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Friday, January 2, 2015

No Eggs?

I experienced a first today.  I couldn't find over half of my grocery list in the store.  No eggs, butter, salad, lettuce, fresh herbs, sliced bread...  I could go on and on because if I wanted it, they didn't have it.  Potatoes.   This is Russia.  They always have piles of root vegetables still thick with mud from the field yet there was not even a stray, rotten one to be found.
I have this happen all the time here with one or two items so I guess I've come to expect that I will have to do a bit of adaptation in my food preparation, but this really took me by surprise.  For instance, I've been looking for fresh broccoli and cauliflower for weeks with no success.  I have a recipe sitting on my counter that I really have been looking forward to trying that will just continue to wait until I can actually find these two vegetables.
I didn't walk into the store and immediately realize that they were low on stock.  Every bin looked brimming full.  The shelves were full.  Nothing was picked over from the holidays.  So where the eggs typically are there was boxed milk.  It's how I've noticed they handle empty shelves here, they just fill them with what they do have in the back room.  There were no stock people pulling huge pallets of goods to be shelved as is often the case in this grocery store.
I don't think this is an actual supply and demand problem, rather I think it's the mentality of the managers.  They had years and years of low supplies.  I have listened to stories of people who stood in line for hours because the word on the street was that one grocery store had just gotten a supply of toilet paper.  Women filled their day with going from store to store just to wrestle up enough items to put a meal together.  I know this hasn't happened only in Russia, my Cuban friend has similar stories to tell.  My only fear is that one day I will walk into the store and all they will have is boxed milk!
I'm a little put out this morning realizing that I now have to go to several more stores today so we can eat.  It reminds me of times back home when I would hit several grocery stores in one morning.  At that time I was driving a car and could easily map out my route to be done quickly and efficiently.  I did it purely because prices for one thing might be better at a certain store, or they had a particular brand that I liked.  It was so easy to pull in and run in.  Now I'm trudging through dirty, slushy sidewalks pulling my granny cart behind me.
I made an announcement after the failed grocery trip.  I'm going to Shake Shack for lunch.