To the editor:
I wonder which consumers the Food Marketing Institute talked to when reporting the desire of consumers for bigger and better grocery stores (“Grocery store flight only temporary,” July 18).
I live in Rosemont and have grocery shopped in the Bradlee Shopping Center for decades — as many of my friends and neighbors have done — and now we find it’s a temporary food desert. Many of us were shocked at Giant’s decision to close its store there. Did the company actually do a survey of local shoppers?
How did the grocery chains come to the conclusion that we, consumers, want to drive longer distances, use more gas and clog up already-busy streets (i.e. going to the Giant along Duke Street or the Giant or Safeway along Route 7 — a roadway many want to avoid at all costs) to buy weekly groceries? The people I know do not want to traverse 15 aisles and do not need to choose from 15 kinds of soap, 10 brands of toilet tissue, 10 types of dog food and 15 kinds of crackers when they want to pick up a few items.
Could it be the grocery chains want consumers to come in for the few items they really need, hoping that they then will buy things they do not need so that the bottom line will look better? It seems to me that a more consumer- and environmentally friendly approach would be to situate a few smaller stores in convenient places where people actually live. The so-called bigger and better stores are not consumer-friendly to parents with young children in tow or to the elderly, who have to negotiate long aisles.
The only convenient Giant store still left near my neighborhood is located along Monroe Avenue, and I understand that it will be closing in coming years to yield to the Potomac Yard shopping area, which promises to be a traffic nightmare. Perhaps stores that serve Alexandria’s neighborhoods should talk to consumers before making decisions that affect our daily lives.
And perhaps the grocery chains should focus on improving the choice and quality of fresh fruits and vegetables rather than stocking an endless array of paper products, cereals and snacks.
– Carol Van Arnhem O’Shaughnessy