The Basement is a Foreign Country

The place I work has a half-subterranean level, housing a liquor store and a grocery store. But early in the summer, the grocery store left.  A Buy-Low, they wouldn’t compete with the new chichi  IGA (both stores are owned by the same company) that opened up two blocks away.

The IGA is Yuppie Central.  Staples like milk are 20% more expensive than at Buy-Low.  They have little guides in the cheese section to tell you about the cheeses. And everything is so crowded! Wheelchair users, who shopped at Buy-Low easily in the wide aisles, can’t fit their chairs into IGA.

So I was excited that a No Frills (Loblaws’ bargain chain) moved in downstairs.

It’s cheap! The aisles are wide. There aren’t many specialty foods, but it’s a No Frills. That means no guide to flower-scented chevre, and I am okay with that.

The best part: I have never shopped in a No Frills store. It’s like I am visiting a foreign country and learning about foods I have never seen before. I love it!

4 Comments to “The Basement is a Foreign Country”

  1. By Arwen, August 20, 2009 @ 1:08 pm

    My god, I went to Costco the other day – just to look – and it was so cheap I almost barfed thinking of all the money I’ve spent on food. And then I thought “well, yes, but cheap groceries have a hidden cost”. Which is true if the choice is BRAND v. FARMER’S MARKET, but is it true at BRAND V. VERY SAME BRAND? Is the Safeway better to its workers than Costco? I doubt by much, given that Safeway’s hiring at minimum (so you’re paying minimum and union dues), and the raises come slowly…

    So, right. Costco it is. Because I probably (upon getting deep freezer) will go direct to farmer for a Big Meat Purchase, but until then $10 for three times as much chicken as at Safeway sounds like a good damn deal.

    Word Ver: viand SCOTT.

    Viand scot-free. Or at least, scot-cheaper. I had to go look scot-free up, BTW, because of your word verification, and it turns out it’s not actually a comment on the Scots, but in fact a Scandinavian word for “tax”.

  2. By Liz, August 20, 2009 @ 10:47 pm

    Huh, the scot thing, I totally didn’t know that. I always assumed it was to do with the cunning Highlanders or something.

    Re the cheap food, there’s always a hidden cost, but I can handle paying less for the same kidney beans or yoghurt that someone else will pay more for, but with different packaging.

    The meat? Not really sure about it. I’d like to be completely ‘happy meat’ from green pastures and whatnot, but I can’t always find what I need, when I need it, as happy as I want it to be.

  3. By cheesefairy, August 21, 2009 @ 7:12 pm

    Oh how I love grocery stores. So much. I don’t know if it’s the cheap scot in me or what but I just love them.

    We have safeways in our neighbourhood but a save on foods just opened and its isles are also perilously narrow. Seemed a strange design for a neighbourhood full of folks in wheeled devices.

    At costco, reggiano parmesan is $2.69/100g.(you have to buy a kilo, but why not, it’s already at least 4 years old, right?) At Safeway, Superstore, et al, $5+/100g.

    I knew a guy who worked at costco. He loved it.

  4. By Liz, August 21, 2009 @ 10:10 pm

    Holy Reggiano, batman! I’d buy a kilo of that.

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