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Things That Are Hard to Find in the Grocery Store

There are certain items that, because you purchase them rarely and/or they are difficult to categorize, are difficult to find in the grocery store. One may spend half an hour wandering the aisles in a desperate daze on a fruitless search for one product. Three such items spring to mind

toothpicks

pimentos

hand soap

Any others?

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  1. I was totally going to say pimientos too. No two stores can agree on where they go. With pickles? Olives? Vegetables?

    Mine is currently potato sticks, which are an old stress-eating favorite. Shouldn't they be with chips? Chex Mix? No - we'll put them with microwave popcorn today. They will be in the peanut section tomorrow.

    19 Replies
    1. re: NonnieMuss

      Good call on the potato sticks, or as we used to call them, shoestring potatoes.

      Also, pine nuts. Are they in the nut section? Over by the pasta and pasta sauce? Who the hell knows?!

      1. re: Perilagu Khan

        I wasn't looking for them, but recently spotted the pine nuts with the pasta sauce this past weekend and took note because I would never suspect they'd be there.

        1. re: fldhkybnva

          I'm staring at this post to burn it into my brain. This is exactly the sort of thing that would make me lose a half hour of my life--pine nuts.

          1. re: alliegator

            I go online to a place that I'm sure isn' t selling the ones from China!

            1. re: mcf

              mcf, can you reveal where you go online for your pine nuts? I'm one of the unfortunate souls who gets "Pine Mouth" and desperately want some Mediterranean/Italian pine nuts so I can eat them again!

              ETA: Never mind! Just saw your post below re: nuts.com - thanks!

          2. re: fldhkybnva

            I believe my grocery store may have those in three separate places:

            1. Produce section - on a little endcap shelf, but not with the other nuts nearby
            2. With the olives and capers
            3. Italian portion of the International aisle

            1. re: Wahooty

              Mine are located in the baking section, by the other bagged nuts.

              1. re: juliejulez

                must be a regional thing, here in south central CT, only walnuts are in baking. All the other bagged nuts are on a shelf unit in produce next to Dried Fruit.
                at Stop and Shop, Big Y, Shop-Rite and Trader Joe's

            2. re: fldhkybnva

              The jars are with the specialty Italian items near the pasta and tomatoes. The bags are with the rest of the nuts in baking. Peanuts are with popcorn and tea. So weird.

            3. re: Perilagu Khan

              The pine nuts in grocery stores here are with the spices. You get like an ounce for $10. That I always buy wholesale and despite copious amounts of pesto, cookies, appetizers and salads, last me a year or two in the freezer. Nice to have on hand!

              1. re: coll

                Where do you buy wholesale?

                And I wonder what the best online purveyor of pine nuts is?

                1. re: Perilagu Khan

                  I buy it from the local food wholesalers (here on Long Island we have several to choose from); or the restaurant suppliers (like Jetro/Restaurant Depot); sometimes come 2 lbs but can be up to 5 lbs. Maybe BJs or Costco too, I haven't looked, but many restaurants shop there. I divide in some small ziplocks and there they wait in the freezer....just the pesto I make in the summer and the pignolia cookies at Christmas will use up a good deal of it. And I don't have to be cheap about the amount I use!

                  1. re: Perilagu Khan

                    I love nuts.com.

                    Just got a delivery of Mediterranean pine nuts from them.

                    Other folks who've been using them for years speak really highly of them, too.

                    They also carry less expensive ones, Mexican ones, I think, which may be the same variety/genus as the Chinese ones.

                    1. re: mcf

                      Of course you did. Mine were just delivered on Saturday :)

                      1. re: mcf

                        If you live anywhere in North America, Mexican pine nuts would be the more sustainable choice in terms of distance of shipping. Are they exempt from the chemical substance on the Chinese nuts?

                        1. re: lagatta

                          For those of us who get "pine mouth" from inferior pine nuts (such as those imported from Russia, China, and Vietnam) I'd rather stick with what I know works for me, if I can find it - Italian or Mediterranean. Perhaps New Mexican or Mexican pine nuts are just as good; I'm just not sure I want to risk having a metallic taste in my mouth for days.

                    2. re: coll

                      I buy pine nuts in the bulk bin at our Sprout's--$20 a pound, so I can buy as many or as few as I need. Have never had any pine mouth problems with them.

                      1. re: pine time

                        Ah, now there's a help. We do have a Sprout's. I'll have to check to see if they stock bulk pine nutz.

                        1. re: Perilagu Khan

                          I apologize if this is a duplicate--1st response seems to have disappeared.

                          Our Sprout's has 2 versions of bulk--the barrels and small plastic silos. The pine nuts are in the silo.

                2. Popsicle sticks.

                  Dried beans - sometimes with canned vegetables, sometimes with ethnic foods.

                  Evaporated and shelf-stable milk - sometimes with baking ingredients, sometimes with canned vegetables.

                  Maraschino cherries - sometimes with canned fruit, sometimes with ice cream toppings and good luck with finding the latter!

                  Can't say I've ever had problems with pimentos or hand soap.

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: greygarious

                    Food coloring. Not in baking. Not in spices. But in the hardware aisle next to the bamboo skewers!!!

                    Won ton wrappers. Use to be in produce. Then dairy. Now next to the smoked meats.

                    Strike anywhere matches. Never next to the charcoal.

                    1. re: INDIANRIVERFL

                      Yes, the mysterious won ton wrappers - now in the tofu aisle.

                      1. re: fldhkybnva

                        Ours are still in produce with sprouts and kimchi and fresh Asian noodles.

                      2. re: INDIANRIVERFL

                        Our food coloring is in the spice aisle.

                      3. re: greygarious

                        Popsicle sticks, try the dollar store, or Michaels/Joannes.

                        1. re: greygarious

                          Maybe bc I'm in Miami but the dried beans have a nice chunk of an aisle....hmm

                        2. Cornstach. Looked for it for 15 mins. just 2 days ago. Tried the baking aisle, ethnic (Chinese cooking, p'haps?), even--silly me--veggies (corn?). No luck. Gave up. Will start the search again next week.

                          18 Replies
                          1. re: pine time

                            On the baking aisle. Only one or two choices to select from so it does't take too much shelf space and easy to miss.

                            1. re: Leslie

                              Guess I might have overlooked it, but I did stand there, mentally naming every single thing I saw, just to make sure cornstarch wasn't there. Will try again next time!

                              1. re: pine time

                                I speak from experience, having also stood there looking at everything. I finally located it on the top shelf- almost out of my short self's eye sight!

                                1. re: Leslie

                                  I finally had to ask someone because I wasn't leaving without it. It wasn't a specialty ingredient so it had to be somewhere.

                                  1. re: melpy

                                    I gave up looking for a helper, too! At checkout, they routinely ask "did you find everything?"--this time I just said yeah. Will go on the treasure hunt for corn starch next week.

                                    1. re: pine time

                                      That's the latest thing at Shop Rite- to ask if I found everything. Too late now. I'm checking out. Would all the people behind me like you to go search for it now?

