Sunday, March 25, 2012

Breaking Up is Hard to Do

Sometimes you come to a cross roads in your life and big changes loom on the horizon. Some of the time those decisions come easily and other times they're really hard and involve a lot of angst. Soul searching  decisions are the hardest. They're the things you wish you didn't have to do but know somewhere deep inside that ultimately it's going to make you a lot happier. 

For a long time I've been facing one of those type of decisions and have been putting off making it. I kept hoping things would change or get better but on Friday I finally realised that I had two options. I could keep doing what I was doing or I could be the agent of change and move on to a different , and hopefully better, scenario with my life. 

So on Saturday, because I am a girl of action (after debating to and fro about this for 6 months)  I broke up with my supermarket. I have shopped at a regional chain for about 20 years resisting the lure of the two national supermarkets because I didn't like the idea of their duopoly with regard to market share. But when service and range and quality gradually decline where you're shopping and you have a couple of snippy b*****s who are unreasonably rude on a consistent  basis and act like they're doing you a favour by checking out your groceries (when that's what they're paid to do ) and the community feeling of the store changes you have to question your choices. I spend a fortune grocery shopping and I want my hard earned money's worth. Dammit I want to pretend shopping is an adult version of a theme park. I want the total experience. 

I don't like change. And for years I've harped on publicly , all holier than thou , about how I wouldn't shop at one of the majors, about how I was doing my bit to keep my dollars in the state and was supporting local business and about how I loved the service I got at the smaller chain. I thought the prices were as reasonable as they would be anywhere else and that the quality was there.  I knew where everything was and I could do my entire fortnight shop and be home and unpacking it in under 45 minutes. But when Mr. P starts to complain about the taste of the fruit and veg I'm buying I have to give some credence to the idea that considering a change wouldn't be a bad thing because that man never complains about anything. And usually doesn't chew for long enough to register  flavour or texture. So when he told me a peach turned to tasteless dust in his mouth this week the decision was made. 

So yesterday armed with my shopping list and an hour a half to do my shopping, I went to the big national grocery chain store down the road. Just to try it once to see if I liked it but mainly to pick it to bits so I could keep shopping where I have shopped since time began. I'm almost ashamed to admit it was good. Really good. And that the staff there didn't have horns growing out of their heads, and that my head didn't explode from shopping somewhere new. In fact, I was like a kid let loose in a candy store. They sell avocado oil. The other store has never even heard of it.  And they sell peri peri marinade far cheaper than I can make my own. The range of items just blew my mind. And everything was cheaper. The fruit and veg was so delectable Mr. P moonwalked around the whole department in delight.  The deli section is incredible. I would have saved a lot of money if I hadn't been so busy buying things I've never seen before. I feel like I've walked out of the shopping wilderness into a whole new world. 

See how the little things in life excite me? I'm sure it's a hallmark of middle age. And the fact I wrote a whole blog post about it makes me even sadder. But I'm going back again next fortnight because it really was a cheap way to get some thrills. 

36 comments:

Kate said...

That's the one thing I miss about living in Texas, the grocery stores had much better fruit and a wider selection of evertything than is available here. It's sad that the local store has declined.

Suzan said...

I have always liked grocery shopping. There is a fabulous chain of markets in which I would love to shop on a weekly basis but the closest one is nearly an hour away. At the price of fuel, long distance shopping just for the thrill of their cheese variety, veggies and fruits that are absolutely gorgeous and a gourmet section that makes me weak in the knees, just will not happen. My local store is horrid but at least it is close. Fruits, vegetables and quality meat all come from the farmer's market which is open a few days a week. The only upside to shopping in my area is the farmer's market.
There! A ridiculously long comment on grocery shopping.

Sue said...

If they can't provide up to date, good service, they don't deserve your custom.

Nanci said...

Sometimes our people in service industry need a "southern hospitality" video to see how it should be done.
I am not so faithful to one supermarket, but tend to shop the big stores.
Sometimes though, I have seen people who are at the check out, talking on the cell phone, Texting, and just plain ignoring the person putting the groceries through. Some of these people have become invisible don't you think?
I do agree with you, that a simple greeting and smile does go a long way. Your money should do the same....go a long way that is.

ThreeOldKeys said...

Whew !!! I thought for a minute you were breaking up with blogging.

Granting yourself permission to do something different ... priceless.

Diary of a Flutter.Kat said...

I thought you were breaking up with blogging too!!!
SO glad you were just going all weird on us instead ;)

Kristie said...

Lol! I was holding my breath in the first paragraph, wondering what you were giving up, hoping it wasn't blogging! Phew! Three cheers for fresh fruit and avocado oil!

Karen said...

I totally get this whole change, supermarket deal you describe! For me, I am unfortunately forced to go to a big chain as my local 'cute' store closes today sadly. I am glad you had a good experience!

Kritta22 said...

