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.