Wednesday, November 02, 2005


Back from NY. There are pictures, which I will put online somewhere once I bother to get them off the camera.

In the meantime, could someone plese explain to me why Ithaca, a community of 50,000 people, including 20,000 college students can support a frou-frou grocery store which is nearly as impressive as Central Market in San Antonio, but the best Champaign-Urbana can do is Schnucks and Meijer (and I'm not all that impressed by Schnucks). OK, I haven't looked extensively at Strawberry Fields, but it's tiny, and I think about half of it is taken up with the homopathic remedies, aromatherapy, and other snake oil. I mean, if I can get fourteen kinds of fresh mozarella in upstate NY at 3 am, how come I can't find something halfway as decent in C-U?


Jon said...

and why is it that a place like Strawberry Fields can charge exuberant amounts for their shit, and people line up around the block? I may work there, but I do not support their gouging of prices.

We have figured that it would almost be cheaper to drive to Chicago and do grocery shopping monthly than to pay the high costs here. Groceries cost more here for some reason. This town totally bites.

Narc said...

There really is a weird phenomenon in that, if you underprice your stuff, it won't sell. It will be perceived of lower quality regardless of how good or bad it is. Taco Bell ran into this a while ago. As I recall, they used to be really, really cheap. They weren't selling very well, and raised their prices without changing the food much. Bingo, increase in sales.

I haven't shopped at SF much, but I expect much of their stuff is organic. Organic food tends to be slightly less attractive than non-organic food, e.g. the apples are unwaxed and might have small blemishes on them. So if they're priced the same as at a regular grocery store, they might not sell as well. Put them back to back, and people might think, "Hmm, the price is the same, but these ones over here look crappy." So they raise the price a bit so people feel like they're getting some added benefit.

Plus, they target the (ahem) granola crowd, who is probably used to paying a bit more for natural food items. I won't comment on the crushed ragweed leaf capsules or the extract of the Himalayan munga-munga plant.