mercredi 16 janvier 2013

Monoprix and the flow of food items.

I love pita bread. I average 1 pita bread/day, either as an embracer for sandwich fixings, a base for low-cal pizza, or--my personal favorite--pita chips. (Cut up a pita into quadrants, separate the layers, spray with PAM and bake 8 minutes until crispy. Serve with salsa and 4% crème fraîche. It's my standard starter course).

But a crisis has occurred at Monoprix. There is no longer any pita to be found on the shelves. At first I thought it was an inventory snafu; I was sure that during a future trip to the store, I'd find my flatbread in its usual spot stocked between the brioche and the pain au lait. But still no pita when I returned a week later! Maybe they had moved the little round bread to a special head-of-aisle display; maybe there was some kind of "Highlight of the Foods of the Mediterreanean" promotion going on? On my third trip--three weeks into my quest--I asked the fellow stocking the breads: "What's going on with the pita?" I inquired. "The what?" "The pita. You know, that circular pocket bread that is usually placed here on your shelves" "No idea. I am The Responsible for Harry's," he answered. (Harry's is an ersatz-American line of what the French think sandwich bread looks like.)

Six weeks later, and I have now been to every Monoprix within walking distance of home and work. Pita has become an obsession. My colleagues, eager for the Pita Update, greet me with "Find any yet?" each morning. "The pita problem persists," I scowl as I put away my lunch in the office fridge. (A lunch lacking in sandwich for obvious reasons.) I mull over possible reasons for the pita shortage. "Maybe it is a boycott. Maybe it is France's response to the crisis in Syria?" I asked a friend. "But pita is Greek, or at least common to ALL mediterreanean countries. You still should be able to find it, despite the Syrian situation," he countered. Hmmm. Pita is not being used as a political pawn, I guess.

Withdrawal was setting in. I had to take desperate measures. I ventured into the Franprix, another supermarket I detest. Not only is the food bad quality, but the market itself is filthy. The only redeeming quality of a Franprix is that it sometimes carries odd, off-the-beaten-track foods. Food no Monoprix shopper would want.

Yes, they had pita. Not a genuine pita, mind you (this one is manufactured in a Paris suburb rather than in the Mediterreanean basin) but a pita nonetheless.

This pita incident is not an isolated one.  Among the many things that drive me crazy about Monoprix is their Food Item Inventory Control Master Plan To Make Me Nuts.  Items that in a normal world aren't rare, or even seasonal...yet they still can't get a handle on keeping them on the shelf at all times.   It is not uncommon to go to the baking aisle and be unable to find something as mundane as vanilla extract.  (In fact, vanilla extract seems to fly off the shelf at Monoprix at an alarming rate.  I've taking to stocking up on it.  That's a sad statement.)  Same thing with something as run-of-the-mill as diet 7up. Diet 7up!  It's not like it's a rare vodka imported from Russia that is only available during the holiday season!  Who sells out of Diet 7up for weeks at a time?  Monoprix, that's who.

Guess what else they can't manage to restock?
 Kidney beans.  Not available because they just aren't in season at this time of year, or so they'd like us to believe.

See that vast empty space next to the chickpeas?  In a NORMAL store, that space would be occupied by kidney beans.  But not at Monoprix.  Kidney beans are now the rare food item, which, once sold, can never be replenished.  No chili tonight, my friends.

They didn't even have the courtesy to put up their "UNAVAILABLE DUE TO CRISIS IN KIDNEY BEAN KINGDOM" sign,  (Here it is indicating something gone wrong in green bean land.)

Don't believe that "momentarily out of stock" bit featured on the sign.  If this is anything like the pita crisis, we won't be seeing green beans until summer.

dimanche 13 janvier 2013

Bonne Année

How thoughtful of my local supermarket to position the alcohol breathalyzer tests next to the New Year's Eve party supplies.  That's what I call one-stop shopping!