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New Stop and Shop organization. - Qualified Perceptions
New Stop and Shop organization.
For shopping that's small enough to carry, I'll usually stop by the Porter Square Star on the way home. For car-worthy shopping (i.e. Thanksgiving), I've started to go to the Super Stop and Shop off the McGrath. On the plus side, it always has parking, and it's always been un-crowded enough that one doesn't have to play passing games with the other carts.

On the minus side, their store organization seems to be infested with feuds, which makes things hard to find - because they're subdivided into multiple places for no apparent reason. For example, I needed two cups of pecans. I went to the baking aisle (having been trained by Star). Sure enough, there were nuts there. Mostly walnuts, but there were the little teeny 1/4 cup bags of pecans. Not really ideal. And also the extra-expensive bag of Organic Pecans. Well, okay. I pick it up. I wander further, and there is an end-cap on that aisle, with carboard tubs of pecans. But they don't have prices, so I can't tell whether they're better or worse. Later, in the vegetable section, there are nuts stashed around here and there in shelves under the vegetables, in clear plastic tubs. No pecans, though. Oh well. Yet later, I encounter the aisle with snacks and nuts. There are salted nuts here, but also a duplicate of the baking-nuts section, except instead of 1/4 cup pecan bags, there are 2-cup pecan bags.

I had the same trouble looking for golden raisins and dried cranberries. There are little stashes of raisin snacks and cherry-flavored craisins and chocolate covered craisins all over the vegetable section like buried treasure. And tubs of dried mangos, and dried apricots, and enough dried fruit that it seems like this is maybe where I should be looking. Though "carefully comb the shelves under the produce section" is never my favorite way of finding anything; there's nothing like the sorting there is for the actual fruits and vegetables, they've just stashed things wherever they fit. But in the end, the golden raisins are not near the raisins or the chocolate-covered raisins or the yogurt-covered raisins, they're in the previously mentioned nuts and snacks section, which is where the non-cherry-flavored dried cranberries are, as well.

I understand that sorting is hard. I can sympathize with their not knowing where to put something. But for the love of God, if you don't know where to put something, don't file it in all the places you can think of! I want to be able to definitely say "I found the place that it would be and it was there, or they don't have it." I don't want to feel compelled to search the entire store in case the pecans are filed with baking supplies and snacks and produce and things that start with P.

And I never did find the crystallized ginger. If they carry it. How would I be able to tell?

Current Mood: angry exasperated

11 comments or Leave a comment
From: readsalot Date: November 21st, 2005 03:54 pm (UTC) (Link)
I think the problem isn't feuds so much as it is that suppliers can pay a supermarket for stock locations, so either the people who supply the nuts are paying only to put them in the area you're not looking, or they're not paying enough and the store is taking revenge on them.

I do a lot of my dried-fruit and nut shopping at Trader Joe's, which has a wide variety and seems to have decent prices (though I haven't compared lately). For crystallized ginger, you definitely want Trader Joe's, because the supermarkets tend to only have tiny containers for which they charge you way too much money. At Trader Joe's you can pay the same amount as you do at a supermarket for a giant tub of the stuff.
firstfrost From: firstfrost Date: November 21st, 2005 03:59 pm (UTC) (Link)
Hmm. I hadn't been thinking of it from the point of view of the suppliers. The end-cap pecans and the produce tubs-of-nuts and the baking-type-bags and the organic bags are all different brands. But the 1/4 cup bags and the 2-cup bags are the same brand, and those were in different places!

