Thursday, April 30, 2009

My guide to the supermarkets in Tegucigalpa

1. No smiling allowed. Ever.
2. Feel free to take your time reading labels. But make sure you leave your cart in the middle of the aisle so no one else can pass through. And when they say disculpe, give them a really mean look.
3. Don't "look both ways" before you cross to another aisle. And if someone hits you, or vice versa, give them a death stare.
4. Be prepared to spend at least an hour inside. Why? It takes forever to find what you need (see note below about how things are organized) and then you have to wait in line. Forever.
5. If the supermarket has received a shipment of something that you like, for example cherry pie filling, buy a lot. And by a lot, I mean the whole pallet. Because it might be a whole year before they have it again.
6. Don't bother with a list, because they won't have half of the things on it. And then you'll have to rework your entire weekly menu (while you stand in the middle of an aisle and block other customers, of course) because they didn't have the ingredients that you needed to make the meals for 3 different nights.

How are things organized in the supermarket?
I still haven't completely figured this one out. And the logic changes depending on the store. But here's what I've found so far...

You know how things just logically go together in the supermarket? Like, canned tomatoes should go with the rest of the canned vegetables, right? Well, not here. Take the canned tomatoes, for example. Yesterday I searched up and down the canned veggie aisle. Nothing. In the end I found them next to the tomato sauces.

Baking goods are never all in the same place. Flour is in one aisle, usually with the rice. Sugar is in the same aisle as the coffee. And brown sugar? If they have it, it's usually in some random place. Last time it was with the pancake mix (which is in another aisle) because hey, they are both in boxes, right?

Peanut butter is usually with the nuts, and not with the other spreads/jams. Mayonaise and mustard? Not with the ketchup. Because why? The ketchup goes in what I call the "tomato aisle" with the canned tomatoes and tomato sauce.

Ah, and I should mention that some sauces, like Ragu, are kept in a completely different aisle labeled "import products." Even though most of the products in the grocery are imported.

Usually all of the dairy products are together. Except for in La Colonia where the milk and yogurt is in one aisle, while the butters and creams and some cheeses are across the store. Then other types of cheeses are with the sandwich meat. ?

And eggs? Sometimes they are by the chicken. Because why? Duh, eggs come from chickens. In other stores they are by the bread. Why? No clue. Maybe because they are a fragile item like the bread?


heidi said...

Sounds scary! LOL You put on your battle gear before you head out, right?

Lofchie Family said...

Hannah, we are moving to Tegus this August. This is probably the most informative post that I have read in all my research! Seriously, you can learn a lot about a place by how the supermarkets are stocked and organized. Keep up these informative posts.

Laurie said...

When I lived in Comayagua, I had trouble locating items, especially milk. Boxed milk could be anywhere, although usually in the produce aisle. And refriguerated milk was usually in a random site, as well, not always with with the other dairy products. The logic can be intriguing. Did you notice eggs are never refrigerated?

Olancho Bound Gringa said...

You made me laugh this morning with this post. Although, I suppose your not laughing when you're shopping! I love your "Real" day to day adventures. Thanks for sharing!

*Oh, is the smiling thing because they think you are interested? Here, I've noticed if you smile, just a friendly way the Spanish men think you interested in them! And, being a Southern Girl, the smile is hard to control.

gus81 said...

Interesting analysis jeje, I wonder how things are organized in other parts of the world, say Japan or India.

I mean depending on the food you're preparing I guess one type of organization would seem more convenient than the other...

keep up the posts.

Trisha and Kelly said...

I suppose I am getting spoiled in Costa Rica. While it does take me forever to shop (mainly b/c I don't know Spanish yet), the markets are very organized and well stocked. The people are nice and they even say excuse me. Even though we've been here just one week, it has already occurred to me several times that I will miss doing things, such as walking to the farmer's market on Saturday.

Love and miss you bunches. When (and if) we ever get Internet at home, we'll talk about when you and Jose might be able to come visit us.

Jim & Dawn said...

Hi! Like your supermarket post! My husband and I live in La Ceiba and he does most of the shopping so I wil be sure to send him your link. We have a blog as well

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