I go to a supermarket about once a month. Just to get cleaning products, garbage bags, that kind of thing. We buy our fruit and veg from a fruit and veg shop. We get our meat form a butcher. Bread from a baker. I know that a lot of other people go to supermarkets more often for their bread and meat and veg. Supermarkets are doing very well thank you out of the GFC as Australians take a little more notice of what they are spending on food and household stuff. So I’m not claiming that the supermarket is dead. But man, I wish they were better.
So this Sunday we stopped in at our local supermarket – we needed some toothpaste and tooth brushes and other bits and pieces. And even though we’d done our fruit and veg shopping that day, I had a sudden urge for Mexican style beans and salad for dinner. So we needed a tomato and some lettuce.
The drama started at the “oral hygiene” section. Tooth paste was relatively easy – sort of. We grabbed one, then realised it was a whitening one and spent a little bit of time just looking for the normal tube. But trying to find a normal, small head, non-fluoro brush was impossible. I stood there trying to make sense of the selection – there are definitely cues toothbrush designers are taking from the sex toy market (vibrating / battery operated / ribbed grip etc – not in my mouth thanks). And then there are the bristles – none of them point the same way, are of the same length, made of the same material. There are no small head tooth brushes (sorry, I come from the school of thought that a massive head of a tooth brush cannot clean your teeth in the same way that a small one can – they just can’t get into the same places. And I know when I go to the dentist the toothbrush sample she gives me is a small head one – and she should know what’s good). I am mourning at this stage my electric toothbrush – a nice Oral B number that I think got bashed about from too much travelling and just gave up the ghost about a month ago. I am getting another one. So in the end, tucked in the back corner I found a toothbrush with a small head and a plain handle. Finally, despite the fact I had to enter into the “sensitive teeth” sub-category it was 90% right, so took it. In the mean time, a woman stood next to me and did exactly the same thing. She was holding her small son, and kept sighing “There are too many – I have no idea which one to get.” We laughed at each other when we realised we were doing exactly the same thign. I wonder how many other times this scenario happened on that Sunday alone?
After a similar situation in front of the yoghurt section which I will not bore you with (apart from saying – there has to be other people out there who do not what “lite” yoghurt), we remembered to grab the lettuce and tomatoes – dear god. Living proof as to why there is still a healthy fruit and veg business in this country. Why fruit and veg shops like Harris Farm keep growing. I have never seen such dire, saggy, disgusting, inedible, vegetable-like things masquerading as items for sale before in my life. Everything was in shiny plastic bags – making sure everything had this ugly slimy sweat.
So just to go in and pick up a few things was such a horrible experience. And whose fault is it?
1) the toothbrush fiasco is the manufactures fault. In order to drive growth they keep making more and more and more. Instead, all you are doing is driving me crazy. You are not giving me what I want. I will not buy more toothbrushes because they vibrate. I will not buy more toothbrushes because they come in a “fun fluoro” 6 pack (I do not need to brush my teeth in the dark). This is a category (like so many others) that needs to be blown up and then start it again. From scratch.
2) The Fruit and Veg – no matter how many ads that say you are fresh food people (that’s both of you, not just the one with that slogan), to me you are “sweaty, slimy” food people. Your fruit and veg is pretty much the same price as the fruit and veg guy outside your store or across the road, and they are 100 times better. You also need to blow up your department and start again with your buying and storing ans while you are at it – get rid of the shiny over packaging.
I am so glad that I don’t have to go back there for another month or so.