Saturday, March 25, 2006

More About Supermarkets

This past Fall I wrote a snarky piece About Supermarkets, expressing my dismay at the inadequacy of our neighborhood Safeway. The renovations are almost complete, so that everything looks newer, the Starbucks has opened, and a number of things aren't where we remember them. But one goes to the grocery store to buy groceries, and while there has been a little improvement, Safeway is still falling down on the job on this, its most basic function. Partly due to this, and partly due to a desire to eat more healthfully, we've been shopping more at Whole Foods, even though it's quite a bit further away (~7 miles vs. ~0.3 mile).

Today, after visiting a brewpub in the suburbs, we decided to do our grocery shopping at a Safeway located in the same shopping area as the brewpub, and were astounded at both the selection and the quantity of the items we regularly (try to) purchase. There also were a number of products wholly absent from our local store. I had several choices for the type of milk I want (acknowledgement about the earlier post -- the local Safeway has only been out of milk a couple of times -- the rest of the time, they've been out of Lowfat (and I can't stand Skim or Whole)). And given that they had the variety of orange juice I like in stock, I bought four cartons, not knowing how long it would be before it would be in our local Safeway at a time I choose to shop. Ultimately, we ended up spending twice as much on groceries as we have in months, delighted as we were to find goods we wanted, and not knowing when next we might find them.

I presume the biggest reasons for the discrepancy between the city Safeway and the one in the 'burbs is space. The Safeway around the corner has no room to expand, and the one we went to today is significantly larger. I do wonder, however, whether part of the difference lies in staff who are lackadaisical about restocking the shelves, or perhaps due to understaffing. I'll be curious to see when that Harris Teeter opens up in about a year, whether Safeway will get its shit together, or whether its business will decline substantially, even to the point where it goes under. It'll probably maintain a price advantage, but that's of minimal benefit if they don't have the products one wants -- few people will have interest in shopping at both places to acquire their grocery lists.
As an aside, when I pulled the old post back up, I noticed there were no comments listed, even though I remember a couple. Then I noticed that none of my posts in October had any comments listed. So I went to Haloscan, and was able to see the comments fine. The test post I made shows up via Haloscan, but still doesn't surface attached to the original post. Does anyone know what's going on?

[Update (10pm): Question answered -- apparently, for freeloaders like me who don't pay for premium service, Haloscan archives comments over 4 months old. Reminder to self -- always read the FAQs before asking a question.]