Saturday, 3 January 2015

Discord in the expat community

One cannot leave the area for a short break, or things have irreversibly changed on return.

That happened to us when we came back in Cluny from a week in Provence, and wanted to buy some shopping for the coming days. The Intermarché? Well, that had gone with the wind. The façade was now decorated with a tarpaulin saying “Carrefour Market”. However, since we needed some fresh articles for the coming days we did not have much choice: Carrefour, here we come! Needless to say that the whole shop had been turned upside down by the new owners (where on earth can we find the eggs?), that trusted products like Intermarché’s own brand “Top Budget” had disappeared completely, that even shop assistants (fortunately the former Intermarché employees) could not find their way in the newly arranged aisles….

Out of the blue!
In short, what was supposed to be a 5 minutes shopping exercise for a few daily necessities turned out to be an endless hunt for a few bottles of fresh milk and other simple commodities.
The Intermarché had literally changed hands in a couple of days. They had been closed for one or two days, and after that it was all of a sudden a completely different shop. The main thing for us was to figure out which shop was going to replace the Intermarché. Carrefour, but also Carrefour market, had been considered in the past as being too expensive. Having said that, a number of (British) expats travelled the extra miles to Mâcon and paid more money without blinking an eye because the assortment of British goodies (think of the indispensable Marmite) was superior to that in other, local supermarkets.

Alternative 1
However, those who were not so gripped by the slogan “Buy British”, hence people like us, Carrefour had always been considered too far and too expensive. Honesty binds me to say that if Carrefour would have had Indonesian chilli paste, sweet soy sauce and beansprouts in the assortment, we possibly would have been very happy with the change as well.
Our price hunt in Cluny revealed that Netto and Atac were comparable pricewise and as with regards to supply with the old Intermarché; however, Netto lacked certain products such as pasteurised whole milk completely.

Alternative 2
Another supermarket with a good selection was Super U in Prissé, but that is considered too far away for the daily and/or weekly shopping.
And what happened to the Intermarché money off vouchers we still owned? Fortunately we could cash those in at an Intermarché we stumbled upon by accident in Mâcon. So fortunately we can say: “All is well, that end well”!

One bridge too far...
The link to the website of La Tuilerie de Chazelle can be found here.

1 comment:

  1. One of our local Intermarchés also became a Carrefour Market, but it's not a place I shop. Could this be part of a trend?