signs, so I have to wander all of them to find what I'm looking for.

* Why, oh why, isn't taco seasoning with the other "Mexican" foods?

* If there is a sun-dried tomato to be found, I haven't stumbled across it yet.

* Someone really needs to explain to me the logic of cookies and soup in the same aisle.

It just irks me that I live in this great urban neighborhood, and no one bothered to put a Whole Foods or a Sunflower or even one of the new, upscale Safeways in instead of a floundering Albertsons.  Craziness.

Maybe it's a regional thing?

My parents live in the Los Angeles area, and their Albertson's is actually pretty nice. Large produce section, decent selection of specialty items, well organized. I've been quite impressed with it. It's a fairly new Albertsons and it's HUGE. Certainly carries more of a selection than the Stater Brothers stores in the area.

Cheryl

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My goodness... your vents make me feel that I should be truly grateful for what I have.

Firstly, I never buy fruit, vegetables, fish, meat at the supermarket.

I have a good butcher in my local shopping centre, and another good, but a bit cheaper one 20 minutes drive away.

I have two fruit and vegetable shops in my local area that are both excellent and another one 10 minutes ago that also sells reasonable meat.

I have a fishmonger in my local shopping centre that does not smell like fish at all, and it has a second 'branch" in the smaller local shopping centre.

The only things I buy in the supermarket are milk, eggs, flour, cheddar cheese, frozen peas, dried pasta and other staples (mainly cleaning products).

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  ...  The only things I buy in the supermarket are milk, eggs, flour, cheddar cheese, frozen peas, dried pasta and other staples (mainly cleaning products).
During the summer we have a farmer's market here - don't know if such a thing is available in Oz, but local farmers sell direct to the public in the middle of town one day a week. Good veggies. Good people.
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Fake specials?  I suspect that's cetral management.  I doubt the local store prints up the signage.

Just a thought. If central mgmt is responsible for those fake sales, not only may they be in trouble with consumer protection laws, they may be risking a class action lawsuit for fraud and unfair business practices.

ETA: Don't mean to blather about legal actions. But if your market is targeted to people who are under financial constraints and who are very price-conscious, it bothers me very much that your store is pulling a trick like this.

Edited by djyee100 (log)
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Now I live in a reasonably sized city in a reasonably sized state (I tell everyone that Denver is as rural as I ever want to be again), but I still have issues...  I live in a fairly affluent (and new) neighborhood which was specifically planned to have a central "town center" (modern urban planning), but the Albertsons that won the bidding to be the "market" is just plain B-A-D.  Many of the complaints you raise about your little local store:

* Meat and fish selection is spotty (never, to my knowledge, literally, but there's always tomorrow) at best.  And the fish is usually mealy looking, when it's not stone-cold frozen.

* The produce section is a joke.  Miles and miles of apples and out-of-season red rocks, er, I mean, tomatoes, but not a sprig of Italian parsley or rosemary.  Every so often I find a shallot that's as surprised to be there as I am to find it, but that's rare.

* At least six months ago they "reorganized" the store, but they haven't bothered to change the aisle signs, so I have to wander all of them to find what I'm looking for.

* Why, oh why, isn't taco seasoning with the other "Mexican" foods?

* If there is a sun-dried tomato to be found, I haven't stumbled across it yet.

* Someone really needs to explain to me the logic of cookies and soup in the same aisle.

It just irks me that I live in this great urban neighborhood, and no one bothered to put a Whole Foods or a Sunflower or even one of the new, upscale Safeways in instead of a floundering Albertsons.  Craziness.

Maybe it's a regional thing?

My parents live in the Los Angeles area, and their Albertson's is actually pretty nice. Large produce section, decent selection of specialty items, well organized. I've been quite impressed with it. It's a fairly new Albertsons and it's HUGE. Certainly carries more of a selection than the Stater Brothers stores in the area.

It may also be a perception thing. I think the meat in our local (Orange County) Albertson's reeks; I think the vegetables are beyond tired. But most of my friends think it is fine and have absolutely no idea what I am talking about.

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  ...  The only things I buy in the supermarket are milk, eggs, flour, cheddar cheese, frozen peas, dried pasta and other staples (mainly cleaning products).
During the summer we have a farmer's market here - don't know if such a thing is available in Oz, but local farmers sell direct to the public in the middle of town one day a week. Good veggies. Good people.

Oh yes, there is one in my showground one Saturday a month, and another one 20 minutes away on a different Saturday.

