Friday, September 22, 2006

The Trouble with Grocery Shopping - Jordan Style

El 3atal can't understand why I can't go to just one store each week and do our grocery shopping. I've found it hard to help him see this picture. The truth is, I typically need to go to 3 different stores. That's right, 3 stores a week. Like many Americans, I do most of my shopping at Safeway and Cozmo, allowing the kids to maintain their familiar foods while introducing the wonderful cuisine from here into our routine. However, I can't buy all of what I need at either Safeway or Cozmo. Let me give you some examples:

Safeway only has: Fragrance free laundry detergent (A must for the kids' sensitive skin), chocolate chips (of a sort), whipped cream in the aerosol can (upon occasion) and consistently has (which Cozmo doesn't): Hamoudeh low fat milk, Nabil chicken pops, Aunt Jemima Syrup, and small juice boxes

Cozmo only has: taco shells (and mixes), Nabil turkey hot dogs, high quality pre-packaged ground beef and chicken breasts

Neither carries Bisquick anymore (Cozmo used to). I have to go to C-Town for that. You see my challenges are myriad. My Mom is in town visiting and I've had to explain to her why I didn't bother asking at Safeway for items I couldn't find myself on the shelves. Finally, I let her ask for an item she wanted. The girl told her what aisle it was on and went on about her work. Mom looked and looked and finally gave up. We went from there to Cozmo where I found a guy stocking the shelves and asked for the item. The guy got up from his work, walked me to the exact place and pointed out the brands they had. It a service-level thing. One tells you where to find something (just an aisle number) the other takes you directly to the item.

You might wonder why this is so important. Let me give you an illustration. We were looking for yeast so Mom could make some biscuits or bread. In the US, yeast is kept in cooler cases. It's a baking product that needs to be kept cool. So, in Safeway, I looked for it according to the unusual shelving techniques I've come to expect. Yeast comes in a small package and is used in baking, so it will be on the spice aisle (no there's no logic there). Mom argued and argued with me about it. She said it wasn't a spice (which it isn't) and it should be kept cool. So, we asked. They told us what aisle it would be on (the spice aisle, by the way). We never found it. Next we went to Cozmo. I asked a guy stocking the canned goods. He got up, took us to the proper aisle (it was the spice aisle, by the way) and showed us the packages. They had had it at Safeway, I even saw it. But, the brand they had wasn't in English, so I didn't know what I was looking at. We happily bought our yeast at Cozmo. Mom has now become accustomed to the fact that anything I can't find at Safeway I simply wait to ask at Cozmo. I know if they have it, they'll take me to it.

That brings up an interesting topic. Shelving here is very interesting. You find things in unique places. Right in amongst the spaghetti sauces is the picante sauce. So, you can put hot Mexican sauce in your spaghetti. Too funny. And, I find the most unlikely things with the spices. It seems like I'm getting better at understand the connection in the store managers minds because, like the yeast, I'm better able to predict where they'll put it. I'm not sure if that's a good sign or a bad one, but I am grateful for it. It just takes changing your perspective. And, after all isn't that what makes life fun?

Happy shopping!


At 12:38 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Mama Bean,
Have you tried Plaza Al Ahlia? It's smaller than some of the others, but regularly has things I can't find anywhere else. Today I was there, and they had Choc. Chips, Bisquick, Taco Shells, and small juice boxes. (Those were the things I noticed. They might have had other things you mentioned, too.) They are the only place I've been able to find Old Fashioned Oats (not quick cooking).

It is located between Duwar Dekhlia and fourth circle, across from Jordan Hospital.

At 10:45 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

i found your story very amusing, that is how my sister and i were four years ago. we would go supermarket hopping to find what we need after a while it gets easier you know what store carry what(like ctown is the only store that has lasagna that needs to be boiled)their shelving system is unique you would have found the yeast in the baking aisle and it usually comes in a brick form.
another good market is Grandmarket in mujam jabir they carry a lot of american product(even pecans)

At 1:13 AM , Blogger MommaBean said...

Thanks for the recommendations. I'll check them out, but for the time being have simply accepted that I can't get everything at one place :). I'm pretty set on the things I need every week, they just come from both Safeway and Cozmo. I hear that the new Carrefours is supposed to be huge, so maybe they'll get it all together in one place. If not, I'll just keep on Saturday shopping around town... :)


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