Sunday, May 29, 2011

The Price of Familiarity

Following up on my last post in which I stated the grocery stores sell what, to an American, appear to be very mismatched items, I wanted to share the result of my recent shopping trip to the "white neighborhood" as I call it. It's Banjara Hills, located just five kilometers from where I live, and home to a large population of expatriates. It is where everyone recommended I live due to the posher area and stores selling items more familiar to me. Driving through it though, it appears to be a total bore, as there are lots of high walls and gates, a lack of fruit stands and street vendors, and you never see anyone out just loitering, no kids playing in the streets, and no auto rickshaw drivers shouting at you.

Banjara Hills, however, is home to Q-Mart. It's a grocery-type store I can find those missing puzzle pieces like sliced cheese, Prego pasta sauce, ground coffee without chicory in it, and some ready made food items (ie: heat and serve). I've made stopping there a weekly affair, at least for now, until I get settled in a bit more and my things arrive from the states such as microwave safe cooking dishes and kitchen utensils.

This weeks visit to Q-Mart can be classified as both a success and a failure. I picked up a bread pan, a cake pan, and a casserole dish all microwave/convection oven safe. I also picked up a few other items out of sheer excitement for seeing them on a store shelf but should have checked the prices first. Here is a sample of what I purchased and what I paid:

24 oz Prego Traditional Flavored Pasta Sauce - Rs210/$4.64 USD
500g Light Brown Sugar - Rs149/$3.30 USD
17.5 oz Betty Crocker cookie dough mix - Rs205/$4.53 USD
1 pack of Orbit Gum - Rs120/$2.65 USD

And the most ridiculously inflated item of all

5 oz can of PAM cooking spray, butter flavored - Rs415/$9.18 USD

Not everything is cheaper in India and convenience certainly comes at a price. A price I don't think I'll be paying in the future. And yes, Q-Mart prints your credit card number, minus the last digit on your receipt.

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