to be able to go shopping this morning - one of those supermarket expeditions.
It is a regular Thursday morning chore - Thursdays because that is the day that the local independent supermarket chooses to discount "seniors" a little off their purchases.
I also shop in the same supermarket during the rest of the week. I don't do multiple trips by choice but by what I can carry in the tricycle basket. If I could drive and owned a car I would probably shop just once a week.
I would however still shop in the independent supermarket. I like it.
There is a larger, dimmer chain supermarket within a hundred metres - as the crow flies. It is filled with "own brand". You are "encouraged" to use the self-serve checkouts and it is deliberately laid out so that you have to traverse the entire store to get to essentials such as milk. The store recently put in a "sushi" bar - so as to compete with a tiny business in the shopping centre.
I do not go to the chain supermarket unless there is something I cannot get in the independent one.
Competition between the two is fierce. The chain supermarket sends at least two staff members in to check prices each morning. It would love to be rid of the competition.
But I want that competition to remain. I don't want that independent supermarket to die. It deserves to be there. It employs students and two people with disabilities. The people who work there are friendly.
There are occasional complaints that it is "more expensive to shop there". Is it really? They, like the greengrocer I favour, source as much local stock as possible. It's their policy. Last year a campaign by them saved a small business from going under. The larger chain was sourcing an inferior product from abroad - and charging just two cents less. It now charges the same price - for the inferior product. The same can be said for many other things. The "own brand" appears cheaper at first but size and quality can make it just as expensive or even more expensive in the end. You buy more or you buy more often.
Both places will soon have more competition. There are plans to build a new, German based, supermarket on the opposite side of the road. The chain supermarket has complained about "unfair" competition coming into the area. The independent one is worried but the manager has said the owners don't want to change their policies of employing students and sourcing locally.
I hope they don't have to because I like it that way too. Today I will pedal out in the cold and damp and be glad that I have a friendly supermarket to visit that actually cares about the customer.