In the Grocery Store [31/365]

fernNormally, I’m pretty disciplined when I go grocery shopping, but yesterday I got back with a little fern. Not too bad — it was three bucks.

I notice how they put out things where they usually don’t belong … like in the counter with all the meats, you find all kinds of bottles with sauces. Yesterday I saw a new kind of mustard there.

IMG_2304-minHere are Belgian waffles, mixed in with organic maple syrup and some kind of creme fraiche from England [the small white bottles].

I watched a programme on Canadian TV, the other night called Marketplace. They altered an ordinary grocery store overnight … they just moved stuff around, placed it differently, new type of sales-tags … the sales went up 25%. They pointed out little things that really turn people off, like when the aisles are so narrow so you bump in to other customers. Nothing should be sitting out in the aisles, but our grocery stores here must have missed that show.

I found one thing, though, that is a great and positive surprise: Recently we bought this Keurig coffee machine. Shortly afterwards I got ahold of a few ‘cups’ for it that you can load with your own coffee. Up until now, I haven’t liked them at all, because the mesh lets coffee grinds through, and I end up with an upset stomach. Was thinking to myself, the other day; «There should be little filters for these things!» What do you know! I wasn’t the only one thinking along those lines — yesterday I found packages with little filters for Keurig.

I’m drinking a good cup of steaming, black coffee now, as I type.

39 thoughts on “In the Grocery Store [31/365]

  1. David Bennett

    I am surprised the sales went up. I would run out screaming.

    I have found my head swimming with nausea when I look at four hundred yards of shelving trying to find the thing I want 🙂

    I was just thinking today how much inertia there is in finding another supermarket. A few weeks ago our local one stopped selling my favourite marmalade and then they stopped selling Delice de France Creme Fraiche. I spoke to customer services and they took it up with head office, but it’s a forlorn hope that anything will change.

    Our local one does a ‘shop in store and we deliver’ service whereas the other supermarket chains don’t. And even without that service I cannot bear the thought of having to find everything on the shelves of a different supermarket.

    Reply
    1. tassitus Post author

      Yes, they put a lot of ‘psychology’ behind it, as putting all those expensive, ready-made-meals in front, where you enter. They made changes, they didn’t really move stuff around . Our grocery store of choice has stopped carrying at least three of ‘my’ products. I’ve brought it up with them, but they’re making no effort to bring them back. We have another one nearby, which I know just as well, so lately I’ve started to favour that.

      The selection of everything is huge. I remember one guy from Albania asked me if I didn’t find it difficult to go grocery shopping, because of the selection.

      Reply
      1. David Bennett

        The USA has bigger stores and more apparent choice – but it’s easier to find healthier food here in the UK.

        I’m only glad I am not a ‘foodie’ or I might get lost for days in the supermarket

        Reply
        1. tassitus Post author

          Yes, many things are bigger in the States. Here in SJ they are ‘medium sized’, except two, really big ones. We go to the two nearest ones. I think we eat relatively healthy … I cook, ready-made stuff is very rare here, but I’m not hysterical about it either.

          Reply
  2. Mara Eastern

    Little coffee filters, lovely 🙂 I hate it when a shop gets “reorganised”. It doesn’t make me buy more, it makes me buy less because I can’t find what I want. Poor selection in grocery shopping is a thing in Eastern Europe, I always have to go to several supermarkets to get all items I want because none carries them all. Poor quality is also a huge problem.

    Reply
    1. tassitus Post author

      Poor selection vs. great selection — I was thinking about it as I wrote, and ideally it would be ‘everything in moderation’. Here’s too much of everything, and I shudder to think of all that’s being thrown in the garbage. There’s a huge waste, that nobody wants to think about.

      Reply
      1. Mara Eastern

        Great selection is a poor thing too, I know. More often I face the opposite problem, but when I happen to be faced with more than, say, five kinds of chocolate, I can never choose… I’m not sure how it’s here with wasting food, but it’s common to sell expired products, marked as expired, for very low prices. And it’s also common for sellers to manipulate expiry dates…

        Reply
        1. tassitus Post author

          They do that here too, with some stuff; sell it for 50% less when it’s getting to be too old. Other stuff they can’t do that. There’s been talk about manipulating here too … also how they manipulate ground beef, which is scary.

