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My Guilty Pleasure: Supermarkets

Friday, April 3, 2015 5:12
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(inner self)

I’m embarrassed to say it, but my
guilty pleasure is supermarkets.
I enjoy shopping for food.

by Henry Makow Ph.D.

Supermarkets are near the top of my list of things Western society got right.

I marvel at how Western society provides its population with a variety and abundance of food, cheaply and efficiently. Thousands of
products from all over the world are magically assembled and kept in stock on a daily basis.

Supermarkets perform this essential and beneficent task, and what thanks do they get? They are taken for granted.

The profit margin for the industry is 1-2%

Have you ever heard of anyone going to such an effort for such a small return? You might as well rank them with food banks. They are practically working for nothing.

Contrast that with Apple whose profit margin is close to 40%.  Most industries range from ten to twenty per cent. 


I do not take for granted that I can go into a supermarket and fill a big shopping cart with delicious fresh food, and that most people around me are doing the same thing. I love that they have bakeries producing fresh bread; deli counters; fish in tanks; international foods; bulk grains, nuts, raisins and chocolates. I love that you can find practically anything you want.

I shop at four or five supermarkets, going to a different one every day. In fact, often this is my outing. I like to see people. I still have an eye for an
attractive woman, although these are fewer and far between.

In my younger days, I perfected this pick-up line which I never had the nerve to use: Sidle up beside a lithesome young thing putting mushrooms in a bag, and say to her: “That’s enough.” 

I find different supermarkets have a different vibe based on the customers they attract. I confess I shop at Walmart. The customers there are the most indifferent and least considerate of other customers. They are mostly working poor. Based on this, I developed the thesis that social skills are a big factor in success.

Safeway is most upscale. Superstore – it depends on the time you shop. Costco is always mind blowing because of the vast quantities. The well paid employees in their street clothes and the entrepreneur customers give off a positive vibe. (I once asked a Costco employee what was the best flat screen TV, and he recommended one they didn’t carry!)

I go to different supermarkets because they have some unique items.  Recently I found the perfect pork pot stickers at Superstore.   Walmart has an
unbelievable Thai soup base in a can. It allows me to make soups the equal of any Thai restaurant.

My wife is a techie who doesn’t like to shop or cook. I can’t read instructions, let alone follow them. We complement each other.

Recently, I had an idea which I freely give to the Supermarket industry. Supermarkets ought to imitate Best Buy where customers can review the computers or TV’s on their website. I’d like to read reviews of food products. For example, I’d like to know what customers think of different frozen hamburger brands. I don’t want to have to try them all.
As you see, I like food. Good food lifts my spirits.  A bad meal depresses me. I can ask myself, “what do you feel like eating?” and usually rustle it up. Being able to eat is essential, but being able to eat what you want, when you want is a special kind of freedom.

I invite you to send me a short email describing your guilty pleasure. I will post.

Have a nice Easter Long Weekend!



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