I too, recently broke up with my local store. As military, I try hard to keep the money in the community we serve. But when it takes an hour at the checkout!!!! I had to call it quits. I don't have 2 hours to grocery shop.

You made the right decision. I'm there with you!

Sara said...

As someone who's been working at a big supermarket for 7 years, I say this:

-No, we are not evil. One or two of our managers, perhaps, but not all of us. There's a lot of lazy ones, grumpy ones and tired ones, but they're not that hard to spot.

-Did you know that at woolies now, if you don't think something's up to scratch we replace it AND give you your money back? Even if you've eaten it all already? I'm amazed noone's decided to rort this yet.

-The adverts on the instore radio can get hella anoying.

But yes, welcome to the dark side. we, quite literally, have cookies.

Sara said...

I forgot to mention, they're down aisle 4, left hand side, sweet ones at the start, savoury ones at the back.

Quiet Quilter said...

We live about 13 miles from our local grocery, which is a small, independent one in a small town with NO competition. It was okay the first few years here, and we can still get our basic milk, eggs, bread with a little meat thrown in. Lately, we have seen cheaper goods on the shelves and a non-show on some things they once had. We are upgrading to one 35 miles away, or if we are really adventuresome, one hour away in Big Town...choices you make when you want to live in the country....

AnnieO said...

Whew, the first two paragraphs were really scary, Shay! Thankfully the post turned out to be only about food. I am lucky that DH usually does the food shopping these days. He tends to buy a lot of beef but I try to counteract that with veggies and rice instead of potatoes...

We have many many shopping choices here, mostly chains. There are no indepedent groceries that I can think of, but lots of farmer's markets and stands, and fresh fish at the harbor. So you can get whatever you want, pretty much anytime you want!

Thanks for the visual of Mr. P moonwalking :)

Ann Marie @ 16 Muddy Feet said...

I love shopping at all different kinds of stores. There is always something different in every store you go to that the others don't have. It is great. When I am on vacation I hit all the stores I never heard of before too.

Dianne Neale said...

Variety is the spice of life. I think if you stick with one thing too long, you get bored and look for problems (I'm talking supermarkets here, nothing else OK?). We have a choice because we are close to the Austrian border. I go to one supermarket because I like the veg, another for the specials, another for the chinese/indian stuff, and meat from the local butcher. If I want a choice of stuff I don't really need, but like to have the option, then I go to the big city, where I can also get decent fish.
God, I thought we were aqll modern women, but we can get so excited about where to shop!!

Amanda said...

I don't use the duopoly unless I am desperate, our local local has an excellent range mostly great staff lets face it most of them are teenagers, and has just had a major revamp. Ours has a large Italian community nearby and it has it's own continental deli and bakery it is a great shop. I do admit to going to the green grocers for my fruit and veg. I do it out of principal, I had a light bulb moment a few years ago when Coles had replaced all the brands of canned tomatoes with there own, the cheap milk really frightens me too, so I try to prop up the dairy industry single handed

Marg said...

I do not like supermarket shopping, so I've been shopping online, thankfully the big supermarkets have great online stores and lots of delivery slots available. The down side of online shopping, I can't touch see smell and choose the fruit and vegetables so I usually go to the supermarket or the fruit and veg. store.
If I go to the supermarket I am not a one shop girl. I am like Dianne, I go to whichever one has what I need so I usually alternate, which supermarket I go to. I used to try to visit the local independent one as much as possible, but so many times I've been there and half the things on my list are not on the shelves because they haven't restocked. It means I then have to drive 25 mins to the next nearest supermarket to get what I need.

Kris said...

I love a song title blogpost! (Singing yours in my head right now!)

But what about the snowballs??? Pretty sure they are unique to the other supermarket. Oh. And the other supermarket has better meat specials. Having said that I always shop at Coles and never mix and match for specials. (It's hard enough to get to one supermarket to do the shopping let alone two! Even here in Melbourne where my favourite is open till midnight seven days a week.)

Loved this post.

Amanda said...

I sound like one of those crank conspiracy theorists but the big 2 really irritate me,but sometimes I do have to go to them for more less common stuff or stuff my favourite doesn't have and I need. I do whine at woollies when they won't take my debit card as a credit card because that just sucks

Kirsten's Cooking said...

I was really nervous to see where this was going. The suspense, oh, the suspense. While I agree with you on supporting local businesses, they have to earn your loyalty!
I think you made a wise decision. Lastly, I love that you and Mr P shopped together....you guys are too cute:)

clare's craftroom said...

My little town now has a Woolies ! I considered the grand opening an adventure and took the teens with me for the grand event . You have just confirmed for me that I too am middle aged .

Brenda said...

Love it. I recently switched grocery stores after 8 years here, to a larger chain and I am quite pleased. I still occasionally hop over to the close by one and see the kids from the neighborhood who work there, but I'm gone for the most part!

Helsie said...