                                      1. re: Leslie

                                        They really don't like to hear that you didn't. The other day i went to Target to buy a toaster oven for a gift. When i was asked, I said no there were 2 toaster ovens on display that were not in stock. The checker said I should have asked for them to get one out of the back, to which i replied that i asked but they were out. At that point they really don't know what to say. She just said, well come back after Wednesday, which was somewhat helpful, but I just picked one of the ones that was in stock.

                                  2. re: Leslie

                                    I wasted my 30 minutes looking for corn starch recently... in our store it's on the bottom shelf, near the baking powder in the baking aisle.

                                    1. re: jujuthomas

                                      Yup, my store too at the very bottom. Thankfully, I don't use it much so good thing my plastic tub is nearly 75% full because I probably won't be able to find it when they move it.

                                      1. re: jujuthomas

                                        I have the same problem at home, oddly.

                                        1. re: jujuthomas

                                          Victory! Found the cornstarch yesterday, and <blushing> of course it was in the baking aisle. The container has indeed changed since I last bought it---now a yellow & blue plastic bottle--so I'll soothe my embarrassment by saying the change is why I couldn't find it before. Lord knows, in another 5 years when I'll need to buy it again, the container will have again changed.

                                          1. re: pine time

                                            I rather like the screw top over the box. So much less messy!

                                  3. re: pine time

                                    pine time. I don't buy corn starch often but had a helluva time not long ago. For one thing the yellow box I grew up with is now a squat plastic jar-thing with a screw off lid.

                                    I have a tough time when out of town or in an unfamiliar store finding Rotel tomatoes. They are sometimes in the ethnic section, sometimes on the bottom shelf of canned vegetables or in the tomato sauce section. I've also had a hard time finding toothpicks. I'm lucky my local supermarket, a Raleys Nob Hill, has a good staff in sufficient numbers so I can always find someone to ask.

                                    1. re: ItalianNana

                                      I've discovered that not only does Walmart stock Rotel, but it has the cheapest price by far.

                                      1. re: coll

                                        Thanks a million for the Rotel tip!

                                      2. re: ItalianNana

                                        I think that's part of it, the packaging of Argo cornstarch is improved but definitely not what you're used to looking for. I now have the small square container, and then I found in my pantry another large square container, obviously from BJs because I thought I was out.

                                      3. re: pine time

                                        Last week I saw it in Baby next to diapers and vaseline

                                        1. re: pine time

                                          You might have missed them because the packaging has changed if Argo was the brand you have been using. No more of that yellow cardboard box. It is now in a plastic container and is much easier to use. I hated that stuff in a bag in the box. messy to use.

                                        2. I used to have trouble with the following...
                                          --Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
                                          --Cinnamon Chips

                                          Also, a bit of a luxury item... but it is hard to find fresh calamari salad. (*First world problem*)

                                          8 Replies
                                          1. re: GraceW

                                            Some things are worth traveling to Spain or Peru for.

                                            1. re: GraceW

                                              I've never found cinnamon chips in a grocery. I finally ordered some from King Arthur catalog.

                                              1. re: coll

                                                If you have one nearby, Shop Rite carries cinnamon chips.

                                                1. re: HillJ

                                                  Good to know! But I'm all stocked up now.......although knowing me, I will pop in there anyway, to see what other exotics they have. I bought a pound of cinnamon mini chips and a pound of cappucino chips and don't even have any plans of what I'm doing with them!

                                                  1. re: coll

                                                    Ha! Now that my dear coll is something I do religiously. In my home I am known for turning a bag of peanuts into dinner if the price is right.

                                                    1. re: HillJ

                                                      Oh yeah, I have to do something Asian/Thai soon because my local store keeps having Peter Pan on sale but I can't keep eating it out of the jar for breakfast!

                                                    2. re: coll

                                                      I found that Meijer has the cinnamon chips. I needed them for this recipe... in case you like gooey toffee blondies....

                                                      http://www.askchefdennis.com/2012/01/...

                                                2. re: GraceW

                                                  For fresh calamari salad, I'd just go to the local seafood store.

                                                3. Just did this with something. Wish I could remember what now. Horseradish comes to mind. Breadcrumbs the first time at my grocery store were tough to find. Some things are in two sections but they don't have everything in both. Never have a problem with hand soap though. Cornstarch is usually in baking but WAY on the bottom. I think I had to ask. Shallots used to be super hidden as well when they only sold them in bags.

                                                  22 Replies
                                                  1. re: melpy

                                                    Breadcrumbs can indeed be tricky. I always leave a trail so I can find them the next time.

                                                    1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                      I never knew where to find breadcrumbs since I usually make them myself, but duh, they are in the bread aisle!

                                                      1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                        I see what you did there.

                                                      2. re: melpy

                                                        +1 on the breadcrumbs. Even worse if you're trying to find Corn Flake crumbs.

                                                        1. re: Christina D

                                                          Corn flake crumbs, my first guess would be the seafood dept.

                                                          1. re: coll

                                                            They always have them in the gluten free aisle... well, corn crumbs, maybe not the cereal.

                                                            1. re: mcf

                                                              They do sell the crumbs separately from the cereal, even in wholesale foods. It's a big item with fish markets.

                                                              1. re: coll

                                                                My second guess would be the bread crumb aisle, if I remember I'll have to take a look now.

                                                              2. re: mcf

                                                                Really? I can't even find a good GF cornflake. I miss my Kelloggs. They are made with barley malt, so can't have them.

                                                                1. re: ItalianNana

                                                                  Nature's Path makes the best of the bunch - try their "Honey'd Corn Flakes," which are better than the juice-sweetened ones.

                                                                  But I think Nature's Path Mesa Sunrise Flakes are really the best basic GF cereal I've found. Still corn-based so you can use them where you would use corn flakes, but the flavor is a bit nuttier & more complex thanks to the addition of amaranth & flax.

                                                                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                    Love the Nature's Path cereals - I usually get the Sunrise Crunchy Maple and the Crunchy Vanilla from Ocean State Job Lot.

                                                                    1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                      I've never had the Sunrise maple because they're higher in sugar than the plain. But I do like Arrowhead Mills Buckwheat Maple Flakes.

                                                                    2. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                      Agree about the Mesa Sunrise! For cereal, almost as good as my lost, lamented Team Flakes. Not the same of course, but in the ball park.

                                                                      I haven't used cornflake crumbs in a very long time, but using Mesa Sunrise instead is a great idea should the need arise.

                                                                      1. re: jdub1371

                                                                        In the ball park with Team Flakes? Good one!

                                                              3. re: Christina D

                                                                I was wondering if they're even still making corn flake crumbs, it's been so long since i've seen them. The best things for breading oven-fried eggplant ever, along with salt, oregano, and pepper.

                                                                1. re: EWSflash

                                                                  I don't even bother looking- it takes 30 seconds in a mini-processor (2 minutes with a rolling pin) to pulverize a box of cornflakes.

                                                                  1. re: sunshine842

                                                                    not to mention the therapeutic benefits from pulverizing them.

