The fruit and vegetable shop that I like is way dodgy. But it is also way cheap. I’m fairly sure they just haul all the produce out of the fridges in the morning, wack it out on display, then fill it during the day. Ashfield swarms in, takes everything, fails to line up properly at the cash registers, gets told off (or looks away smugly from a correct position in the line) and pays less than $20 for pretty much all the F&V they can carry. At the end of the day, anything left gets put in a plastic bag and then put out the next day for a ridiculously low price.
Other F&V shops probably keep all their stuff in the fridges for as long as possible, so they could be one hundred years old, but still look ok. The Ashfield F&V shop I like sells stuff that doesn’t always look great, but is always cheap. I’m also pretty sure they wouldn’t waste money refrigerating anything.
If you don’t get in there before lunch time, you won’t get any leafy Asian greens. They are snapped up quickly. They are always fresh and ridiculously cheap.
I think about the supermarket F&V when I’m in the shop I like, and how the supermarkets charge heaps more, sell stuff that looks ok, but is actually shithouse and lasts about 2 hours before devolving into sludge. I also think about the supermarket shoppers who don’t like the crowds in the other Ashfield F&V shops.
The Ashfield F&V shop I like is very crowded, but it is wheelchair and pram accessible (I know because there are a few regular wheelies who shop there when I do, and there’s always someone ramming a pram into the shop). The staff don’t smile, but they are actually really nice and very helpful. But don’t try to form a second line at the cash register. One line only!
There’s a lot of whole milk for sale there, and it took me a long time realise why people bought massive two and four litre jugs of it. For paneer.
I like shopping there, even though there’s nothing organic, and nothing particularly wonderful about the produce. But it’s no worse than stuff in all the other shops in Ashfield (Ashfield has four F&V shops, three supermarkets selling F&V and at least four mixed grocers selling Asian veggies). It’s cheap. And I don’t get attitude when I put my basket full of unbagged veggies onto the counter then pull my backpack open for the cashier to dump stuff straight in. They don’t give a shit.
But the supermarkets get really really shitty with me for not using their cashier counters exactly as designed. I don’t have perfectly sized calico or green bags purchased from their shop. I’m not buying the line that mass produced shitty bags are environmentally better. I am convinced that they’re a pain in the arse for cyclists with a good, solid backpack. They get shitty with me when I ask them to do the heavy things first, rather than in order of coldness. This stuff isn’t going to sit in the back of my 4WD for hours; it’s going straight home with me, right now, and will be in the fridge in 20 minutes time. They get really shitty with me when I hand them my credit card and let them do the button pushing while I pack my backpack properly. And the fact that I stand at the right hand side of the counter for the entire transaction, rather than moving through the little corridor, right to left, following the proper order, drives them CRAZY. The customers behind me go nuts because they can’t move forward in the queue.
The thing is, my approach to paying for groceries is quick, organised and efficient. I don’t take longer than anyone else. I’m certainly quicker and more efficient than most people. It’s just that I’m not following the rules. That drives people nuts.
But in the F&V shop I like, people expect chaos and rule breaking, so they don’t mind my taking a novel approach. I’m not pushing in, and I’m not breaking the line up rule (here! one line only!). I’m quick and efficient. The service in this shop is lightning fast, and standing in the line is always interesting. People tend not to get as shitty there as they do in the supermarket, even when they’re the same person. I know I don’t.