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Quotidia [Oct. 9th, 2005|12:31 am]
For the party we're going to tomorrow, I'm making a dish that has a bunch of stuff baked inside a pumpkin, and I bought one at the store but it had a hole in the bottom and would have leaked. So I had to go back and buy another.

Also, we went out and had japanese for dinner, and I ate udon that disagreed with me. Then we went shopping at the asian grocery store, mostly to get mirin, but we had to get other stuff because they have a $10 minimum on credit card purchases. Why is the produce there so much cheaper than at the regular supermarket? That's what I want to know.

We watched Doctor Who (third story in the Key To Time series) while the broken pumpkin was baking. And I played a bunch of Dynasty Tactics 2 today.

And I slept in, because I had to stay up late last night getting some code to run at my machine on work before they took the connections to the outside world down this morning at 6 am.

I think I made up a new word for my title, but I might keep it.

[User Picture]From: melted_snowball
2005-10-09 05:53 am (UTC)
I never know if people actually do want to know, but ...

The reason why produce is cheaper at Asian stores is typically a combination of two different factors: where in the store the profit is, and how the store chooses to make the compromise between spending money on making it seem nice to be at versus taking the money and running.

Mainstream grocery stores make their profit on prepared foods and produce. This is a consequence of a lot of trends, but one has been that eating fresh produce has gotten a [possibly not entirely deserved] reputation as being both the healthier and also the more classy thing to do over the past 20 years. [Meanwhile, canned and frozen veggies have gotten substantially cheaper, even tomatoes, which can beautifully.]

Last winter, Mark Bittman (the NYT's excellent food columnist, whose How to Cook Everything is the cookbook of the 1990s) did a funny column that basically summarized to "Gosh! Out of season "fresh" produce sucks compared to the good quality frozen stuff, and the frozen is much cheaper, too! I wonder why we all buy fresh nowadays? Could it be marketing?

So demand for fresh produce among white middle-class folk is high enough that stores can raise prices on that with minimal difficulty, making nice profits, and then have lower prices on milk to advertise.

This is different for Asian stores; many of their customers are most excited about getting the right kind of the staples from back home, or are white folks who have no idea what Asian staples ought to cost; moreover, if you live in a part of the world without Weggies, they may have a near-monopoly on those products. So you wind up with expensive rice, or mirin, or tamarind paste or whatever, but much of the produce is pretty cheap; that can even prompt folks to come there and then spend a lot on something else. Often this sort of situation lasts until the community gets really large, and a huge Asian megastore like the Uwajimayas in Seattle, or Super-88 in Boston or T&T's in Toronto moves in, but even then it may not have a completely market-changing effect, since lots of folks aren't willing to drive to the other side of town to buy their $20 in Asian staples.

And then the other factor just comes from how much money the store pays in general for its produce or for store upkeep: one local store here advertises that it gets produce deliveries 7 days a week. Well, that's fine, but I don't suppose they're the one picking up the extra tab...
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[User Picture]From: dr_tectonic
2005-10-10 11:12 am (UTC)
I actually did want to know that. Thanks!

I'm going to consciously work on buying more frozen/asian veggies to keep the grocery bill down, now that I know I won't be unwittingly buying, I dunno, stuff sprayed with anthrax to make it pretty colors or something.

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From: detailbear
2005-10-09 08:13 am (UTC)
It would appear to be a new word. I like it.
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[User Picture]From: zalena
2005-10-10 05:42 am (UTC)
You made a noun out of an adjective. Now make it into a verb.
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[User Picture]From: dr_tectonic
2005-10-10 11:14 am (UTC)
Quotidify. (Or quotidize, I suppose, but that rolls less trippingly.)
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[User Picture]From: 0nce_and_future
2005-10-11 02:39 pm (UTC)

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