                                                                  2. re: EWSflash

                                                                    I bought a box in 2006 and they were with the breadcrumbs and cracker meal. I don't have much use for them though.

                                                                2. re: melpy

                                                                  somethings are in two sections.............
                                                                  needed jarred herring in wine sauce today for my mother's grocery list.

                                                                  In the center aisle deli refrigerator case>Nathan's 12 oz for $4.99
                                                                  On the top shelf of the dairy refrigerator case>Vita 12 ounce for $4.49 (Next to the Gold's Horseradish.
                                                                  Personally I don't think herring or horseradish belong in dairy.

                                                                  1. re: bagelman01

                                                                    Both are with the eggs after the dairy but before the juices at ours.

                                                                    1. re: bagelman01

                                                                      We don't get that kind of variety. Kelchner's horseradish is in the center deli refrigerator case. Kelchner's horseradish and Kelchner's cocktail sauce are in the smoked fish case.

                                                                      1. re: gaffk

                                                                        Refrigerator case next to the butter.

                                                                  2. Knorr products are divided up: baking, International and soup aisles; I never know which aisle the packets I'm looking for will be in.

                                                                    Caramel corn found in produce, chips and seasonal aisles.

                                                                    Chicken livers were recently moved to the freezer case. Why?

                                                                    Toothpicks I usually find by the cocktail mix section of the beverage (soda/waters) aisle.

                                                                    Pimento I go straight to Goya or the pickles section.

                                                                    Never had trouble finding matches in the very small hardware section (also wax candles) or hand soap (always with bar soap) though.

                                                                    Mileage does vary, for sure.

                                                                    21 Replies
                                                                    1. re: HillJ

                                                                      Chicken livers, I can get fresh during the Jewish holidays, but aside from that they'd probably be throwing them out too often from going out of date.

                                                                      1. re: coll

                                                                        Fairway and Wild by Nature always have them out. Among the poultry display.

                                                                        1. re: mcf

                                                                          I only get to either of these once a year if I'm lucky, but will put chicken liver on my running list. Fairway is in my near future!

                                                                          1. re: coll

                                                                            Isn't WBN out that way now??? Maybe the wrong fork?

                                                                            1. re: mcf

                                                                              Yeah they're in Hampton Bays (less than a half hour straight south) but don't have all that much stuff exciting to me, at least not that I can't get anywhere else, anymore. Overpriced and understocked is my current opinion. I will report on Fairway in the near future, it has been quite awhile! Hoping it won't be a total disappointment, or my heart will break.

                                                                              1. re: coll

                                                                                I agree. I have a WBN walking distance from my house, and i often drive right by it on my way to Whole Foods or Fairway.

                                                                                Fairway can be feast or famine, depending on what you're after there. I couldn't get pine nuts, but ordered online to get the good Italian ones, instead. WBN says they label country of origin, but they've taken to leaving "China" off of their garlic and pine nuts (which used to be labeled from Turkey). They look like the Chinese variety.

                                                                                1. re: mcf

                                                                                  I go to Fairway once, or it I'm lucky, twice a year. It's like a trip to Disney World for me!

                                                                                  1. re: coll

                                                                                    Just in the olive oil aisle alone, right?

                                                                                    1. re: mcf

                                                                                      Olive oil and vinegars are where I start. Love to taste test the varieties, it's like a food show!

                                                                        2. re: coll

                                                                          Think that goes for gizzards too? I love gizzards.

                                                                          1. re: EWSflash

                                                                            I freeze my own, out of every bird I buy. Good to have on hand. Don't think I've ever seen gizzards for sale by themselves though, just the livers.

                                                                            1. re: coll

                                                                              Check Walmart. If you're looking for an unattractive and/or unpopular animal organ, it's very likely on offer there. :)

                                                                              1. re: coll

                                                                                I think that's regional -- you can buy gizzards in the South pretty easily.

                                                                                1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                  Makes sense, I save them for my Southern recipes, like dirty rice.

                                                                                  1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                    Get gizzards here in Ca too, sometimes packaged mixed with hearts. Mmmm

                                                                                    1. re: ItalianNana

                                                                                      Fresh or frozen? I'm pretty sure growing up, Mom always got packages of them fresh, and as a kid, I HATED the chewy gizzards, but as the littlest member of the family (or possibly because Mom wasn't entirely immune to how much I hated them) I always got the couple of hearts in the package, which I loved. I have wondered if I would like gizzards now, but never see them in my market.

                                                                                      1. re: Wahooty

                                                                                        if you simmer them for a couple of hours, they break down and become delicious.

                                                                                        1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                          Yeah, that's exactly what I would like to try - Mom always fried them, but I think I'd prefer them slow-cooked in some way.

                                                                                          1. re: Wahooty

                                                                                            my mom fried them, too, and I detested the nasty little things.

                                                                                            Then I got to Europe and found out that they confit them in duck fat until they're melt-in-the-mouth tender.

                                                                                            Oh, baby, they are good.

                                                                                            1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                              They may well be duck gizzards (larger than chicken ones) as well.

                                                                                            2. re: Wahooty

                                                                                              My mom cooked them in the soup, and they were my favorite. Soft, but a little chewy, very tasty.

                                                                            2. Raisins. With nuts? produce? canned fruit? baking items?

                                                                              7 Replies
                                                                              1. re: Leslie

                                                                                I think raisins are above the applesauce.

                                                                                1. re: melpy

                                                                                  Wrong, they're in the produce section, but if you want the kind covered in yogurt (or that plastic stuff they call yogurt), they're in the candy aisle.

                                                                                  1. re: Isolda

                                                                                    Sometimes raisins are with the nuts, and other times near the fruit roll ups. Or in produce. Currants, now, those are impossible to find because if you ask an employee, they don't have a clue what you're talking about.

                                                                                    1. re: Isolda

                                                                                      None of us are wrong. We are giving locations at our stores. Way to attack me personally.

                                                                                      1. re: melpy

                                                                                        Really! I shop at several different stores, all within a five mile radius, and none are laid out the same way. There are some general consistancies, but I am always looking for an employee stocking the shelves to ask the location of something when it's not where it was in my other stores. Last week, I couldn't find canned clam juice, searching the canned fish aisle where the canned chopped clams are up and down, where everyone else sensibly keeps it; turns out they keep it on the shelf above the pickled herring in the refrigerated section. Who woulda thunk?

                                                                                      2. re: Isolda

                                                                                        Not in my store!

                                                                                      3. re: melpy

                                                                                        I thought when I first read applesauce that you had written appliances. 8^)

                                                                                    2. shelled pecans - baking section, not nut section
                                                                                      anchovy paste
                                                                                      powdered blue rhino horn (just kidding)

                                                                                      1. Toothpicks I always find near the paper goods with the plates, cups and napkins. Hand soap hangs out near the sponges and mops.

                                                                                        1. Hardest thing to find around here is no salt added canned goods and stocks. They seem to be stocked on an irregular basis, and in different places in the store.

                                                                                          1. Cooking spray. Usually in baking, now it's a condiment? What the... ?
                                                                                            Now I have a new grocery store to get used to, so shopping is a show up and wander around affair.

