Before I moved up to my village, I had the impression that my village store would have empty shelves and lack most of my basic necessities. In fact, I was under the impression that it would only sell chips and occasionally a frozen pizza. I imagined the shelves looking like those I witnessed in Venezuela as their food shortage was just beginning: bare and with no real hope of having them filled.
My reality was stocked shelves (except around certain times of the month and for certain products), a wide variety of items, and basic dried goods…heck, even puzzles and deerskin gloves!
I remember the first couple weeks I was up here. I really wanted chips and salsa, but the store was out of tortilla chips. What a rush it was when they came into stock. I hurried over there right after the bell rang, just to make sure they didn’t sell out. Some items go fast like that.
I remember the first time I came across a “deal”. I got to the register with my pack of hot dogs and was told they were “Buy 1 Get 2 Free”. I soon after realized that they had expired the day before. This is how most sales work, I just got some Buy 1 Get 2 Free Cream of Mushroom Soup, but I steered clear of the carrots because they were looking a little dry.
I remember when they were out of Coke in the single bottles they keep in the coolers. I didn’t want a whole rack (12-pack of cans). I just wanted to treat myself. After a quick inquiry, I learned that you can just open a case and take out as many cans as you want and put the case back on the shelf. Some items are flexible like that.
I’ve been told that we have the best stocked and best priced store of the villages in our district. Some villages even order items from our store to arrive on the evening plane as it passes through. I’ve yet to go to a store in another village, so I can’t say. But, I’m really happy with our selection and the size of the store. It is also clean and fairly new, the old store burnt down last year.
While driving through Moose Pass on our way to Seward during Spring Break. I had the chance to stop at a store in a village that is on the road system. The shelves were those of the barren images I had conjured up for my remote island store. Empty spaces spread out from end to end. boxes of dry goods held only one or two items. Everything was sparse.
I can’t say if that is typical or not, but I must say that it made me even more grateful for our wonderful little store that makes for an exciting (and Target-like-spending expensive) evening on the town!