Sunday, August 31, 2008

Stoep Talk: The Art of Shopping in Prince Albert

-Queen Vic -

On one of my irregular visits to the village supermarket I came across a rather irate, frustrated new-comer walking out empty-handed, having done a circuit of the store and not found a thing she needed.

I recalled the many visits I had made that had ended with similar feelings. Two years later I’m still learning, but I have realised that there is no such thing as spontaneous or last-minute shopping in Prince Albert. Here are a few “have to dos” I would recommend.

If you have a memory like mine, buy a notebook, because there is nothing simple about shopping.

You need to know the hours when the shops open and days when things are delivered, plus many shops sell things you don’t expect them to sell. The butcher at times has the most delicious melons, fresh nuts and dried beans. One of the gift shops sells homemade household cleaning products. So you have to explore. Be the hunter-gatherer and go into every little shop and see what they have.

Speak to the locals and find out where they shop. They will tell you where and when to buy the best boerewors, free-range chickens, flowers and so on. I only recently found out that the local supermarket bakes different breads on different days. We know that fresh veggies arrive twice a week, but watch out for public holidays as they throw the whole routine out.

Buy basics when you see them on the shelves – don’t wait until you run out, they won’t be there.

Make friends with your neighbours, local café owners and restaurants. You will be amazed how helpful they are when you need something in an emergency and the shops are closed, whether it is a cup of cream, eggs or fresh herbs.

In conclusion, there are many “have to dos”, but remember that in our village you don’t have to pay for parking or a security guard. You don’t have to travel far and stand in long queues. You don’t have to worry about being mugged as you load your groceries into your car. Happy Shopping!!

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