                                                                                            5 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: alliegator

                                                                                              At my local Stop and Shop cooking spray is in the oils/mao/dressing aisle, but Pam spray with flour is still in baking.
                                                                                              What I can no longer find in any area supermarket is Baker's Joy, but regular Walmarts have it.

                                                                                              1. re: bagelman01

                                                                                                Mayo and dressing are at least an aisle away from the oils at ours.

                                                                                                1. re: melpy

                                                                                                  Mayo and dressings are with the condiments. Oils are in the baking section. Vinegars, including balsamics, are with the condiments as well.

                                                                                                  1. re: gaffk

                                                                                                    +1

                                                                                              2. re: alliegator

                                                                                                Ours is with the oils.

                                                                                              3. My current grocery store leprechaun is cheesecloth.

                                                                                                11 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: Wahooty

                                                                                                  Oh yes, the cheesecloth always tucked in some corner with other random things.

                                                                                                  1. re: Wahooty

                                                                                                    Wahooty,

                                                                                                    Yep that too. And twine.

                                                                                                    1. re: ItalianNana

                                                                                                      I've been getting my cheesecloth at Home Depot, in the paint dept. And not all musty like the ones I occasionally find in the supermarket.

                                                                                                      1. re: coll

                                                                                                        thanks for the tip. cheesecloth has been on my list for a while (but only on the list in my mind) and i keep forgetting to pick some up. maybe i'll take a trip to home depot soon, then i can actually try making ricotta.

                                                                                                        1. re: calmossimo

                                                                                                          That was the reason I was searching for chessecloth in the first place myself, but it comes in handy for finely straining other stuff too. I just used it to clean my fry oil the other day.

                                                                                                          1. re: calmossimo

                                                                                                            By the way, a tea towel works just fine for ricotta making, no cheesecloth needed :) The instructor in my cheese class said you could even use a pillowcase.

                                                                                                            1. re: juliejulez

                                                                                                              I was afraid you were going to say underwear.

                                                                                                              1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                Heh, well, if it was clean I'm sure that works too :)

                                                                                                                1. re: juliejulez

                                                                                                                  the fabric doesn't know what shape it's sewn into....

                                                                                                                2. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                  Hmmm. This might just explain why I saw a pale full o' ricotta in a Victoria's Secret tuther day. I saw it in passing, natch.

                                                                                                        2. re: Wahooty

                                                                                                          Yes indeed...have had sucess finding it in the....craft asle (of course?) at one of our ---marts.

                                                                                                        3. Twine - at the holidays it's front and center and then disappears. I always resort to asking the butcher for a few yards.

                                                                                                          11 Replies
                                                                                                          1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                                                            I've been having luck finding twine at the dollar stores.

                                                                                                            1. re: coll

                                                                                                              I often see it in the pasta section between the buccatini and the rigatoni.

                                                                                                              1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                                                                But never the twine shall meet.

                                                                                                                1. re: Veggo

                                                                                                                  Unless you're one hell of a vascular surgeon.

                                                                                                                  1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                                                                    That's beyond my expertise. I do some contract rocket surgery for North Korea, but it's mostly underwater cutting and welding after the customary misfires. Good job security, though.

                                                                                                                    1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                                                                      Perilagu Khan

                                                                                                                      You are on fire today!!!

                                                                                                                      1. re: ItalianNana

                                                                                                                        You bring the marshmallows, and Veggo will bring the franks.

                                                                                                              2. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                                                                I usually find it in the aisle where they sell cooking utensils and stuff like aluminum baking pans.

                                                                                                                1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                                                                  Same thing with the dry stuffing mix.

                                                                                                                  1. re: EWSflash

                                                                                                                    I think the stuffing mix is seasonal. Once, I can't remember why, I wanted some in the summer and all they had was Bell brand in a box. It was in the bread section, next to the elusive breadcrumbs.

                                                                                                                    1. re: coll

                                                                                                                      The stuffing mix in my store is always at the very top with the croutons which I also had a hard time finding.

                                                                                                                2. I recently learned that caperberries are not shelved next to the capers. I can't make sense of that.
                                                                                                                  And yesterday, at my local Costco, I learned that Wild Planet tuna is shelved separately from the other canned tuna. Guess it thinks that it’s better than the other tuna.

                                                                                                                  1. Canned pumpkin. I've seen it in the baking aisle, canned vegetable aisle, and once an employee led me over to the aisle with canned fruit.

                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                    1. re: KrumTx

                                                                                                                      This was my recent issue -- canned pumpkin. It was the "off season" and it wasn't on the baking aisle, it was on the bottom shelf in an obscure corner near the applesauce.

                                                                                                                    2. Goya canned beans. I gave up looking for them near other canned beans at my grocer yesterday, and then stumbled onto them in the "ethnic" foods.

                                                                                                                      The ol' ethnic-shelves switcharoo has happened to me with other items, too. I think egg noodles get moved around. I remember looking for them last week where they usually are, lower shelf by other pastas, only to find them re-located to an end-of-aisle Jewish foodstuffs display temporarily (for Passover). Horseradish was similarly moved, from condiments to Passover foods.

                                                                                                                      Some of the baking aisle contents seem random at every store. Sometimes you find shelled nuts and dried fruit in baking, sometimes they're somewhere else, like by produce and bulk foods.

                                                                                                                      The worst offender in the siwtcheroo category are regular popcorn kernels, imo. Where's Waldo? By the nuts and snacks? By microwave popcorn? The chip aisle? It's always a hunt, and I think rarely requested in these days of microwave popcorn-as-the-norm. I'll ask a grocery stocker and they often clarify, "You mean microwave popcorn?" No. Unpopped pop corn kernels. Crazy.

                                                                                                                      1. I don't buy canned beans very often, so I had a hard time finding them in my last trip. They were not in the aisle labeled "rice and beans" which is also the aisle where the canned tomatoes and other canned vegetables are. Instead they were on the next aisle over.

                                                                                                                        I also had a hell of a time finding won ton wrappers. The recipe I was using suggested they would be in the area where they sell fresh guacamole and salsas and hummus. They weren't there so I tried the freezer section and in the area where they sell refrigerated pie crusts and cookie dough. But nope, ended up being in a different area... in the produce by the fresh herbs and mushrooms (??).

                                                                                                                        Roasted red peppers were difficult too, I figured they'd be near the pickles or other jarred/canned foods of that nature. But no, they only carry one brand, and it's in the ethnic aisle near the other italian stuff like fancy tomato pastes.

                                                                                                                        Oh and ice cream syrup, of the Hershey's variety (so's request). I figured it would either be in the baking section, or on an end cap somewhere by the freezers. Ended up being on a tiny shelf area near the produce, same w/ the ice cream cones. I think that was a result of an old store trying to cram more and more product in though. Thankfully it isn't the normal store I go to.

                                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                                        1. re: juliejulez

                                                                                                                          Yeah, that loction for wonton wrappers always threw me off. For almost a year, I was getting them from a specialty store until I happened to look down and see them under those tubes of herb paste.

