Where my chiles at?

Since I was a small child I have shopped at the same supermarket. It is now a Ralphs, and has previously been a Hughes and a Market Basket over the years. (For those in the area, it’s the one in Westcliff Plaza).

Currently it is billing itself as a “Ralphs Fresh Fare”, a kind of upscale market that is supposed to be full of good things, especially produce and “gourmet” stuff. It isn’t, though; it’s just another Ralphs supermarket.

Tonight I went there to obtain stuff for kung pao chicken. I got some chicken and then went to find the dried red peppers. These I buy from the Mexican food section, because Mexican people buy different spices. They are all Toro brand and come in plastic packages instead of the jars the Anglo spice section has. Plus, Toro carries all the neato dried chiles like ancho, etc.

I couldn’t find it this time! It moves occasionally so I asked a clerk. “Nope, we don’t carry those.” WHAT? I went to the manager, who carefully said “They don’t have us carrying the Toro spices any more. Other locations do.”

So, I guess I’ll have to go to the Costa Mesa Ralphs a few blocks away to get dried chiles. Because, I guess, rich white people in Newport Beach don’t like feeling “downmarket” when they see the spices poor Mexican people use.

And this leaves the supposedly “Gourmet” and “International” market without any dried chiles whatsoever. None, nada, zip.

Since I didn’t want to go to the other market I made a dish using fresh serrano chili and a little rooster sauce which was good. But I’m dropping that market forever.

“Segmenting” marketers must all be shot now.

14 thoughts on “Where my chiles at?

    1. Well, I try saying “Sriracha” and then everyone says “WHAT THE WHO” and 15 minutes later someone says “OH YOU MEANT ROOSTER SAUCE!!1!” so now I just give in.

    2. Because of the giant rooster on the bottle! Yay roosters! Also, the little vietnamese restaurant I first had it in regularly called it that.

  1. Gag. Yes.
    I live in pretentious yuppieland and the local supermarket, of the venerable Wonder-Bread-era IGA chain, is now
    Marketplace IGA: A Whole New Way of Looking at Groceries. Exactly the same except higher prices and a lame attempt to appear gourmet, even though they still sell own-brand cheese doodles and TV Guide.
    You should get a better class of ethnics, I say. Marketplace IGA: AWNWoLaG attempts to appeal to the Asians in town with some mini-shelves of imported sauces and packaged noodles.

    1. A what what what what?
      A Whole New Line of Bullshit to Lay on the Proles, you mean.
      A real whole new way of looking at groceries would be if the market worked like the “we need guns” scene in The Matrix.

  2. my parents shop at ralphs fresh fare, but i always feel underdressed…it is the one place i don’t mind using my cell phone in public though…i am a loyal ralphs shopper, but i shop at the other one, even though its now huge…i like the self check out lines…and bree works there…s/he always says hi to me…

  3. Segmentation sucks
    Some “Anglo” places around here will sell dried hot peppers in the produce section, but yeah, the marketing “logic” behind this segmentation is crazy and almost insulting.
    Luckily there are some big Asian supermarkets around here where it’s all one big happy family, so we’re happy to shop there anyway.

  4. And the shopping carts are BLACK PLASTIC!
    Very fresh.
    Very chic!
    Incidentally, the hottest spice I have ever had is the Indo-European brand Extra Hot Chili Powder.

    1. Advice: do not eat pequin peppers just to “test” them. It is like putting a cigarette out on your tongue. Or what I imagine putting a cigarette out on your tongue would be like. For a long long long time. OW. Ow.

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