The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

7 December 2003

Scaled up

The Albertson's supermarket chain has relocated one of its stores by a whole couple of blocks, and inasmuch as I used to shop at one of their eastside stores out by the Ghastly Hovel, I figured I might as well take a peek at this new location.

Of course, the layout is utterly unfamiliar, so it took an inordinate amount of time to locate the usual items on my list, even on the second visit, and there is the requisite number of contemporary improvements — wheelchair accessibility in most aisles, an optional Self-Check which ostensibly will get you out of the store faster, and actual rest rooms labeled as such — but two things struck me as really, really different from what I'm used to.

The first is the vastly-expanded selection of kosher foods, including kosher frozen foods. (Yes, there are Jews in Oklahoma City.) I'm thinking that perhaps all their stores carry a small, corporate-mandated selection of Standard Ethnic Items, and local managers may expand this if the demand in their area warrants; there are probably a lot more Jewish customers on this side of town than where I used to dwell.

The second is what appears to be a much higher degree of personal interaction among shoppers. Back at the old eastside store, most people trudged down the aisles, dropped items into the basket, and moved on, scarcely saying a word. Now I'm seeing (and occasionally hearing, acoustics being what they are) conversations on seemingly every corner. Do all these people know each other? Or are these presumably more upscale suburbanites simply more inclined to talk to one another? I haven't figured this one out yet. Maybe I'll explore further, should it ever happen that I have something to say. (Or blurt out, inasmuch as one shopper I spotted yesterday was almost a dead ringer for She Who Is Not To Be Named.)

Prices, incidentally, are identical to those on the, um, poor side of town, though the city sales-tax rate is a fraction of a point higher, so mingling with the owners of Benzes and Lexi and 'Slades isn't adding substantially to my grocery bill.

Posted at 11:13 AM to City Scene


Wouldja believe that at the Downtown Stroll on Friday night, I stumbled across a Jewish "Happy Hannukah" event? There were several dozen people in there, too...it just never occurred to me that there were Jewish people in this town!

Oy gevalt!

Posted by: David at 7:19 PM on 7 December 2003

We shop at the recently opened Jewel (Albertson's affiliate) on the um, poor side of Milwaukee. When the store first opened it carried a small, corporate-mandated selection of Standard Ethnic Items, which we snapped up at great savings once they hit the closeout cart. Last year, just after Christmas, the wee wifey, a serious baker, snapped up a large supply of candied fruit for about 20 cents on the dollar.

Posted by: triticale at 9:00 PM on 7 December 2003

People in rich parts of town do socialize more. They have more time, are usually more involved in schools activities and have more leisure time to sit around at starbucks and chit chat.

For some reason, working your butt off every day and taking care of your kids without the aid of a nanny cuts into your standing-around-chatting time.

I once lived in one of the poorer parts of East Dallas (Gaston and Peak) and worked in one of the richest parts (Preston and NW highway). I would do my shopping on the way home so I could stop by grocery stores that didn't smell like dog food or bleach all the time. Its a little know fact that some grocery stores will rotate their products to various stores, letting old perishable products like meats go to poorer areas once they start looking bad.

Another thing stores will do in poorer parts of town. A shop down the street did this. They have two prices, one for when you buy OVER and certain amount and one for when you buy UNDER that same amount. Of course the lower of the two, the OVER price was the one on the price tag in big lettering, but most people didn't get that price.

They also tend to close sooner. One darn store would close at about 7pm. How stupid is that?

dont get me started!

Posted by: bruce at 1:57 AM on 8 December 2003

But, because wealthier people have more opportunities for socializing, shopping in the poorer neighborhoods is more of a social event. This extends to where we, as white and therefore nominally outsiders, have more interaction with shoppers near our home than out in the fancy neighborhoods.

The one grocery chain in Milwaukee which used their umm, poor side stores as a dumping place has recently gone out of business.

Posted by: triticale at 7:33 AM on 8 December 2003

I've never seen this sort of tiered pricing, but it seems to fit the pattern for stores in really poor areas, which do seem to keep very short hours. The chains, at least in OKC, avoid the inner-est parts of the inner city.

Posted by: CGHill at 7:33 AM on 8 December 2003

When they moved they changed their phone numbers too which caused all sorts of pandemonium. Have no clue why they chose to do that.

Posted by: ms7168 at 11:00 AM on 8 December 2003