I feel like you do about the duopoly we have developed here in Australia. The range of choice is so much better in the Uk where they have about 5 big chains to choose from as well as others and we always enjoy the shopping experience there very much ( such mundane things please us !!). These days we shop at a big fresh food market for our fruit and vegies ( love the market experience - feel quite European - and love the HUGE savings too )and all of our meat from the Super Butcher so only use the big chain for the rest. Can't beat them for all those little extras.
cheers

Kelli said...

haha~your post was VERY entertaining. AFTER I realized that you were breaking up with the supermarket and not the mister. ;) I could almost feel your excitement, as we have a large grocery store chain like that, and it's like a city of its own in there. All fancy and beautiful on the inside, so many things to look at and buy, and the shiniest fruit you've ever seen. Unfortunately, ours is quite a bit more expensive with the prices, so we still tend to shop at the other cheaper, less Disney-land-like one. :(

Mistea said...

As Coles is a short walk from my front door I consider it my local. I'm to lazy to drive three suburbs for an independent supermarket. There's always the greengrocer for the fruit and vege.

Baa-Me Kniits said...

We have a choice of two here and then the real local which I really only use for milk as they don't have a big range of anything. When the boys were little I only ever went to one store because the carpark in the other one was a nightmare of cobblestones and on a hill....just try that with a full trolley and two toddles! Now we (the boys and I) still do the shopping together usually after swimming on Sat morning because they push the trolley and help unpack. I kept getting a sore knee and finally figured out it was the shopping trolley and turning those corners and dealing with the hill, or maybe it is just age catching up?? We still do most of the shopping at the big store as the choice is better but our IGA supports all the local farmers so I try to go there during the week if I need anything. Personally I would much rather have internet shopping like Marg but they don't deliver to this neck of the woods :-(

Busana Muslim said...

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Susan Entwistle said...

Now you need to shop the other chain, where you'll find even more things you didn't know existed. Next you'll be comparing their circulars and your shopping trip will be to both stores each time. Have fun! You get to be the proverbial 'kid in the candy store' for the next few weeks now.

Anonymous said...

Way to go!!!! Sadly, people like the clerks of whom you speak are international.
My hubby and I were going to Europe a number of years ago and I stopped in at a shopping mall to purchase a tube of my favourite lipstick from a Mac Cosmetic store. Four young sales girls ignored me as I stood with the item in one hand and the cash in the other. After about 10 minutes I approached one of the snotty little b*****s and asked her to complete the sale. While doing so I reminded her that it was MY generation that had the money and could afford their prices and that she and her dimwitted colleagues had best remember that fact. I subsequently wrote to remind the President of the company that we war babies and baby boomers were living longer and perhaps it would behoove them to treat us more respectfully.
Cheers,
Helen (Nanci's Private Teacher)

thea said...

There certainly has been a lot of angst these last couple of weeks, first Sara with her bag and now you with the break up. I don't think I could break up with my store. First, it's less than a mile from my house and would see me drive by and know that I hadn't stopped in. Second, it's less than a mile from my house. Why would I drive further if I didn't have to?

I'm happy that you found that everything was cheaper and that it was worth your while to change. I hope this new relationship is a lasting one ...

Kay said...

now I'm assuming the local that you've ditched is one that starts with F. It really does depend which 'chain' it belongs to - drakes are crap but Romeos are Fab. Sadly there are only drakes near me so I shop at Coles and avoid Woolies as I think they are the more evil of the two. Why, I don't know. (It might also have something to do with habit as my mother always shopped at Coles as there was no woolies nearby.)

susan said...

You can't beat a cheap thrill! (Can you tell I am catching up on my blog reading in reverse order?)

Amy said...

Love Sara's comment about literally having cookies!

Good for you finding avocado oil and a happy shopping experience! I'm pretty fond of the regional chain in my area; my husband's even more loyal - hardly tolerates stopping by another store even if it's a good sale and right one the way!

Mindy said...

I totally understand! I hate change! I'm so glad this change turned out to be a pleasing one!

Elizabeth said...

When I saw the title of this (four days ago) I was certain that you were breaking up with the blog world. I was so relieved after I read it that I had to go lie down and rest from all the emotional turmoil.

I continue to shop at the Big Blue Box store even though they are routinely out of at least one item on my list, hide things in the most absurd places and don't carry a lot of variety because it is familiar. Sort of. They just did inventory and shifted items half-way down the aisle, just to make you look for them and spend a little extra on the the new things you see that you didn't know they had. I love that I can get motor oil, underwear and steak in the same place. I'm not sure if that outweighs the fact that they are always out of something on my list and that I have to hunt high and low for some things and the staff isn't really helpful. Except for the checkout girls, who always seem overly chatty and share inappropriate details of their lives. There's one who continues a conversation between herself and whatever customer she happens to be helping.

Anyway, I'm glad you loved your new grocery store. And I'm really glad you didn't break up with us.

xo -E

Andrea said...

Love this post, you clever lady! I'm glad you got your thrills at the local market....it can be fun sometimes ;-)