          Reply
          1. Mara Eastern

            Yes, I know what you mean. It’s funny, you can even buy old bread and rolls here – presumably to use it for homemade breadcrumbs. Or for ducks.

            Reply
  3. purpleborough

    I am with David here. Please little store, leave stuff alone. I hate to grocery shop. Half the time I just walk around and leave without buying anything because I have no idea what I might want to eat tomorrow, or even today, so could I possibly know how to buy for say one week. It is cheaper for me to just go out and get something to eat.

    Not knowing how to cook is another challenge.

    A good example: I wanted some fudge brownies. Bought the box. Followed the instructions and now have a dish filled with brown things to hard to bite into.

    Reply
    1. tassitus Post author

      When I go there, by myself, I just walk quickly through the store and pick up the items I need. When I first came to this country, I really took my time … moseyed around, to look at all the stuff that was different. Sorry about the fudge! I wouldn’t even bother — I’ve learnt something from my mistakes LOL

      Reply
    2. Deb Weyrich-Cody

      I don’t know if this will work, or not; if not, I’ll send the photo to Rebekah. Nope! But just hang on a bit, okay?

      Reply
        1. Deb Weyrich-Cody

          Thank you: )
          An oft-used and well-worn page from my copy of “The New Canadian Basics Cookbook” by Carol Ferguson (with at least two scribbled revision/additions in the margins; )

          Reply
        2. Deb Weyrich-Cody

          Sorry, OEM = Original Equipment (from the) Manufacturer – normally used as an Automotive reference.
          (Most likely a French acronym(?)

          Reply
          1. tassitus Post author

            I don’t know anything about French. So … you have a Keurig?! We had a Tassimo before, but with this new one I can at least use my own grinds. I like that about it.

            Reply
          2. tassitus Post author

            When we bought the machine [in Costco], there were oodles of various coffees and tea that came with it. I liked the tea so much, but now I can’t find it in the stores … arghhh! Bigelow’s English Breakfast … I’ve looked all over the place!

            Reply
  4. John

    Where oh where do you purchase the cups for your own grind! I love our Kurig but the coffees are so insanely priced. I see Walmart as the biggest offender in putting crap in the isles. We stopped going there almost completely because of this. You can’t get around in there at certain times of day because of the junk in the isles, no place to navigate around others.

    Reply
    1. tassitus Post author

      Oh, they’re everywhere … look in Walmart next time; either beside the coffee grinds, OR where they sell the actual brewer! They have oodles of them 🙂 I was pleased … they have them in our grocery store too, in the coffee section!

      Reply
  5. Deb Weyrich-Cody

    Most grocery stores are laid out so that the necessities are on the outside: fruits & veg, dairy, meats, etc; while the “extras” are in the aisles: canned goods, condiments, freezers and then Deli, Bakery & junk food section… So, theoretically at least, one can avoid the un-necessities of life by sticking to the basics.
    Having said that (and having gone through more than one creative drought in the kitchen, over the years) I feel that it’s a brilliant idea to put serving suggestions right alongside (and it’s still better than hitting the Prepared Foods aisle, right?; )
    I recall reading somewhere – as they’ve become SUCH a massive environmental disaster – that the fellow who invented the coffee “pod” feels that it was the worst thing he’s EVER done, over his entire lifetime.
    I try to stay on top of things and disassemble them as we go: grounds & paper filter to compost, foil lid and plastic cup to the recycling. But, we also have a couple of different types of refillables: the terribly expensive OEM Keurig and much more reasonably priced, one piece kind from Giant Tiger(Tigre Géant; )

    Reply
    1. tassitus Post author

      Yeah, of course … they aren’t stupid. I thought of it again, yesterday, as I walked across the whole store to get to the milk. Wish you’d seen that Marketplace, Deb … it was extremely interesting — I only brought up a few examples here.

      What does OEM mean?

