Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Stuff I haven't gotten used to yet in Ithaca

Asians. Lots of them. I had honestly forgotten there were minorities other than Mexicans (and I'm not sure that Mexicans WERE a minority in Tucson).

New York License Plates. Even though our own car has one now. I keep seeing them around town and thinking, "cool, a car from New York! How exci--oh wait, yeah."

Mosquitoes. All that cool, damp greenery comes with a price.

Yards Without Fences. Heck, how about just yards? I love the no-fence thing - it is so easy on the eyes. Just wide expanses of impeccably mowed grass stretching from one house to another. Mmmmm, summery.

Gardens. The land here is able to sustain life.

Twisty-Turney Streets. We've been here almost a month and I am still all turned around any time I go out. In Tucson, the streets are laid out in a rough square-based grid, though the street names tend to change every few miles. Here, the roads wind around the hills, cross one-lane bridges and I don't know what else. I wonder how long it will take me to be able to get around town without Nigel the GPS.

Weird Grocery Stores. It's never taken me this long to determine my grocery store loyalty before. We've got a Wegman's, an Aldi, a Topps, and a P&C. Wegman's is brilliant and classy and has the most reliably cheap prices on things like milk and bananas. But other items tend to be pricey. Aldi is a mystery to me and I have yet to go inside, but its external appearance somehow brings to mind both Atari and also Soviet Russia (and "Aldi" means "s/he bought" in Turkish. WEIRD). Topps disgusts me on many levels but they have a discount gas station. I went to the P&C for the first time yesterday and it's like they want to be Macey's but they don't care enough to do the job right.

Something in common with all the grocery stores out here is that they don't get as excited about sales as the stores out west do. And that makes me sad. I know sales can be a gimmick to get us to buy things that are still not necessarily a good price, but I always appreciated a juicy loss leader. In Ithaca, it seems to me that each store has just shrugged its shoulders and said, "meh, you won't find it more than ten cents cheaper anywhere else, so just give up already." I hope to solve this mystery soon. Maybe sales just work differently here.

I think that's about all the things that are shocking me at this point in time. I'll keep you posted on any further developments.

12 comments:

Liz Johnson said...

GO TO ALDI. It's dirt cheap. Organic? Absolutely not, but it has some of the cheapest prices around on some of the basics, like sour cream, cream of mushroom soup, and such. BUT... you need a quarter to get a cart (the quarter is returned when you're done) and they only take cash and debit cards. Oh, and there are no grocery bags, so it helps to bring your own.

Anyways, it's worth the experience if nothing else. Whenever I go, it's just me and the homeless, buying our stuff. It's cultural, right? :)

JackJen said...

And this, Bridget, is why I can now confirm what I've long suspected: you are far more brilliant than I.

It took me two full years to figure out that the grocery stores out here weren't going to have door-buster sales on.....ANYTHING. At least 60% of each grocery ad is items listed at their REGULAR PRICES...prices that will never, ever change....except to go up, of course.

(Also sad: very little coupon-doubling in my neck of the woods).

Liz Johnson said...

Also, Aldifoods.com is a good site to get the skinny on Aldi. I'm a fan. :)

Britney said...

Amen to the comments on Aldi. I became a huge fan when we were starving students at the OSU and have been shopping there ever since. In fact, I'm convinced I save about a $100 a month on my groceries when I shop there versus other grocery stores.

Bring a quarter and your own shopping bags and you're good to go.

Aimee said...

Aldi is a german company that is basically a discount store. In Vienna it has the best prices on all things including organic, yes organic. Obviously the Aldi organic movement hasn't made it over the Atlantic yet. All that stuff that Liz mentioned are very german, ie putting a deposit in your cart, no credit cards and bringing your own bags. Good luck on your grocery store choice!

JackJen said...

Oh---and usually the mosquitoes are gone by this time of year....you just happened to move East during a summer where it rained for the first 2 1/2 months, which delayed mosquito season.

Just wait for the fall, Bridget. I absolutely cannot wait until you start posting about explosions of color and covered bridges and all of the things that keep we Easterners living here. (Cause it certainly isn't the winter).

P.S. Are you planning any Boston trips at all?

Laura said...

I love Wegmans! There is actually a couple stores that are closer, but it's totally worth it to me to drive a little further. Their store brand items are good and are the cheapest (at least around here). They were actually voted the number one grocery store in America. Also you have to try their deli/salad bar/Chinese food. It is really good.

Crys said...

I still miss the Mexicans :) Ezra goes to a school that is 21.1% Asian, 26% Black, 49% White, and only 3% Hispanic...he counts. How sad is that. What does that mean for me...well I pretty much am the only brownie in church...unless you count one set of investigators. On a more important note the Mexican food here stinks! Jason refuses to eat any Mexican out here. He will miss department events rather than eat bad Mexican. There is one decent Indian place, a couple of really good Asian places, and some barbecue and fish fry places that are so yummy, but totally bad for you and not good places to go after dark. Can you tell my life revolves around food :)

Susanne said...

I think you should try ALDI. We got one here a few years ago and it is quite popular now. There are only a few of their products that I've not cared for. Overall, it's been quite pleasing. Their produce, eggs, milk, chips are generally cheaper. They don't have a number of brands like most grocery store chains, but most everyone seems to find their brands to be quite good. And if not, they have a return policy!

And, yes, it is German. So since you posted a German video starring yourself recently, I think you ought to give it a try.

Just take your quarter and bags.

I liked reading your observations about life there so far. LOL @ your reaction to the New York license plates. :-)

And I hear ya on the mosquitoes...

The Ensign's said...

hmmmm so is it safe to say that you hate the misquitos in Ithaca? Have we found something you "hate" about this wonderful place?

Bridget said...

Wow, I will definitely try Aldi now! I guess I wasn't too far off on the Soviet vibe.

Jen, I am so sad to learn that I am NOT wrong about the lack of sales. It used to be so fun to walk down the cereal and ice cream aisles to see what new low prices they held in store for me. No longer. :(

Susanne said...

Oh here is what they say about their products and the guarantee I mentioned earlier:

If you don’t have the brands I know, how can I be sure of the quality?

ALDI partners with the best suppliers in the country—often the same ones that produce national brands. In addition, we have a test kitchen to ensure that our products meet or exceed the quality and taste of the national name brands. What’s more, we back every regularly stocked food and non-food item with our Double Guarantee. If you’re not satisfied for any reason, simply return the unused portion (or even the empty package) with the receipt to the store. We’ll refund your money and give you a replacement product.


ALDI's Wikipedia page is pretty interesting. Yes, I'm a nerd, but I wanted to see what types of people tend to shop there overseas. :)

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