Looking for things in stores that suddenly don’t carry them

Published 11:31 pm Saturday, June 23, 2007

I have a pet peeve with stores, especially the big-box kind.

Once upon a time before department stores and big-box stores appeared on the scene, if you found a product at a store and continued to buy it, the store would continue to carry it. You knew the proprietor and the proprietor knew you.

Today, if you know someone that works at the big-box store, it’s just someone you know. They have little, and probably no, influence on the products the store carries. If you find something you like, cross your fingers and hope the store will continue to carry it. If they drop it, you don’t know enough people to get them to bring it back.

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I can’t count the number of times that has happened to me and it has happened again. In my effort to snack on more healthful foods, I have taken to purchasing cut up vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, etc., on which to snack.

My preferred veggie dip is a horseradish dip. I like hot. Well, the big-box store that carried it suddenly no longer carries it. They have all kinds of other veggie dips, but I want my horseradish dip. I have been on a search through other stores in the area to find that one, or another, horseradish veggie dip, but so far no luck.

I am really miffed at the big-box store. It has given me another reason to find somewhere else to shop. When I find a horseradish dip in another store, that will be one less, and probably several less products, I will purchase at the big-box store. I have dropped it for a great many things already and am steadily trying to move away from it altogether.

Suddenly not carrying a product it had been carrying is only one of several beefs I have with the monster stores. Let me mention a few others.

Have you ever stood in line while a clerk scanned every single product in a basket, not listening to the customer when he or she says they have so many of the same thing and it would be quicker to multiply? The clerk, if he or she responds, says every product has to be scanned so they know how much of this or that has to be ordered and how soon to order it.

Horse feathers.

That’s just a another big-box store tall tale. The manager is going to order the same number of a product this month that he ordered last month, no matter how quickly something sells out, and customers are left staring at empty shelf space and products that are not their preference.

My favorite hot sauce is one of many victims of that idiocy that I have run into at the big-box store and at nearly every other large grocery store in which I have shopped. Certain types and makes of bread are another of the victims of this idiocy, along with my favorite “no-sugar-added” ice-cream sandwiches. There’s always plenty of the inferior store brand.

The list is a long one of such bait-and-switch situations.

Then there is the matter of things being moved around. You push your basket past all the obstacles that are continually thrown in your path, another of my gripes, and arrive at the location from which you have loaded your basket with a certain product for years. Your jaw drops. You look around. You know you are in the right place. Why the particular product you seek has been here forever. It was here last week!

Not any longer. For some reason that exists only in the mind of the store manager, he or she has decided to cast a little unwanted excitement into your day. Never mind that you have been working all day and are tired and hungry and just want to get your shopping done and get home.

Now you have to take time to search for the products you came after, or even go to another store. You’ll be late. Supper will be cold, or lukewarm at best, or maybe not even begun because it depended on what you were to bring home. Your spouse will scowl at you. She’s tired and hungry, too. No excuses are accepted, no prisoners taken.

I have read where the big-box and other large stores don’t understand why some of us try to swear off shopping at them. They ought to examine their practices, including having enough people who know where things are to help you find what you are seeking.

When the big super stores first began appearing, everybody, including me, thought great, now I can just go one place and get everything I want.

Now I wish they would go away and the smaller stores and specialty shops would return. That some smaller stores and specialty shops continue to thrive is a testimony to the failures of the monster stores.

Now, if I could only find my horseradish veggie dip and a dependable supply of my favorite hot sauce. I think I will check the smaller grocery stores.