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Jun 24, 2008 10:05 AM

What's up, Super88 Alston?

I just got back from grocery shopping at Super88, is it me oi the grocery's inventory shrinking? there was hardly any rice, cooking oils, most oriental canned goods and I noticed a lot of empty shelves and few facings of merchandise. I hope it's just a phase!
we definitely need a grocery like this in the area.

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  1. Really? Was there about 2 weeks ago and everything seemed fine. It's a huge supermarket, so I can see where things are usually as crammed as other Chinese markets. I don't get out to Allston often, so may be it's more packed then my last 2 trips, but I wouldn't say I saw anything unusual.

    1. This question came up in April as well:

      I suspect that those who suggested global supply problems, due to price increases, the uproar over tainted goods from China, and so on are probably correct.

      1. I also think it's a supply issue but the problem at the Allston branch has been getting progressively worse in the last 6 months. I was there last week and was dismayed at the lack of goods. There were no bags of japanese or jasmine rice in any size. The only rice bags available were brown or sticky. Also, the dried noodle section (specifically bean threads) was just as dismal. Interestingly enough, the fresh dumpling skins and fresh dumplings seemed to have more of a selection. These were mostly the products coming from Brooklyn or Canada.

        I used to shop weekly at this branch but have been phasing it out because the availability of goods was just too variable. I also could never figure out when they got the bulk of their deliveries to maximize my chances.

        3 Replies
        1. re: beetlebug

          In my most recent visit Allston had more fresh dumpling skins and noodles, as well as frozen dumplings, than Malden. Malden seemed better stocked on produce. They seemed to have similar freezer stuff, but Allston looked emptier because its smaller and both had comparable frozen fish selections. Allston was also bare on a lot of staples as GalleyGirl mentioned originally, although I didn't do a direct comparison on those in Malden. Rice in Allston didn't seem as bad as mentioned above, but Malden a week earlier had a lot more. I am due for a trip to China Merchandise to see how it was faring.

          WRT, to some comments I made in the original threads... still seeing some imported Brazilian products go missing (including a lot of Brazilian butchers carrying Royal Oak instead of Brazilian hardwood charcoal.... Royal Oak, though, is from Paraguay and used at a number of churrascarias that use real charcoal). It was a big produce season from South America though, that seemed less affected.

          1. re: itaunas

            I remember one of my previous trips (mid-Mayish) had only one kind of dumpling skins. Unfortunately, they were not my dumpling skins of choice. Trust me when I say, there was a lot of internal grumbling because I've been on a dumpling making kick. Moreover, the last few trips, they've only had chinese dumpling skins and no vietnamese skins. Sometimes, I like to mix it up.

          2. re: beetlebug

            I brought it up in April, and tho I still stop in once in awhile, it's a little dismal. When you first walk in, it smells like a wet dog. I'm not exaggerating!
            The fruit and veggie supplies are terrible, I can usually find a few limes and lemons, but so many veggies, even Asian ones,especially greens, don't seem worth buying. Soft cucumbers, brown cauliflower; it's like Haymarket without the cheap prices. And the products I had been missing, while in stock at other stores, are still not available at the Allston Super88.

          3. I was there about three weeks ago and also noticed a shrinking of inventory of Asian items like jasmine rice, oils and dried chillis. I did however notice an increase in Goya products, which I guess shouldn't come as a shock given the local population of the area. I think that I read on this board awhile back that Super 88 wants to branch out to non Asians.

            I guess that I'm going to have to check out the South Bay or Medford locations a little more frequently even though they aren't as close to me.

            1. I think it's part of a larger problem, perhaps.

              IMO the Allston store has never been very good. Ever. It never had the variety or quality of inventory that the South Bay or Quincy stores had. The food court was a plus, but the store was poor.

              The Chinatown Super88 has many barren shelves and looks very long-in-the-tooth. Almost looks like it's going out of business sometimes.

              The South Bay store is better, but still has many issues regarding stocking particular products. Many shelves have empty areas where particular items used to be. They haven't carried Healthy Boy soy sauce for 6 months now. Luckily I bought up their last 4 bottles a while back. The produce is still cheap and pretty decent and they carry jasmine and short-grain rice and several different brands of rice stick noodles and wrappers.

              Kam Man in Quincy has had supply problems as well.

              It seems that most of the issue is regarding foods from China, but I have noticed problems with Korean and Japanese products too.