                                                                                                                        2. Tahini.

                                                                                                                          It's a Jewish/kosher food!

                                                                                                                          No, it's a nut butter!

                                                                                                                          You're both wrong, it's a Middle Eastern delicacy. That's why it's above the Japanese curries!

                                                                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                                                                          1. re: DuchessNukem

                                                                                                                            In my store, it's in the deli section. Proves it's a delicacy!

                                                                                                                            1. re: DuchessNukem

                                                                                                                              I found the Tahini in the nut butter aisle.

                                                                                                                            2. Specialty meat dry spice rubs -- with the other individual spices and combinations of spices, like Mrs. Dash or McCormick's? No. After looking closely for 15 minutes I found a helpful stocker who immediately took me to the steak-sauce and vinegar aisle.

                                                                                                                              Mango chutney - one store has it with jams, another in the International section, and the third has it with BBQ sauces.

                                                                                                                              Packaged dried dates for baking - not with raisins, craisins and other dried fruits, but instead in the fresh produce department.

                                                                                                                              1. Toothpicks? The "fancy" ones are in the beverage aisle with the drink mixers. The plain ones are with the paper cups and plates.

                                                                                                                                Lemon juice is with the fruit juices, lime juice is located with the drink mixers.

                                                                                                                                Regular straws are with paper plates and cups. The "adult beverage" stirrer straws are with the drink mixers. The coffee stirrer/straws are with the coffee.

                                                                                                                                Maraschino cherries without stems are with the drink mixers. Maraschinos with stems are with the ice cream toppings which are somewhere I always forget.

                                                                                                                                The last real stumper I had was Bisquick. Pancake mixes and syrup are in the cereal aisle. Bisquick is in the baking aisle. Go figure.

                                                                                                                                Nuts in their shells are in produce. Shelled nuts are in baking. "Snacking" nuts are in the snack aisle.

                                                                                                                                They're pretty good at keeping all the olives, capers, pimientos, etc together. And hand soap and bar soap are always co-located with the body washes, shampoos and conditioners.

                                                                                                                                ETA: The reason there's such a slant to the "drink mixer" section? I live in the land where 6-packs are sold in certain locations, cases in other retailers and wine and liquor in our fine state-regulated stores. These state stores stock very little other than wine and liquor (it's only been a few years since they even offered corkscrews). So yes, if you want to mix your liquor with anything, it's the supermarket beverage aisle.

                                                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                                                1. re: gaffk

                                                                                                                                  The nuts and maraschino cherries always get me. They are usually in multiple places, and there may be some overlap, but mostly it's different types.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: alliaphagist

                                                                                                                                    A grocery store near my old house used to stock the nuts on a shelf above the ice cream bin. The cherries were in the baking aisle. Never made sense to me.

                                                                                                                                2. Tree-ripened fruit.

                                                                                                                                  1. Corn syrup - not with sugar and baking items - I found it with the maple syrup.

                                                                                                                                    Horseradish - different in every store - some places, above the shredded cheese, some places in with the dairy/sour cream, one store I found it in the yogurt section.

                                                                                                                                    These two off of the top of my head.

                                                                                                                                    10 Replies
                                                                                                                                    1. re: jeanmarieok

                                                                                                                                      All the stores in these parts stock horseradish with the mustards. I don't think I've ever seen fresh horseradish.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                                                                                        You should have seen me yesterday out in the backyard grated 2 lbs of fresh horseradish for Passover. It's much too potent to grate indoors.
                                                                                                                                        I wear a mask and rubber gloves and a throwaway surgical gown

                                                                                                                                        1. re: bagelman01

                                                                                                                                          What no photo?!!! Awesome visual anyway. That's true dedication.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: bagelman01

                                                                                                                                            I hope you didn't violate any Connecticut environmental regs, bagels. Perhaps you purchased a Passover exemption?

                                                                                                                                            But seriously, I'd love to have a sack o' fresh horseradish. The prepared stuff is pabalum.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                                                                                              it's a great test for potential sons-in-law. Tonight at the seder, 24 yo daugther's newest flame will be given a nice chunk of fresh horseradish root to eat as his portion of 'bitter herbs' no mild jarred mixed with beets horseradich or romaine lettuce as some people use.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: bagelman01

                                                                                                                                                We grew horseradish in our backyard and subsequently grated it, of course. First time we did inside, and thought we would die! It was like mustard gas, at least what I've heard about it as a way to punish your worst enemies. So next time, we did it outside on the porch. Maybe we should have waited for a windy day, it really wasn't much better overall. Of course it was delicious, but now I let the local fish markets and farm stands provide it for me; we moved away from that house and I always wonder how far my little patch had spread. Where I live now, it is a traditional thing to make and well worth the $5 or so a lb rather than the fumes. If I ever see a WWI gas mask at a garage sale, maybe I'll try again!

                                                                                                                                                1. re: bagelman01

                                                                                                                                                  Heh heh. Now that's what I call keeping the faith.

                                                                                                                                                  And doubtless a good winnowing device, to boot.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: bagelman01

                                                                                                                                                    Flame indeed. He may become a cinder.

                                                                                                                                            2. re: jeanmarieok

                                                                                                                                              I've had probs finding horseradish too. I knew where it was in my old store, and simply could not find it without help in my local WF. Maddening.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: jeanmarieok

                                                                                                                                                I'm with you on the horseradish. In one store i know of they have a brand or 2 next to the cold seafood, like lox, shucked oysters in a jar, etc., but put other brands somewhere in the dairy case.

                                                                                                                                              2. The things that are the hardest to find for me are whatever it is that I have the most urgent need for today.

                                                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                  For me, that would be a parking spot most of the time.

                                                                                                                                                2. Lard is one for me. It's either near the butter or the bacon.

                                                                                                                                                  1. There is one dreadful, overpriced grocery store chain here in MA that puts all of the so-called natural, organic foods in their own section, because they might fight with all the politically incorrect, preservative-laden groceries. So if you want regular old kidney beans, you get them in the bean aisle, but if you want organic ones, you've got to go to the organic section. And they duplicate a lot of things this way, which makes shopping take twice as long. Drives me nuts. Unfortunately, there is a branch of this store within walking distance of my house, so I find myself shopping there more often than I'd like.

                                                                                                                                                    17 Replies
                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Isolda

                                                                                                                                                      You know that they want you to take twice as long to shop, right? Mission accomplished!

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: coll

                                                                                                                                                        Walked into ShopRite for my free eggs with $10.00 purchase, left with $98.00 worth of goodies. Guilty!

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                                                          Been there, done that!

                                                                                                                                                      2. re: Isolda

                                                                                                                                                        They have this arrangement at my local Wegmans which drives me insane walking back and forth across the store. Also the frozen fish is in the fish section which is across the store from the rest of the frozen food.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                                                                                                          And next week, they'll rearrange it. That Danny is a card.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                                                                                                            Wegman's is the worst about periodically rearranging their stock. Used to drive me mad when I lived in Jersey. As if living in Jersey is not stressful enough!

