Sunday, January 06, 2013

Groceries by Mail

We've been here for nearly 10 days now, and we've been grocery shopping probably 7 times within that space.  We have not seen sugar on any of those trips.  We did see flour once, but didn't recognize it by its Spanish name harina de trigo.  Dave went back within 2 hours and they were sold out.  We did find baking powder once, but have yet to see baking soda.  We did bring yeast with us, so once the flour shows up we can start making bread.  But until then, we're out of luck.  Lamenting this to our new community, we hear time and again that everyone relies on for their groceries.

This is where you'll learn that Dave and I are cheap.  You can't always tell by how often we go out to eat, but we really are cheap - and especially so after spending 18 months in Arlington learning how to whittle down our grocery bills.  Now to search for vanilla online and see it listed for $12 just makes me crazy.

So, we did a little controlled experiment.  We took the same order to,, NetGrocer and to my mom. wouldn't ship most of the items - they're only available in stores.  NetGrocer had the best prices by far, but added $75 for shipping onto a $25 grocery bill.  Amazon had the highest prices of any of them, but their free shipping far outweighed the rest.  We went ahead and placed an item.

Now, if anyone thinks I am cheap, they have not met my mom.  With her behind the grocery cart, I would not be surprised if her total comes in the lowest.  But she doesn't offer free shipping, so its still up in the air.

It makes me bridle a bit to be shopping groceries online from another country.  The shops here are bright and clean, with many Western items in them.  The markets are well priced and loaded with good produce.  Although we haven't visited yet, the butchers are said to be fabulous.  But the way to make it through these long shortages is to stock up on the things you use - milk, flour, sugar, cooking oil, coffee, toilet paper are all things which go missing from the shelves with some regularity.  We are not in a place where we can begin stocking those items currently on the shelves, and we have no reserves of those which are not on the shelves.  And I really need some flour and some sugar.

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