February 21, 2006

Milk of Human Annoyance

No RoomI know I am easily annoyed, but it really gets to me when someone has designed something well, and then someone else goes and messes it up.

In the local Stop & Shop supermarket (which was recently rebuilt) they have a huge open area for milk and eggs in the back of one corner of the store. The wide aisle there and the long wall-space taken up by dairy allows people to approach from many angles, even when a few people are already standing and staring at the milk. It’s very efficient for swooping in, grabbing the gallon of milk you already know you want and getting right out of there.

However, our local market has decided to screw that all up. In the past, they have put about 4 shopping carts of discounted goods just under two carriage widths from the milk, forming a new, narrow corridor which you had to navigate if you wanted to get to the milk.

The effect of this arrangement was that people wanting milk had to enter the corridor at one end, then either back out or continue forward. This would have been bad enough on its own, but it gets much worse if you have someone decide to push their shopping cart through the corridor, blocking it. Now you have the situation where the corridor is long enough that one person enters, then two people approach from either end. Traffic is stuck until the ends move, and you have other people outside the corridor waiting to get anywhere near the milk.

To remedy the problem, I would sometimes move the carriages. At first I would simply space them apart o people could navigate between them. Then I took to completely pushing them out of the way. I figured that the market might get the message.

I was wrong. Now they have set up temporary shelving units where the carriages were. I was reluctant to take a picture with a lot of people in it, so the one provided with this post is a rare moment when there are no people trying to get milk. I understand that they want to move the discounted items. But they don’t mind inconveniencing you in the process. On the positive side, they’ve moved these shelves slightly farther from the wall, and slid them down away from the eggs. But the same traffic jams occur.

Thanks, Stop & Shop. Maybe they want us to buy our 2.5 gallons/week of milk elsewhere.

Posted by James at February 21, 2006 9:58 AM
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There's a store sort of near us that has a fantastic meat dept. Their poultry and fish depts. are also fab; nice selections, including fresh (read: not previously frozen) fish and duck! It's almost like having a butcher. What's the down side?

Ah, yes. The down side.

How about HUGE carriages that make traffic in the aisled a nightmare? I dislike shopping there, but when you have to, you have to.

Posted by: Patti M. at February 21, 2006 10:40 AM

By the way, I wonder if there's a code violation in the way they've narrowed the aisle.

In Cambridge and Somerville, corridors/hallways in an office must be a minimum of 3" wide to allow for unimpeded exit, but I don't know if there are these types of regs for supermarkets.

Worth a look.

Posted by: Patti M. at February 21, 2006 10:42 AM

I don't think 3" is wide enough.

Posted by: Wag at February 21, 2006 11:02 AM

For years now I've had my milk delivered weekly by Crescent Ridge Dairy (http://www.crescentridge.com) out of Sharon. The milk is fresh and comes in glass bottles. They also have excellent chocolate milk (so rich I use only 1/3 with 2/3 plain skim!), ice cream, and tons of other products. Yes, it's a little more expensive, and you do pay $3 for delivery, but the convenience, quality, and service can't be beat. If you ever decide to give it a try, let me know, because I get a "free breakfast" (milk, OJ, coffee, English muffins, butter, eggs, bacon) for referring you! :-)

Posted by: Karen at February 21, 2006 11:05 AM

I would love to have dairy stuff delivered to my house! Alas, they don't deliver in New Bedford (or Somerset, for that matter). :-(

Posted by: Julie at February 21, 2006 11:09 AM

Monroe Dairy deliers to Somerset, but not NB.

Posted by: Patti M. at February 21, 2006 11:42 AM

Hmmm. The possibility of not having to worry about picking up milk on the way home... Thanks for the suggestions!

Posted by: James at February 21, 2006 12:41 PM

I'd love to get milk delivered from a local dairy, vegetables from a CSA, and meat from "Tony's Finest In Meats" on Broad St. But there are a few problems.

1. Most of that stuff is too expensive for me. Maybe in a few years when my wife is making more money and my house is paid down I can afford it.

2. I can't cook worth a damn, so chances are most of that stuff would get thrown out. I consider it a huge victory that I rarely go out for fast food or go to restaurants just because I don't feel like cooking anymore... but my meals still consist almost entirely of bagels, coffee and juice for breakfast, a turkey sandwich and crackers for lunch, and pasta or burgers for dinner. But again, in a few years I'm hoping I'll actually have the time to learn to cook proper food.

3. A lot of that stuff isn't availible in my area. I can buy Rhody Fresh milk at the supermarket (all organic from local dairy farms) but I don't think I could get it delivered. Most of the CSAs are in South County or Tiverton and I'm not sure if I can get deliveries to South Providence.

Posted by: DG at February 21, 2006 12:41 PM

Ooooh. Dairy delivered milk. I'll have to see what I can find out here in Escondido. Could solve our volume problems, too. We go through about 1.5 gallons in a week. Stores out here jack up the price of a gallon and then "discount" if you buy two at once. So it is cheaper for us to buy 2 at a time and waste the half gallon we don't use. I hate wasting.

Posted by: briwei at February 21, 2006 1:54 PM

No discounts here, or coupons either, but I'd say we go through three gallons a week. I haven't had delivered milk since I was a kid. Back then, I don't know if things have changed, it tasted different depending on what the cows were eating. I like my milk to always taste the same. I get used to it, and then any difference tastes weird to me.

Posted by: Maggie at February 21, 2006 2:08 PM

The milk from cows who're eating grass does indeed taste different than milk from those who are eating hay.

To that point, milk in glass tastes best, milk in plastic tastes like plastic, and milk in cartons is ok.

I can't wait for the organic farm near my house to open; they carry glass bottles of milk from a local dairy--Balance Rock Farm. My god, their whole milk is good!

Posted by: Patti M. at February 21, 2006 2:24 PM

I can detect differences in milk even from supermarket milk (although not if the milk comes from plastic bottles (yuck)). That being said I drink very little milk straight. Mostly it's in coffee or cereal. I've actually grown to like flavored soy milk for drinking straight, although I still can't drink the unflavored stuff.

Posted by: B.O.B. (bob) at February 21, 2006 2:40 PM

I don't know what Garelick feeds their cows, but I had to stop buying their milk because it never tasted right. It didn't taste spoiled; it just didn't taste good.

I don't even like the *look* of soy milk, never mind the taste, but it is okay for making pudding and such.

Posted by: Julie at February 21, 2006 3:27 PM

Mmm...chocolate soy milk...yuuuuuuummmmm...

Posted by: Patti M. at February 21, 2006 3:28 PM

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