                                                                                                                                                          2. re: Isolda

                                                                                                                                                            The closest grocery store in a city I previously lived in did this, including separate fridge/freezer cases with organic dairy and frozen vegetables, etc. I referred to it as the Organic Ghetto. At least the organic produce was in the general produce section!

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Isolda

                                                                                                                                                              I used to go through the "organic ghetto" too. But there seemed to be some overlap, as if the store had run out of room in various places and had to shift some foods around.

                                                                                                                                                              I don't think WinCo is as bad about this, but then they don't carry that much "natural" or "organic" stuff. Hence a weekly trip to WF.

                                                                                                                                                              What I miss about my new grocers is the knowledge of where everything can be found. I still consult that old "map" to find out where a possible finding place might be in my new store, but usually that isn't helpful.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: sueatmo

                                                                                                                                                                That's what it is, I think; they bring in new items without knowing if they will stick, so they park them on the end caps or on the shelves over the frozen dept. How they expect them to catch on sometimes, I don't know.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: coll

                                                                                                                                                                  Or: they know if we're wandering around looking for xyz, we're likely to see and therefore grab abc as well.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: coll

                                                                                                                                                                    they're usually put on end caps because that's where stores traditionally stock items that they want you to see/notice.

                                                                                                                                                                    Trust me -- planning what goes where on a grocery shelf is very, very meticulously planned out - and there are companies that do nothing BUT produce planograms of what goes where.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                                      The big chains, yes! But I've been doing most of my shopping at a smaller chain, and luckily the place is less than 10 aisles because it's an adventure....but a fun one.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                                        Oh, no doubt. There's a dude in Manhattan who's bringing 2 mill per annum for determining whether the Ding Dongs should go next to the Ho Hos or under the Snoballs.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                                          I generally ignore the end caps unless something is out if stock because it is on sale and there is a sign for additional quantities see aisle __.

                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: sueatmo

                                                                                                                                                                        that one I actually sympathise with them -- the stores are damned no matter what they do:

                                                                                                                                                                        1) have a dedicated organic section -- but then "regular" shoppers tend to not go look for it specifically,

                                                                                                                                                                        2) spread all the organics through the store in the "regular" aisles -- and annoy the snot out of the folks who buy only organic, because now they have to schlep through the whole store,

                                                                                                                                                                        or

                                                                                                                                                                        3) double-stock everything, which is expensive for the store.

                                                                                                                                                                        Glad I'm not in charge of that decision.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: sueatmo

                                                                                                                                                                          I think part of the problem too is that customers demand such a wide variety of products that nobody cared about 15-20 years ago, ie organic products, gluten-free, so the retailer feels obligated to stock them all, while still stocking the normal stuff. But, they're having to fit them into stores that weren't built with having that much inventory on hand in mind... so basically they're having to cram stuff wherever they find space.

                                                                                                                                                                          My store I do my main shopping at is a new store in a new building, opened last summer. It's huge and is beautifully maintained, and overall finding things is very easy (other than won ton wrappers!). But, they built it knowing how many different products they had to stock. But I get really frustrated when I have to go to say, the Safeway near my work, as it's an older and smaller store and they have stuff stocked in some of the weirdest places (see my post about ice cream syrup and cones).

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: sueatmo

                                                                                                                                                                            Our local Hannaford used to have an "organic ghetto" but recently during a renovation moved all of the organic items next to their non-organic brethren. It does make it much easier to shop and compare.

                                                                                                                                                                        2. Honestly, I don't believe this treasure hunting IS a fluke at all. The big box stores have proven to the grocery chains that the public (myself included) will walk an entire football field of aisles to buy something even if that product is moved to another area of the store week after week. The markets that I frequent (just about all of those avail in NJ/PA) are making a large effort to match products with one another, to match sales items with higher priced items that work together in a recipe to turn what appears like a bargain into a larger order.

                                                                                                                                                                          I've fallen for all the tricks.

                                                                                                                                                                          18 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                                                                            Stew Leonard's in CT has perfected this wandering. They have ONE AISLE throughout the entire store. You have to walk the entire thing if you want to get out.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                              When you get out, do you get a piece of cheese?

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                                                                                                                                LOL! It sure as hell FELT like that! Add in the singing cow heads and dancing whatevers built throughout the store, let's just say it's an "experience" I need not experience again.

                                                                                                                                                                                And yes, sunshine - like IKEA. But IKEA at least gives you a few shortcut openings through various departments. Stew Leonard's does not. At least not the last time I was there (quite some time ago).

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                  ROFL, pardon me while I visualize you walking through Stew Leonard's with somewhere else to be on your mind!

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                                                                                    It was a trip for a "Quality Committee" I was part of for a former company. Scoping out places for their excellent customer service (which *was* top-notch, at least when we saw it), etc. to see what could be used in our company. Believe it or not, they have like 25 checkout lines - so none were more than 2 people deep. So that I liked.

                                                                                                                                                                                    if I had been there on my own, I probably would been like a linebacker, barreling through anyone in my way to get away from the Bugaboo Creek-like singing animals.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                      Exactly what I was picturing...naturally for folks who frequent SL it must have a special appeal. I'm a moody shopper; sometimes in the mood to linger, read, learn...but more times than not get me in, list check...and out I go. My coffees still hot waiting in the car.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                                                                                        EXACTLY. Most often, I'm looking to get what I need and get out of the store...unless I'm visiting a new area of the country, I usually ask whoever I'm visiting if they have any interesting markets for me to see...ethnic or just "regular" supermarkets. Von's in Los Angeles was one I saw with my sister-in-law while visiting family (although Grand Central Market is one I *wish* we had gone to!). Ukrops in Richmond, VA was another visit.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                          So, what did you think of LA's VON'S? Everyone talks about Von's!

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                                                                                            Was there *so* briefly, didn't really get a chance to explore. My SIL and I were late getting home to make dinner. And my brother gets cranky if he doesn't eat when he wants to. :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                        That reminds me: I need to email my local store and tell them to TURN OFF THE DAMN 80s SYNTH-POP SHIT. It's stuck in my head for days after shopping.

                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                      I was visiting my best girlfriend and her husband in Westport a couple of weeks back, and she and I decided to check out the Stew Leonards in Norwolk - hated it! I suppose you would get use to it if you are a regular (and learn where the shortcuts are) but I don't like feeling like part of a herd. MOO:)

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: EM23

                                                                                                                                                                                        Oh my that does sounds awful!

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: EM23

                                                                                                                                                                                          I can't imagine ANYONE making it their regular shop. Add in the fact that all of the "entertainment" brings in families with kids as well as tour buses - no thank you.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                            Tour buses? Entertainment? lol
                                                                                                                                                                                            We went on a weekday so I guess we were spared that experience. It is a shame, because we went in there looking forward to exploring the cheese, fresh pastas, coffee and produce areas, and all I could think of the whole time was "let me out of here"!

                                                                                                                                                                                            We have a couple of SL liquor stores on Long Island that are fantastic - great selections, prices and customer service. Their staff actually know wine. They offer a very large selection of wines and most of the wines have a store review, with some getting special designations as a "staff pick" or a "bargain". And no herding!

