Has Food Shopping Become a Drag?


Michael Rulhman, author of the book “Grocery”, resonates with me in his latest essay in the NY Times “Is the Supermarket Done for?” He emphasizes the growing trend of “supermarkets on steroids” that will most likely reach a “tipping-point”. Who wants to go into what constitutes a “meat locker” (while looking foolish in gloves and a down vest in summer) to pace up and down a gazillion rows to purchase veggies on the right perimeter, dairy on the left, meats in the rear, and that Oh-So obscure condiment hidden in the middle.

One would think with all the choices, shopping would have become easier, more enjoyable, but for those of us who grew up going to specialty markets___the butcher for meat, fishmonger for seafood, farmer’s market for produce___I still find that to stock the house requires at least five to six stops.

For instance:

1. Costco for paper products (but don’t dare be tempted by the orchid that might be $2.00 more than Whole Foods just cause…)

2. Whole Foods,I find more variety in the produce and ethnic products

3. Trader Joe’s for the freshest nuts, chocolate covered-almonds and some cheeses

4. For flowers, you might have to back-track to Whole Foods, if there was a fresher, better bargain there

5. Farmer’s market in season or Boone Hall Farms Market

6. Butcher or seafood market, depending on the menu

7. Bakery, if guests are coming and you are splurging, to find a diversity of breads and “store-bought” desserts

Customer service is another matter. The local grocery nearby, recently purchased by a chain, hired all new employees, many part-time…nobody knows your name. The colossal affront was changing the beach music to “elevator” music___not quite the same and no fun!

The SUPER supermarkets give me “hives” and I avoid with serious “snobbishness”. All I can imagine is row after row, with aisles of overloaded carts filled with sodas, chips, and giant boxes of cereal. Seriously, the obesity epidemic is not “overblown”! There are no traffic rules and no dress codes. A NIGHTMARE, therefore a NO GO! Read the labels, that’s why they are there. Make healthy choices, and SHOP LOCAL!

My only caveat in the article is Rulhman thinks in the future we will get many of our staples on-line. He is not the only one. Chieh Huang, CEO and co-founder of Boxed, is capitalizing on this trend. While this may be convenient, the packaging must require there not be waste; i.e. the milkman delivered the milk in bottles and the empties were pick-up on the next delivery. A trend seems to be down-sizing our living spaces and there is no room for “store-sized” pantries. Bulk-shopping will go the way of the dinosaurs. Developers, get on board, before your outsized malls that are anchored with a SUPER supermarket become extinct.