First let me say that in our house men are men and women are women.........but this last weekend an unfortunate series of events meant that wifey wasn't available on Sunday to do the monthly shop at the local Pick & Pay and culminating in me having to break with tradition and do it myself
In the supermarket for the first time in years and armed with nothing but a list and a debit card (I had to check my sidearm in at the customer service counter) I was feeling very vulnerable and way out of my comfort zone so I was determined to be in and out as quickly as possible.
Most of the list was what I would class as staples, bread, milk, oats, veggies, meat, dog food, toilet paper etc. I wasn't concerned about checking prices to start with but immediately the first item was milk and I noticed that the three different brands of milk ranged between R13.00 and R16.80 for a 2 litre bottle. I thought that's a 20% plus variance for the same item but it turns out that was only a warm up, it got worse. Bread ranged between R5.50 and R12.90 for a premium brown loaf. I'm not talking about that crushed wheat stuff or any specialty ingredients, just a plain brown sliced loaf....200 and odd% price variance.
At this point I nearly soiled a perfectly serviceable set of underpants. I even confirmed with a shop assistant that I wasn't seeing things but she couldn't shed any light on what might be the underlying root cause of the massive price differences on basic food items. The thing that puzzled me even more was the complete indifference of the other shoppers, they just went about their shopping like there was nothing unusual.
Things got no better at the chicken fridge. Whole chickens...not the ones that get special food or daily fitness training, I'm talking about your common or garden steroid-fed battery variety, there were four brand names and the price ranged between R18.00 and R29.00 per kilo.
I could go on and on with further examples but I'm sure you get the gist. I've approached several people ranging from expert shoppers (wifey) to the Pick & Pay manager but nobody can give me a reason for the astronomical price differences for what is essentially the same item.