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: EM23

                                                                                                                                                                                              Yeah, we were there on a weekday as well (early 90s?) And got there about lunchtime, so the grazers were out as well.

                                                                                                                                                                                              And :::Sigh::: I miss NY/NJ supermarkets that have at least wine/beer sold in them. Won't ever find that up here in MA.

                                                                                                                                                                                              And we've strayed OT here - although Stew Leonards would make it tough to find everything if your list wasn't in their single aisle order! LOL

                                                                                                                                                                                    3. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                      kinda like Ikea...

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                                                        but with singing cow heads for added ambience.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: EM23

                                                                                                                                                                                          oh, yippy-Skippy. No thanks.

                                                                                                                                                                                  2. Pectin for canning send me on a wild goose chase a few years back. That and ladyfingers. I almost had to order them online.

                                                                                                                                                                                    7 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: cinrucker

                                                                                                                                                                                      Good calls on both. Pectin and ladyfingers are such a common ingredient to my way of thinking but both are treated as seasonal, specialty items.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: cinrucker

                                                                                                                                                                                        I easily find pectin in the baking aisle, but it may be seasonal. If in a pinch, try Agway or Walmart, they cater to that kind of thing.

                                                                                                                                                                                        Ladyfingers I just bought a few packs around Valentines day, really nice ones, and then stuck a couple of packs in the freezer. When they have them, they will advertise as a sale.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: cinrucker

                                                                                                                                                                                          I've found small hardware stores like Ace or Truevalue to be better sources of pectin and canning supplies.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: mpjmph

                                                                                                                                                                                            Yes old fashioned hardware stores.

                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: cinrucker

                                                                                                                                                                                            Mr. Pine is from India, and he grew up with "ladyfingers," but it's really okra! (He claims that's the British term--anyone know if that's correct?) When I once said I was using some ladyfingers in the dessert, he wrinkled his nose. Took me awile to figure out why!

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: pine time

                                                                                                                                                                                              apparently so: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lady%27s...

                                                                                                                                                                                              never knew that. Apparently they call the sponge cake/cookies sponge-fingers, trifle sponges or boudoir cookies

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: alliaphagist

                                                                                                                                                                                                Ohhhh, I'll choose boudoir cookies! Is that like not kicking a partner out of bed for eating crackers? Thanks for the wiki link--never thought to look there!

                                                                                                                                                                                          3. Tahini - its in with peanut butter here. I used to find it near the olives.

                                                                                                                                                                                            salted and roasted sunflower seeds - I finally located some in the nut aisle at WinCo. I used to buy these in the produce section.

                                                                                                                                                                                            Perdue Oven stuffer chickens - apparently not available at all in the PNW.

                                                                                                                                                                                            Demings canned red salmon - ditto. Apparently not available.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. Shoe laces!

                                                                                                                                                                                              On the side of an end cap leading to the detergent aisle.

                                                                                                                                                                                              Peanut butter. Next to the coffees.

                                                                                                                                                                                              Ocean Spray juices. Stocked in the cereal aisle.

                                                                                                                                                                                              10 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: RedTop

                                                                                                                                                                                                I dread hunting for shoe laces. I guess life's fairly easy when this one of life's greatest tasks.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Life gets even easier when one wears Tevas every day...

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Veggo

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Loafers, I presume? I've learned, and now loafers are my default shoes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Sandals.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      http://www.teva.com/mens-sandals/men-...

                                                                                                                                                                                                      (I'm willing to bet that Veggo's not talking about the sneakers -- I'm guessing barefoot shoes

                                                                                                                                                                                                      )

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Not Kinos?

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Sports sandals, indeed. My feet have had Teva tan lines for 17 years. Factoid: Teva is hebrew for nature. The shoes have been improved over the years, and last a long, long time.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                                                                                                                                                    They're with the shoe polish, but where that it I can't say off the top of my head. Either automotive or exotic cleaning supplies. Remember when you went to the shoemaker to get those kind of supplies?

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: coll

                                                                                                                                                                                                      My store stocks them next to the shoestring potatoes in the snack section. Go figger.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                                                                                                                                                        LMAO

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Stop!

                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Wow. I don't think I have ever bought laces. I pretty much live in shoes thy dont lace and the ones that do wear out the shoe before the lace.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: melpy

                                                                                                                                                                                                        We are SO old fashioned, I hate to say.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  3. Popcorn kernels (not the microwave bags)

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Whole nuts in the shell that aren't peanuts or walnuts (sometimes see bags of "mixed nuts" around the holidays, but would love to be able to buy a bag of just pecans in their shells, slippery devils but good)

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Hearts of Palm (canned)

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Canned seafood stock (for when I'm in a hurry; used to be easy to find).

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Red clam sauce (ditto)

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Crock pot liner bags

                                                                                                                                                                                                    8 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: pinehurst

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Interesting, there must be a lot of regional variation because these items seem to always be where they should.
                                                                                                                                                                                                      popcorn kernels - on the bottom shelf below the microwave bags
                                                                                                                                                                                                      seafood stock - next to the chicken, beef and vegetable stock in the soup aisle
                                                                                                                                                                                                      red clam sauce - with the other pasta sauce
                                                                                                                                                                                                      crock pot liner bags - with the other plastic bags, aluminum foil, saran wrap (what a genius invention btw)

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                                                                                                                                                        You're absolutely right. I shop in areas that have lots of folks who were born in Caribbean countries (the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, and Haiti, probably in that order), so I have no problem finding Goya beans, capers, pimentos...in fact, any Goya or Grace product. Goya even has their own brands of evaporated and condensed milks!

                                                                                                                                                                                                        A lot of the stuff favored by earlier immigrant groups....jars of Pastene Lupini beans, red clam sauce, jarred giardiniera, are tougher to find as the Pastene/Italian specialty sections shrink and the Goya section grows (in face, is a whole aisle in my local store).

                                                                                                                                                                                                        So I can find a 20 lb bag of Goya rice, but not a couple of brands of Pastina that I favored, and I hunt for oil cured olives. No big deal, just natural changes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: pinehurst

                                                                                                                                                                                                          The companies pay by the foot in grocery stores, and Goya has half an aisle on one side in any grocery store around here, proving its profitabily. Just don't always think to look there first thing unfortunately. I am there often, looking for passionfruit juice, luckily, and can't resist browsing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: coll

                                                                                                                                                                                                            I have tried repeatedly to connect Goya, a family owned company, with the only domestic grower of huitlacoche, but it seems they have little use for gringos. Disappointing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Veggo

                                                                                                                                                                                                              V, maybe because huitlacoche is too durned Mexican for their East Coast sensibilities?

