By KATE HUNTER.
When it comes to shopping, I’m a gatherer.= display_ad('x18', 'hidden-xs hidden-md mm_incontent', 'MM In Content'); ?>= display_ad('x20', 'visible-xs mm_mob_incontent', 'MM In Content (Mobile)'); ?>
I’ll go to a particular butcher for meat (but another for chicken), a fruit and veg shop for, yes, fruit and veg. I like to get bread from the bakery up the road. I’m not sure if it’s better quality than bread from the supermarket, but the lady behind the counter is friendly and always gives us extra rolls if we rock up close to closing time.
My husband is a hunter by nature as well as name, and thinks I’m nuts.
If he goes shopping with a list he’ll return with every item on the list, in half the time I’d have taken – because he goes to one of the two big supermarkets down the road and did the lot right there.
He’s not bothered the bagged carrots he bought are a bit floppy (of course they are after travelling to Brisbane from Western Australia). He’s not concerned that the apples have been refrigerated for six months; or that he was obliged to buy two 500g packs of mince when he only needed 750g for the spag bol.
He likes it if the checkout person is friendly, but he doesn’t expect it. As long as he can get the shopping done with minimal stops and transactions, he’s cool.
I could do without going from one shop to another too, but that’s what I’m prepared to do to get the stuff I want. And I’m happy to pay a bit more for a butcher to cut the steak thickly and chuck in a few bones for the dog.
I used to think it was a girl/guy thing – this hunter v gatherer instinct, but I started looking and asking around, and clearly it’s not.
My dad will drive across town to buy particularly stinky Polish sausages and to enjoy a bit of banter with the guy who makes them. My parents in law will shop at a smaller, less conveniently located supermarket because the manager is happy to stock the kind of crackers they like. The manager of the bigger supermarket nearer their home said it wasn’t worth their while stocking that brand.
My friend Angela will go further and pay more at a particular barbecued chicken shop on a Saturday because she knows the lady behind the counter will select a plump specimen with lots of perfectly-almost-but-not-quite-burned skin. Smaller, independent supermarkets are a better bet for getting what you prefer – and getting support for community stuff you might be involved with.
Word to the wise: parents, if you’ve somehow, stupidly, found yourself involved on a school fundraising committee and you need to rustle up free sausages to sizzle or a fruit basket to raffle, you’ll have more joy with a local business than a corporate giant. I speak from experience (big shout out to IGA at Milton in Brisbane who’ve helped just about every school in my ‘hood for years).
IGA Supermarkets are independently owned and managed, and are enthusiastic supporters of community organisations. For the last 3 years, IGA Community Chest has raised $300,000 for the McGrath Foundation for one-on-one nursing care for women battling breast cancer – in regional areas as well as cities. IGA has also contributed $350,00 to the Royal Flying Doctor Service. It’s a partnership that makes sense – the RFDS sees people as individuals; what the people of one town needs will be different to the needs of another. IGA get that.
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How do you choose where you shop? Are you a hunter or a gatherer? Do you support the businesses that support your community?