My Guilty Pleasure: Supermarkets
May 8, 2016
I'm embarrassed to say it, but my
guilty pleasure is supermarkets.
I enjoy shopping for food.
On Mother's Day,
Supermarkets are near the top of my list of things Western society got right.
I marvel at how society provides people with a variety and abundance of food, cheaply and efficiently. Thousands of products from all over the world are magically assembled and kept in stock on a daily basis.
What thanks do supermarkets get for performing this beneficence? Like Mom, they're taken for granted.
Their profit margin is 1-2% .
Have you heard of anyone going to such an effort for such a small return? They're practically working for nothing. They may as well be food banks.
Contrast this with Apple whose profit margin is close to 40%. Most industries range from ten to twenty per cent.
THE SUPERMARKET EXPERIENCE
I do not take for granted that I can fill a big shopping cart with delicious fresh food, and most people around me are doing the same thing. I love that supermarkets have bakeries; delis; cheeses; sea food; international foods; bulk items and practically anything you want.
I shop at many different supermarkets. In fact, this is usually my daily outing. I like to see people. I still have an eye for an attractive woman. In my younger days, I perfected this supermarket pick-up line which I never used: Sidle up to a nubile young thing who is putting mushrooms in a bag and say: "That's enough."
Supermarkets have a different vibe based on the customers they attract. Walmart shoppers are the least considerate of other customers. They're mostly working poor. Based on this, I developed the thesis that good social skills are a big factor in success.
My Safeway is the most upscale. At Superstore, customers differ depending on the time and day. The vast quantities at Costco are always mind blowing. Their well-paid employees and the successful customer-members exude an upbeat vibe.
Supermarkets each have some unique items. Recently, I found the perfect pork pot stickers at Superstore. Walmart has an incredible canned Thai soup base which allows me to make soups the equal of any restaurant.
My wife is a techie who doesn't like to shop or cook. On the other hand, I can't read or follow instructions. We complement each other.
Recently, I had an idea which I give the Supermarket industry in appreciation. Stores ought to have a website where customers can review their products. For example, I'd like to know what customers think of different frozen hamburger brands. I don't want to test them all. This would be a
great way for supermarkets to get constant feedback.
Good food lifts my spirits. A bad meal depresses me. I can ask, "what do I feel like having?" and usually can rustle it up. Eating is essential, but being able to eat what you want, when you want is a special kind of freedom.
I invite you to send a short email describing your guilty pleasure. Or tell me what else Western society got right. I will post.
Have a nice Mother's Day!