The Grocery Game

Written by Mary Ann Fitzmorris June 26, 2020 05:00 in On The Radio

For as long as I can remember, shopping at the grocery store was a quick trip. Unless you loved it like Tom did. It was a Saturday ritual for Tom to take the kids and they would do the shopping for the week, cruising absolutely every aisle (even the small ones) just in case they needed something. These excursions would sometimes come to $300, and that was twenty years ago! 

I still loved endless trips because that meant I never had to set foot into a grocery store. I was raised in a household two-blocks from a store, with a steady crop of fresh 16-year-old drivers, so anytime anything was needed, it was a single-item visit.

That is unfortunately the policy I still adhere to. I run in and grab something. Until now, when I find shopping trips continue indefinitely, as I go from one store to another, looking for an item that cannot be found anywhere. Big gaping holes are regular sights now in all grocery stores. I expect that with cleaning supplies in our new Covid world, but flour? Charcoal? Yeast? Then you start connecting the dots…

With this in mind, I called Nicole Dorignac of the beloved eponymous grocery store, and asked her to sniff out what trends were out there. What we might come to expect could be the next hard-to-find thing.

We have had some fun with this. I originally wanted to call her Madame Nicole with her crystal ball, but we eventually settled on the Grocery Goddess. Nicole spends her days talking to deli people and bakery people and meat people and stockers, and purchasing people, and has come up with some interesting insights into this situation. 

Corn products were out one week. Nicole explained that canned soft drinks and beers should maybe be grabbed because there is a shortage of aluminum which hasn’t quite manifested itself yet, but is coming. It's a production problem with shortages of people to work.

But yesterday we mostly talked about liver cheese. Yes, liver cheese. I asked Nicole who still eats liver cheese, and we decided it was people over 80, which I learned this morning is not true. Someone sent an email and explained that he eats it when he can’t get foie gras, but also eats foie gras. So liver cheese is a poor man’s foie gras? My dad ate liver cheese, so maybe he was a closet gourmet.

The premise behind the segment is to help people anticipate where the next big hole in the shelf might be. We’re having fun with it. Nicole even has a swag bag for people who call in with sob stories of what they need but can’t get, with promises to get it and hold it for them when it comes in again. Maybe we should change her name again and make her a fairy godmother.