I’ve mentioned before that the grocery stores here don’t use barcode scanners (although Arpico seems to be changing that – perhaps they are, oh, ahead of their brethren here?) and inventory control seems to be unheard of.
Sheesh, I thought I had.
I just did a search in here, and found no entries involving bar code scanners, or barcode scanners, and nothing on inventory control either.
I’m seriously disappointed in myself.
Alrighty then. Let’s tackle bar code scanners.
They don’t exist here.
Is that enough said or do you want more?
When we’re in the grocery store, the clerks ring in a four or five or something numbered code for every item in stock. They type it in manually. By hand.
When I’ve bought things at the bookshop – not the bookstore where you buy books but at the bookshop where you buy stationery supplies and the like – they add up the total either in their heads or on a calculator, but no receipt is actually given. At the post office, money and stamps are exchanged, and price is calculated using a sheet with everything pre-calculated, and again, no receipt.
At Le Perfumerie, they punched in the codes and issued a proper receipt, but no bar code scanner.
Um, let me see. . . With the beef seller and the like, they add it up in their head and issue no receipt.
Sri Lanka, in case you haven’t already figured out, is primarily a cash market. Credit cards aren’t commonly used. Cheques? Are you kidding me? I haven’t seen a single cheque since arriving. And yes, cheque is the correct spelling in Canada. It’s only the lazy Americans who shortened it to check. I guess the que threw them off too much and confused the heck out of them. Or maybe that should be the heque out of them.
So. No. No bar code scanners.
But the last time I was at Arpico – the department store – am I remembering this correctly? I think they might have had bar code scanners, and if they did, which I think they did, I was shocked and surprised at their modernity.
Ah well. My memory.
Now I’ll have to go shopping there again just to check it out.
Which brings me almost back to desiccated coconut.
With a lack of bar code scanners comes a lack of excellent inventory control. Or even, possibly, mediocre inventory control.
Sometimes, we can get cranberry juice at our little Food City. Most of the time, we can’t. Sometimes, we can get certain spices or herbs. The rest of the time, we can’t. Sometimes, we can get certain cereals. Most of the time, we can’t. There’s not a whole lot of rhyme or reason to it.
It seems to me that they get a shipment of something in, they put it out on display (which, loosely translated, means in the middle of the floor for you to trip over, but not necessarily even as high as kneecap level, because why should they make it easy for you to find what you’re looking for?) But it’s not because they sell a lot of it. I doubt if they even know how fast some of their products sell. How could they?
Some things, they seem to get in once and once only, never to be seen again. Never mind that they sell out fifty units in a day or two. So what? I think they’re just glad they got rid of it and ignore the possible implications around how many more units of that they can sell.
Anyway. The point being that I’ve looked for desiccated coconut in the grocery stores before.
I have. I really have.
I’ve never found it before. I even remarked on it. I thought it strange that here, in a country where coconuts abound, it is possible to buy dry coconut milk easily enough, but not dried shredded coconut.
But grocery shopping today, right after Fahim was getting the veggies weighed, I went to a shelf and grabbed a plastic container of dates (very sweet, but no added sugar, and lots and lots of dietary fibre – doctor approved!).
Fahim grabbed for a box of the Samaposha Aggala mix. Well, we both like it, so why not?
And then I saw what I didn’t think I’d ever see here. A bag of desiccated coconut.
And not even any joking, either.
I doubt it’s sweetened – it didn’t say that it was, so it probably wasn’t. It’s 250 grams, or 1/2 a pound, for 53.50 Rupees, or close to 54 US cents.
It also says on the packaging "Always store in insects free place". Good advice here.
We bought two bags.
And now I’m happy because now I know it’s here and I know what kind of packaging I’m looking for, and that’s half the battle.
Have I mentioned that the grocery store shelves are not labelled with product names or prices? Oh, heck, no. And probably close to half the products have no pricing on them, so you have no idea what you’re going to have to pay until you get to the checkout.
Them’s the breaks in Sri Lanka, dude.