Sunday, November 7, 2010

The personal touch

Sometimes old fashioned things are far superior to their modern replacements - like buying your meat at the butcher shop instead of the supermarket.

Last year, for boring reasons related to my allergy elimination diet, I started buying my meat from the local butcher instead of the supermarket, and it's such a pleasure I've kept going. I haven't noticed a marked difference in price or quality, but it's so nice to be greeted pesonally, and to have a chat and a joke while you shop. 

OK, I admit I have a crush on one of the young butchers, which means I now look forward to purchasing meat like I never have before! (Save your meat double entendres. I'm sure I've heard them already.) I'm always a little let down if he doesn't serve me, but all the other butchers are so friendly and chatty that I soon get over it. And there's always next week...

Even without the crush-factor, I'd still shop there. There's nothing like old fashioned, personal customer service. When's the last time there was a butcher loitering in the meat section at the supermarket to tell you how to cook a particular cut of meat or chat about the football or ask how your weekend's going?

And to top it off, depending on what you buy, there's less packaging waste from shopping at the local butcher too (I detest those stupid non-recyclable plastic meat trays).

I  just wish there were still a greengrocer in my local shopping strip. Food shopping is one of the most inconvenient things about not owning a car. I'd love to avoid shopping at the evil Big Two supermarkets altogether, but it's time consuming without wheels.


abbeysmum said...

Well done for using a local butcher, David Suzuki is doing talks in Aus at the moment (Sure you can find more info on line) about sourcing your food from people who support local producers. Most people don't give a thought to what would happen if the little independant shops and producers in the local areas are put out of business.

geoff said...

The appeal of personal service has been almost an underground movement in shopping for groceries. The quality of the products together with the shopping environmenment have combined enjoyment. The promotional campaigns of supermarkets is must for them to maintain shopper interest.

Brunswick Girl said...

I have become a big convert to not buying from a supermarket, from being an all supermarket girl previously, now I love going to small local deli's, butchers and green grocers for all those things & just the non fresh stuff from the supermarket.

Fantastic Forrest said...

Do you have any sort of a farmer's market there? We really enjoy those here in our area. And when we visited France, it was pure bliss to go to them for fresh produce, cheese and baked items.

It is indeed really nice to have relationships with those who sell you the necessities of life. :-)

Frisky Librarian said...

Hi abbeysmum. I just googled and I think I missed David Suzuki's Melbourne event. Dang.

It's weird to think what a challenge it has become to eat local food. Last year I read a book by a Canadian couple called the 100 Mile Diet who ate nothing but food sourced from with 100 miles of their home for a whole year and they had a *really* tough time of it.

I've always been concious of trying to buy Australian, and I buy local where I can.

I like to support small business over big business - especially at the expense of Coles and Woollies. Their business practices are appalling. This Four Corners report from 2008 is a real eye opener

I'm ashamed of myself for continuing to shop there for the sake of convenience!

Hey Geoff. I guess supermarkets will always appeal for people who have tight budgets or who lack the time or inclination to make several stops to buy food. But I think the rise of the foodie culture is seeing a return to smaller, niche stores (which often sell better quality products). It's good to see.

Hi BG. I think I would enjoy it more if I wasn't always thinking about my dietary restrictions (leaving aside the conenience issue).

Hi Fantastic Forrest. Yes, Melbourne loves its farmers markets and there are also several large fresh food markets in the inner city, but without a car, it turns food shopping into almost a full day activity (especially as I'm not usually an early riser). I like the convenience and relative speed of shopping at my local shopping strip.

Tatterededges said...

Have you checked out Aussie Farmer's Direct? Their food is 100% Australian and sourced from Aussie Farmers and delivered right to your door. You can get fruit and veg, milk, bread, meat and a whole host of other products.