(Yeah, TJ is where I'd get nuts by choice. For "drat, it's already 10pm and I need a bunch of stuff" I was hoping for only one trip. :) )
chenoameg From: chenoameg Date: November 21st, 2005 04:34 pm (UTC) (Link)
By when do you need the beets?
firstfrost From: firstfrost Date: November 21st, 2005 04:36 pm (UTC) (Link)
By Wednesday evening would be good.
chenoameg From: chenoameg Date: November 21st, 2005 04:42 pm (UTC) (Link)
Okee doke. I'll probably drop them off on your doorstep during the day Wednesday.
twe From: twe Date: November 21st, 2005 05:31 pm (UTC) (Link)
There's also a huge new Shaws over by Gore St/28, if you prefer their organization. I've never been in there, but it might be worth checking out.
treiza From: treiza Date: November 21st, 2005 05:50 pm (UTC) (Link)
I often have to ask one of the shelf stockers for stuff like that. at my supermarket, they're pretty helpful, and seem to have a pretty encyclopedic knowledge of where stuff is, since they're pretty much stocking every single day. your supermarket stocker milage may vary...
kirisutogomen From: kirisutogomen Date: November 22nd, 2005 05:05 pm (UTC) (Link)
Of course, ideally everything would be everywhere, so you would always find a thing regardless of where you looked for it. If someone were to make the mistake of attempting to move in that direction, however, you could end up with your thing.

I suspect you chose items that they have special trouble placing. I think you probably sell more stuff if you sort by verb rather than noun. I.E., you gotta put snacking things together, and baking things together, and thus pecans get split up. Then it's a minor error to put the unsalted 2 cup bag with the wrong pecan subset; maybe not even an error, because the people who want the store organized by nouns want all pecans there.

I'm assuming here that shoppers are either hunters or gatherers. The hunters have a list, and they want to track down and capture each item. Sorting by noun is the way to please them; they want the salted pecans next to the unsalted pecans, and all pecans to be in a section for nuts.

Gatherers show up with a vague idea, "I'd like to do some baking. Oh, and we should have some snacks." They want salted pecans with the salted peanuts and the cherry-flavored-chocolate-yogurt-coated-dried-mangoes, but the unsalted pecans should go with the golden raisins and the whisks.

I suspect the end-cap problem to be the result of suppliers paying for visibility.

Burying the wasabi-coated espresso beans on a shelf under the arugula is just stupid, though.
firstfrost From: firstfrost Date: November 22nd, 2005 05:17 pm (UTC) (Link)
I suspect you chose items that they have special trouble placing.

Well, yes, I didn't remark on finding the hams in the Place Where All The Hams Are. :) (But the sausages are in two places!)

I wholly support putting the snacky nuts in a different section than the bakey nuts. The pecans were really the most gratuitous example, though, because snacky nuts and cooking nuts are packaged entirely differently, and were in different subsections. Snacking almonds are usually salted, sometimes smoke-flavored, and packaged in tubs and jars. Cooking almonds are sometimes sliced, sometimes blanched, always unsalted, and packaged in bags like chocolate chip bags. So snacks are in visble-front shelves, and cooking nuts are in shorter shelves with piles of bags, or hanging.

It's that they had two different "cooking nuts" sections, the contents 80% overlapping but with the pecans sorted between sections based on the size of the bag. :)
kirisutogomen From: kirisutogomen Date: November 23rd, 2005 04:34 pm (UTC) (Link)
Were the sausages in the barbecue section and the cheese section?

See, I don't support having a snacky nut section and a bakey nut section. I want to find some almonds and say, "Aha, I have located almonds. Wait, these are soot-flavored. I don't want that. Ah, here are some more. No, these have skins on them, and there's the danger of getting an unsightly brown papery thing in your teeth and spending all day wandering around with it stuck to your dentition and no one can bring themselves to mention it. Aha!! Slivered almonds. Perfect."

If they want to keep both you and me satisfied, they're going to have to duplicate all the almonds in both the baking zone and the snacking zone. Then someone comes along and buys all the 2 cup bags of pecans in the baking zone, and poor firstfrost is reduced to picking up bags containing maybe three pecans.
firstfrost From: firstfrost Date: November 23rd, 2005 04:45 pm (UTC) (Link)
The sausages were just at either end of the meat section. It might have been distinguishing between pre-cooked sausages and raw, I'm not sure. That wasn't actually difficult, though.

I would also be fine with having all the nuts in one place. It is only that I do not want to have the same *sort* of nuts divided mysteriously between two places by size, because I will *never* think "Hmm, I want a larger bag. Well, maybe those are in a different section."
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