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here is a fun read for a sunday afternoon

http://www.toytowngermany.com/forum/index....showtopic=79524

The store I went to while in Munich had everything I wanted...for a few sandwiches and snacks in the hotel...but to have to shop there would have been torture

tracey

The great thing about barbeque is that when you get hungry 3 hours later....you can lick your fingers

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If I do collar him, I want to not just be venting, I want to speak effectively and stay on point and effect change.  Right now, I'm so unhappy I couldn't do very well.  I have a couple of employees who I speak to who know I don't feel very good about the store.  Nice people, but I have doubts that my feelings get effectively transmitted "uphill".

More and more of my money goes elsewhere.

I'd suggest you get the name and address of the president of the company. Then write the manager of the store, with a copy to the president.

A letter will help you make all of your points, without losing your temper and "just venting." The fact that the big boss is also going to see the letter puts each of them in an awkward situation if nothing is done.

I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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here is a fun read for a sunday afternoon

http://www.toytowngermany.com/forum/index....showtopic=79524

The store I went to while in Munich had everything I wanted...for a few sandwiches and snacks in the hotel...but to have to shop there would have been torture

tracey

Wow. That is one SCARY read.

Maybe I don't have it quite as bad as I thought. I can't imagine a whole country with nothing but supermarkets as bad or worse than mine. And I thought Europe was this vast nirvana with wall to wall wonderful food.

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  ...  Then write the manager of the store, with a copy to the president.

A letter will help you make all of your points, without losing your temper and "just venting."  The fact that the big boss is also going to see the letter puts each of them in an awkward situation if nothing is done. 

Great idea! And I already have my basic info at hand. I'll do it.
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  ...   Then write the manager of the store, with a copy to the president.

A letter will help you make all of your points, without losing your temper and "just venting."  The fact that the big boss is also going to see the letter puts each of them in an awkward situation if nothing is done.  

Great idea! And I already have my basic info at hand. I'll do it.

Perhaps you should also include a copy to the letters to the editor of the local newspaper.

:cool:

I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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To repeat what most everyone else is saying, I feel your pain. We have at least five different supermarkets within easy driving distance (unlike places like Vermont) and each one has serious issues concerning help, pricing, stocking, etc. And none cares one whit about customer complaints. (I count it as a small triumph that I convinced one of the dairy managers to begin carrying whole-milk organic yogurt). The saving thing is that there ARE the five markets, because I shuttle between them all to satisfy our needs. Luckily it seems that one of them (for each issue) makes up for the bad points of the others. So I shop for what I need depending on where I'm going, and "what I need".

Ray

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Maybe I don't have it quite as bad as I thought.  I can't imagine a whole country with nothing but supermarkets as bad or worse than mine. 

Don't go grocery shopping anywhere in Europe east of Munich, then. :wink:

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cbread - I feel your pain. I grew up about the same distance from Concord as you are at and that is where we always went for groceries...and movies...and restaurants... :smile:

There was one small grocery store in the next town over from us that had a good butcher and my mom went there for years, but once that butcher retired she stopped going there.

Now I live in Wilmington, DE, and even though we have the population to support a lot of grocery stores, I hate them all because there doesn't seem to be one good, complete middle-of-the road option. I don't want a Whole Foods (it would be nice to have the option, but realistically, I can't afford it). I do want someplace with variety though - more than just the basics designed for people who just want fuel, not good food. I'd like to go into a grocery store and get at least a few aged cheese and other varieties than basic bleu, feta, basic parm, cheddar & unaged goat cheese.

I'd also like to be able to find fresh yeast, a wider variety of fresh herbs, and more than a half pound of brussel sprouts at a time (true story - around Christmas time there was only a small basket of wilted little sprouts - at $3.99 per pound! - in season!)

The meat bins seem to be filled with boneless-skinless chicken breasts, but try finding meatloaf mix, as you mentioned above. And don't get me started on the ethnic food aisles. Thankfully, I do have access to a Korean grocer and there are tons of Mexican markets around here as well. There are even a few Indian markets.

You mentioned that you like to shop every day...is is possible for you to plan 2-3 days worth of meals based on what you find on your trips to Concord? This might make it more reasonable to shop there regularly.

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... You mentioned that you like to shop every day...is is possible for you to plan 2-3 days worth of meals based on what you find on your trips to Concord? .....
Think ahead? A challenging task. GF has many late lunches at work on unpredictable basis, as her work is somewhat chaotic, so I never know if she'll be hungry when she gets home. But I'm not yet a good menu planner anyway so that is something I can aspire to in future.
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