      We do have a Giant Tiger here, but I’ve never been there.

      Reply
  6. Deb Weyrich-Cody

    Keurig? Yup, it was a Christmas gift three years ago. I strongly suggest cleaning it REGULARLY – I’ve set a Calendar reminder to clean ours every 60 days. Don’t wait until it starts sounding funny and the “descale” light comes on.
    I use (2:1) two cups of water & one cup of white vinegar. Make sure to allow the machine to “inhale” the vinegar and water solution, run one small cup setting through and then let it sit for a few minutes to heat the mixture before turning it off and sit for 30 minutes (or, if it’s really overdue, for a couple of hours) to allow the lime/ deposits to dissolve before rinsing. You may need to literally unplug the machine before draining it upside down and shaking it into the sink for force the lime-water out! (This is neither fun, nor easy!):): Oh, and be sure to leave the handle in the open position to allow the water to escape. Trust me, it’s FAR better to clean it more often than necessary, than be forced to go through this procedure!
    Once you have liquid flowing freely again, it will take a full reservoir of clean water through the machine to rinse away the vinegar.
    Oh and about the Grocery Store… I should also mention that I will “borrow” a recipe idea, rather than buy the ready-made sauces or marinades. I was brought up in a do-it-yourself type of family and nothing beats home-made (or well-stocked spice drawer; ).
    Real butter, eggs, milk, herbs and spices. No added starches. No modified ingredients. No extra sugar(s), preservatives, colours or unpronounceable ingredients.
    People have been cooking for millennia – it’s not rocket science – and, if you happen to get stuck, you can find instructions on how to make ANYthing online.
    Plus, it doesn’t really take that much more time; especially when you factor in the satisfaction of having made it yourself and knowing EXACTLY what you’re eating: )

    Reply
    1. tassitus Post author

      That cleaning procedure sounds painful. It was easy with the Tassimo.

      I willingly admit that cooking is not an interest of mine, but I do it every day … because we have to eat, right?! Replaced butter for frying with EVOO, a couple of years ago, but will try and go for grape seed oil instead.

      Reply
  7. daydreamer2011

    They keep on changing things around in our two grocery stores in town. So annoying! When you finally have learned where everything is… then they start to change things again, meh!!

    Reply
    1. tassitus Post author

      Yeah, that’s what they want, I guess … so you have to walk through all the aisles, picking up stuff you don’t need …

      Reply
  8. Nylabluesmum

    That little fern is cute! And I often wonder how the shelves are stocked & sometimes seem out of sequence.
    My fave store Foodland/IGA has only changed the store shelves twice in 20 years. I still can’t find the crackers but I can navigate pretty much blindfolded. Now No-Frills is another story; I like the prices & can get 95% of my groceries there but I am always wandering like a fool; backtracking! Sheila says it is hilarious to watch. good thing she a) has a sense of humor & b) is VERY patient!!!!!
    And I am glad there are filters you wanted/needed!

    Reply
    1. tassitus Post author

      LOL @ the wandering in No Frills. We have one here too, but it’s in a different part of town. In our regular store, I could go blind folded too. Except for the croutons … strangely enough I can never remember where they are. In QC we had an IGA store. It was nice.

      Reply
      1. Nylabluesmum

        LOL between crackers & croutons we are quite a pair!!!
        No-Frills is NOT that complex; it is just a glitch in my tiny brain. 20 years of shopping at IGA does that to a person, hahahaha!

        Reply
        1. tassitus Post author

          I guess it does — I have a problem remembering where those little bags with crumbled bacon is too, and I eat a lot of Caesar salad LOL

          Reply
            1. tassitus Post author

              I was just there. I still don’t know LOL Each time I have to walk up and down each aisle, thinking “this time I WILL remember” … 🙂

              Reply
                1. tassitus Post author

                  LOL!!! It’s really strange. I know that damned store inside out — I could work there are some kind of service person … except if people would ask for croutons or bacon bits.

                  Reply
                    1. tassitus Post author

                      Heh! Just got back from there. Needed NO bacon or croutons today — went straight for the mustard LOL

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