Food

Diamond studded ice cream?

3:12 PM

With all the hypermarkets opening around the city, we now have even more choice than before in matter of food items. And boy they know how to tempt you with those too.

Last Saturday, DH and I went at Spar, as it's by far the store that stocks up the most of our needs under one roof (we both have an aversion for that kind of shopping, so the less shops we have to visit, the better).

I don't mind hypermarts, nope not at all, they are what comes the closest to the supermarkets I grew up being used to in Geneva and make my life easier, my if they existed 4 years ago when I just shifted to India I would have been a happy camper. There is only one thing that slightly bugs me with them : Why on Earth do they need to store so many imported goods? And that to at the expand of local brands. For example : Pasta, this a simple item, there is at least two cheap local brand making macaroni, penne, fusili and what not, but most hypermarkets now store a vast array of pasta in brand such as Barilla, Agnesi, Buittoni, and other imported brands that cost 6 to 7 times the price of the two local brands "MTR" and "Bambino" (I don't count the Sunfeast brand as ,their instant past stuff isn't pasta by my standard, and they managed to come with a pasta division coming in fancy boxes that cost as much as an imported one). In most supermarkets you can find 2-3 variety of the local, and a few imported ones. Spar or Star Bazaar, they stock the classic small pack of macaroni in the cheap brand, and if you want something else well all you have to do is spill an insane lot of money, and for the record, I converted the price in Swiss Franc, which by the way is one of the European country where the cost of life is the highest, and even then what they try to sell me here in Bangalore is at least double the price of what I would pay in Switzerland with a matching Swiss Income. And all know that pasta is the cheap student's alternative to a meal.

But let's forget the past don't we? I was strolling in the ice cream section, and surprise surprise, they have no qwality walls there, nope, it's Haagen Dasz that jumps at you. Those who don't know Haagen Dasz it's a ice cream brand that is quite popular in US and in France where they have a manufacturing plant, and is probaly one of the best ice cream on the market. So I went ahead picked a 500ml pot of "Macadamia Brittle" without looking at the price, thinking that clearly it would not cost me more than 300 rupees and could maybe indulge in that brand once. BAD move, I should have checked the price before buying, our total grocery bill was astronomically high, and I wondered why, it's only when I reached home and put the ice cream in the freezer that I got a glimpse at the price tag...and gasped loudly.
Ladies and gentlemen, the price of that tiny ice cream pot was...drum roll : 650 rupees!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! That means around 14$ and around 20 Swiss francs! That brand was available in Switzerland, that very same tub here would have cost me 10 CHF at the most, and it would have been cheaper right across the border in France were I would usually buy it anyway. I have no Idea what is the cost for it in US but I can guarantee it's not 14$. And I swear I have some branded T-shirts costing less than that (from United colors of Benetton if you want to know).

Now I understand why they stick the price tag at the bottom, because seriously no one in their right mind would buy it if the price was visible, and those who got trapped like I was are probably swearing off the brand altogether now, who would agree to be ripped off more than once? I even tried to reason thinking maybe some expats living on a USD income around here would buy it, but even then that would be serious brand loyalty to agree to purchase something as simple as ice cream for such a price. For 14$ a tub you expect to find some diamonds in there, or at the least a gold topping. And I can't help wondering if import companies actually know what this money even in the expat community before putting a price on it. I know the import taxes are high, and all, but seriously? Haven't we crossed the line here?

I would somewhat understand if it was a product that has no equivalent in India whatsoever (there are still some stuff around here that you can get only in imported brand) but ice cream???? And pasta? And cookies, and juice?

Have we lost all common sense and the notion of reality here?

And for the conclusion of my little story, DH and I really savoured our ice cream dessert knowing that every spoon full was worth a couple of rupees, maybe next time I'll dip banknotes in milk and sugar and put them in the freezer to eat directly.

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