We’re still having snow and frost and may actually be getting more snow overnight. It’s supposed to thaw on Sunday, though.
Grocery shopping today was truly an exercise in frustration. I had to drive to five different grocery stores (plus one drugstore) to get everything I needed. I’ve noticed stock problems in several grocery stores of late with even common items such as oat flakes, spring onions and canned tomatoes mysteriously out of stock. It’s probably due to the weather conditions delaying trucks and the like. And the lack of spring onions in pretty much every local supermarket chain may well be due to the frost having destroyed the harvest. But oat flakes and canned tomatoes are not affected by current harvesting problems.
At the Kaufland branch I frequent, I really lost my patience. I was very happy when Kaufland took over a defunct Wal-Mart branch (the German grocery market proved too tough for Wal-Mart, who picked up their toys and went home, when their tactics didn’t work here), because they were often cheaper than the competition and their selection was huge. In Germany, grocery stores usually come in two varieties, cheap but limited selection of mostly housebrands or a big selection but considerably more expensive. Hence, I was happy about Kaufland as a sort of compromise between the two, because it meant that I could pick up cheap staple goods and brandname or more uncommon products in one go. Plus, the queues at their cash registers are never long, which can be a problem in many other chains.
But my local Kaufland branch has been on the decline for a while. Less selection in their formerly excellent fish and vegetable departments as well as elsewhere, products past their sell-by date showing up on the shelves with increasing frequency and the like. Tonight then I first found some moldy tomatoes in the vegetable departments (as well as no spring onions – again – nor any sweet potatoes which they used to carry), then a package of sausage past its sell-by date, no canned tomatoes for the second week in a row (I can actually get canned tomatoes anywhere, but Kaufland is up to fifty cents cheaper than the competition) and I got angry. Normally, the check out clerk asks you whether you’ve been satisfied with your shopping experience, but this time she didn’t. So I walked up to the information desk and told the lady there, “I’m sorry, but your store has really been declining of late.”
I got some excuses, including the following response to my pointing out that sweet potatoes haven’t been available at their store for months now: “But sweet potatoes are a seasonal product.” Me: “Yes, and they are in season now.” The lady also gave me a bottle of Rotkäppchen champagne as a sort of consolation for an unsatisfying shopping experience.
I also made oatflake cranberry cookies (that’s what I needed the oat flakes for).
Finally, New York Magazine has a very good interview with Anne Rice (found via Vampire Wire). Anne Rice is of interest to my PhD, so this interview was a very helpful find. A bit too much focus on religion IMO (I no more care for Anne Rice’s religion than for Stephenie Meyer’s nor any other writer’s, unless it is somehow relevant to my research), but some good quotes as well. And I actually like her casting choices for her characters.