Wild goose/lambchase (plus a little rant about Wal-Mart and the slow demise of a local, family-owned grocery)

I shop at a great variety of grocery stores to find all of the ingredients to accommodate all of our various weird diets, plus to find the sales to keep our family from going into debt from all the food we eat!  One of my regular stores is a local, family-owned chain called Bashas’.

I found out last week that “my” store is closing on October 10.

I have been aware that the entire chain is struggling, the advent of which can easily be traced back to the opening of the first Wal-Mart Supercenter.

I don’t like Wal-Mart.  I only very rarely shop there — maybe two to four times a year.  I find the employees uniformly surly and spectacularly unhelpful, and the stores themselves generally in grungy chaos.  I like personable, knowledgeable, easy-to-find employees who actually give a hoot, and in my experience, Wal-Mart just doesn’t employ that variety of folk, except maybe as greeters.

Plus, just knowing that they’re taking business away from family-owned companies….  I mean, I’m all for capitalism, but Wal-Mart is so giant that it has an almost-monopoly going, and for all their talk about American-made this and that, it doesn’t seem like all that many items in their stores are actually made in America.  Wal-Mart has done more to take the small town out of small-town-America than any other entity, IMO.

The only thing that I like about Wal-Mart is that it has a great variety of items, probably 2-3x that of Target, where I usually shop for “essentials.”  So, if I can’t find what I need at Target (most recently, an inexpensive glass salad bowl), I can usually find it at Wal-Mart.

So.  My Bashas’.  Not only was it the first non-specialty grocery store to regularly stock gluten-free items — YEARS ago —  it’s where I buy my lamb.  It’s the ONLY grocery store that has reasonably-priced fresh lamb.  So now, instead of driving about 5 miles to the nearest location, I’ll have to drive 12 to the next-nearest (which, I confirmed, is not yet closing).

Last night, after kinship (roughly like a Bible study;  it meets weekly in someone’s home), I went to get some groceries… lamb (of course), plus the ingredients to make that buckwheat tabouli that I posted about a couple of days ago, in celebration of my Dad coming to stay with us for the weekend.  I thought, “I’ll try Safeway.  I never shop at Safeway.  Maybe THEY have lamb.”  Um, no.  No lamb.  Maybe they have some at the butcher counter, but it was too late;  it was closed.  I also spent an inordinate amount of time wandering around the unfamiliar aisles, trying to find the few items I needed, which made me frustrated.

I stopped at “my” Bashas’ to get the lamb.  Um, no.  Instead of closing at 11 p.m., which was their normal time to shut down, the new pre-store-closing-down hours of operation are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

So, I went to Fry’s.  Fry’s did indeed, have some lamb — either ground lamb, on “sale” for $6.99 a pound, or boneless leg roasts from AUSTRALIA, 3-4 lbs each, also for $6.99 a pound.  Um, no.  That’s too expensive, PLUS though I’m sure Australia raises some good sheep, why does my local grocery have to get its lamb from halfway around the globe???  I don’t understand that.  I don’t want to pay for, what?  13,000 miles of fuel costs in my meat?  Something like that?  That’s dumb.  And wasteful.

So… I stopped in at Wal-Mart.  Wal-Mart “Neighborhood Market,” which is just the grocery part of a Wal-Mart.  No lamb there, either, which frankly, didn’t surprise me.

So, I came home with no lamb.  I do have the remains of a small roast that I cooked night before last, and that will feed Fiala and me through tonight, so it’s not like we’ll starve.  But, I was hoping to not do any grocery shopping while my Dad is here.  Oh, well.


About Karen Joy

I'm a partially-homeschooling mother of six -- 3 boys ages 19, 17 and 15 years old, and three girls: 11, 8, and 3. I like birding, reading, writing, organic gardening, singing, playing guitar, hiking, the outdoors, and books. I very casually lead a very large group of homeschooling families in the Phoenix area. I have a dear hubby who designs homes for a local home builder and who is the worship pastor of our church. I live in the desert, which I used to hate, but now appreciate.

Posted on September 24, 2009, in Arizona, Cooking/Baking/Food/Recipes, gluten-free, Sad Things, Shopping, Total Elimination Diet. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. The closest Bashes’ to us is a brand new one, only open for a year and it is already decimated. It is at Dysart and Camelback road. The last time we went in half of the shelf’s were without products, just sitting there empty. It looked like one of those history black white films from high school of Russia’s grocery stores. It was so sad. We haven’t been back. But that was the week after it was all over the local news about them filing for bankruptcy. My other favorite store is Albertson’s on Dysart and Indian School. They completely reorganized the store and when they did, they dropped a lot of brands without really telling anyone.

    The Wal Mart superstore nearest our house is on the 101 and Camelback and it is 80% geared to the Hispanic community. So we go to the Sam’s Club/Wal Mart on the 101 and Union Hills just to get a good variety of products. I believe I have seen Lamb at that store. A friend of ours is the Garden Manager at the Wal Mart on 78th Ave and Peoria and I verified with her that each store stocks based on the community it servers. If you ask the butcher of the Wal Mart closest to you to stock lamb, he/she may be able to do so.

    We have purchased all types of meat items from Wal-Mart. the only thing we will buy there now though is hamburger 80/20 split. All of the other meat is inexpensive but taste like saw dust. The pork, chicken, beef and seafood are just bland and bad.

    • I don’t have a Sam’s Club card, but I do go to Costco, and someone told me there’s lamb there, too. I’ll have to check that out.

      And, maybe someone bought out Albertson’s? Just a thought; I haven’t heard anything about that, but oftentimes, when a store gets bought out, they start carrying the brands of the parent company, like when Fry’s got bought out by Kroger.

  2. You should buy NZ Lamb anyway, it’s much better! If you’re going to eat lamb from the other side of the world it might as well be the best. As a lot our economy is based on exporting I try not to get too caught up in the food mile thing, the chef Peter Gordon who has restaurants in London but is from here has some great arguments to ease those fears.

    What I don’t get is why it was cheaper for me to buy NZ lamb in the UK when I lived there than it is to buy it here!!! That is the strange thing. We pay export prices, so my childhood memories of roast lamb regularly are a distant recollection now.

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