Monday, November 22, 2010

A 'Focused Experience'

A few weeks ago on the New York Times website, I saw the headline In These Lean Days, Even Stores Shrink. The first line of the story read, “Some retailers are cutting the size of stores and inventory to limit costs and provide a focused shopping experience.” What a blessing this will be!

The grocery store nearest my house is big enough that it is hard to complete the shopping in less than an hour, even when I don’t need all that much in terms of regular groceries. When we first moved here, there was a smaller grocery store nearby that I liked much better. It offered fewer brands, which were arrayed on fewer aisles, so I could get through the shopping in less than thirty minutes.

The headline also reminded me of how gardening provides a nicely focused shopping experience. When I am out in the yard “shopping” for supper, I can choose only what is ready to harvest. Currently, I can choose from the bok choy, parsley, cilantro, lettuces, chicory, beer radishes and turnips that are ready for eating now.

Soon, the bok choy will be gone, but broccoli, carrots and chard will be ready. The good news is that the veggies in my yard look – and taste - a lot better than the ones in the grocery store, so the difference in kinds of produce available isn’t as large as it first seems.

I can also shop from the baskets of sweet potatoes, the basket of garlic, the ping pong table that is still loaded with tomatoes, and the jars on shelves and freezer-containers of produce put away for the winter. This kind of focused shopping really limits costs!

When I finally clicked on the link to the rest of the article, it turned out that the story was about clothing and department stores, but I can still dream that someone will apply the concept to grocery stores.


  1. I agree with you, smaller more focused markets are better. Yes, growing veggies tastes so much better!!

  2. Erin and meemsync,

    Thanks for the kind notes. There must be people in the world who like the big store experience, but I don't know any. My husband says that grocery shopping is "all that remains of the hunt," but that hasn't ever made it any more fun for me. And, I do like my home-grown veggies!

  3. Once upon a time, I lived about a block from a small independent grocery and I could (and did) walk there for most of my grocery needs. Now, my closest grocery stores are big, carry-most-everything stores, but I shop most of the time at Aldi - for low prices and the small store, not too many choices, quick in-and-out shopping.


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