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Veggo

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Huitlacoche--that's Cream o' Wheat served in the low-rent section of a French train, right?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  *snort*

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  FWIW, we have several stores near me - including one large chain - that cater to the Mexican population and I can't find huitlacoche in any of them. Or Herdez's Five Chile Salsa either.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  My favorite store has a small selection for Mexican foods where they keep the salsas, refried beans and tomatillos, but for some reason the packaged dried chiles are over by the potatoes in the fresh produce section.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: coll

                                                                                                                                                                                                                I like the browsing, too. What sold me originally and kept me coming back to the aisle were the cheap (and good) spices and stuffed olives. Way better value than the spice aisle in the baking section.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. My tough ones are canning supplies (Publix doesn't carry them at all here - in the middle of farm country!), any kind of tapioca, the aforementioned cheesecloth, and finally currants and other dried fruits.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          26 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: jmcarthur8

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Canning supplies are tough, I find them at Agway and Walmart; plus in the supermarkets but only for a few weeks in the early fall. Otherwise Amazon.com, about the same price year round. Tapioca is abundant here in NY though, never a problem for me,lots of variety. Where it's located I can't say offhand though, I just run across it accidentally. I get my dried fruits etc at BJs always, mainly because they seem so much fresher than grocery stores.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: coll

                                                                                                                                                                                                              I have a family recipe for larger tapioca (fish eyes) with dried fruit served with heavy cream. Oriental stores frequently have tapioca in larger sizes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: sr44

                                                                                                                                                                                                                I have a box of large tapioca and am mystified what to do with it. Guess growing up with Minute Tapioca sort of stunted my growth.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: coll

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Coll, soak the pearl tapioca, cook per instructions into a nice vanilla pudding, and serve warm. Top with a chilled rhubarb sauce. Best dessert combination ever.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: jmcarthur8

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I put it in a jar so don't have the instructions, not that I can't look it up somewhere. Aiyee, I have some rhubarb jam in the fridge and was wondering what to do with it. Bingo!

                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: jmcarthur8

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Same here! I know the grocery I regularly patronize has them, but they like to hide them. In fall they sometimes bring the jars out, but I always have to ask where they've stowed just the lids.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              They also like to see how high they can stack groceries, making sure that whatever I'm looking for is up where only a basketball star on stilts can reach it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: tardigrade

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Little old ladies are always asking me to get something off the top shelf for them (I'm not a basketball star but tall enough I guess). Glad to be of service!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: coll

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I'm also the designated "can you get that for me, honey" person at the grocery store! Mom was tiny, though, so I'm used to that role.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: pine time

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    You just reminded me, it was the same with my MIL. The whole family is tiny tiny. That was my job; not to help with the meal (she and grandma had that well covered) it would be to get all the special china and once a year cookware off the upper shelves for them. They had a two step stepstool they used when I wasn't there, but they seemed to really appreciate my help in that dept.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    In the grocery store sometimes it's even too high for me, but since it's a little old lady I will climb on the bottom shelf if needed. They only buckle occasionally!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: coll

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Making me smile.Mom was 5 feet I stood 5'9'' from the 6th grade.I had to get everything down out of the tall cupboards for her:)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Lillipop

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Husband is 6', DD your height. The convention is to respond to my every request for top shelf help with "why?" and to refuse assistance until I say "Because I'm TOO SHORT."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        5'4.5"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          My mom would have swatted me like an annoying fly had I ever pulled a stunt like that on her.She was quite the little tyrant:)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Lillipop

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Mom used to threaten to "smack you upside your smart-aleck head" when I'd tease her, but I'd say "you can't reach my head." Amazing what arm-span she had!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: pine time

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              yeah, never underestimate the length of your mom's arms.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              *whack*

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                or her throwing arm (while visions of flying hairbrushes dance in my head)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: pine time

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Luckily for me along with the height came long legs so I could run like hell if I had to:) Her short little legs could never catch me:)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: Lillipop

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Sister from another mother - my mom - 5'2", and me - 5'11.5". My brother was taller than me, but he never seemed to be in the kitchen when our mom needed things from the high shelves.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: coll

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        No one ever asks me but I love to offer to help. Although once someone wanted to know what Parker house rolls were and I couldn't find any. Had to show them the king Hawaiian rolls and let them know the flavor wouldn't be the same.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: coll

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I march over to the cleaning aisle and grab something with a long handle. Mops with attached sponge heads work really well. Then I go back and scrape my item off the top shelf.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Mop stays with me until checkout, when I leave it with the cashier.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          "I needed to get something down and couldn't find an employee."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          KB now in NoVA

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Kris in Beijing

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Even tho' I'm tall, my highest kitchen cabinet harbors stuff wayyyy in the back. I'm lazy to find and use the step-stool, but found that the plastic spaghetti-grabber-tool works great as an extension of my hand!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: pine time

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I have a pair of very long silicone-coated tongs that I use as a grabber. I've even been known to retrieve glasses, because the silicone doesn't slip.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I use my silicone tipped tongs as a grabber too! Wish I had thought of that years ago.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: pine time

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                The Khantessa used to use a set of BBQ tongs buffore I bought her a nice, collapsable step stool.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: pine time

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I have a 4-step fold up ladder in the corner of my kitchen. I'm 5'4', my cabinets are 7'. I, too, appreciate those tall helpful people at the market.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: tardigrade

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              As a 5'2"er, I'd like to say thanks to all the helpers! I've been known to climb a bit, or grab tongs from cookwear to grab stuff, but there's nothing better than a friendly tall person at the store :)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              At home, I rely on my fold up reachin' stool. I've had it forever.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: alliegator

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I have a friend who is 6'4" and gets quite angry that the tall men are always paired with short women. Our mutual friend who is 4'11" very logically explained to her that it's a requirement so that they can get to things on tall shelves.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. The first ones that come to mind are:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Corn Flake crumbs
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            graham cracker crumbs
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Kraft Parmesan cheese (sometimes with the pasta, other times totally random)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            ALL of those things that don't have their own shelf space but hang along the sides of the aisles (sewing supplies, clothes pins, etc.)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Entenmann's / Tastykake / (used-to-be-Hostess) products (always on the end/side somewhere, but WHERE?)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. Panko. Dates. Couscous.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              6 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Pearled barley is becoming tricky to track down. I know, because I couldn't find it this morning and had to ask for help.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I remember trying to find barley a couple of years ago. I went all over the store. I finally found it with the oatmeal. Then I felt dumb, because obviously it is a cereal. But does anyone ever eat it for breakfast?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: sueatmo

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I eat quinoa for breakfast, so why not?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    My barley is always in the dried bean section.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: sueatmo

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      "But does anyone ever eat it for breakfast?"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Barley ever.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Your responses are just hidden treasures on this thread, PK.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: gaffk

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. Its easy now with Easter approaching, but try to find the French's Fried Onions any time when it's not a holiday.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Maybe it's just as well, too easy to eat them like potato chips, and they are neither healthy nor cheap.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  10 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: KaimukiMan

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I just noticed Frenchs somewhere weird the other day, like in that no man's land where they keep the Velveeta on a dry goods shelf. In their store plan, I imagine it being listed as the Miscellaneous Section.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: coll

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Our Velveeta is in the fridge case.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: melpy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Ours too and because I find it there I store it in the fridge, but now that I think about it, does it have to refrigerated?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          It's never refrigerated in our stores. I would put it in the fridge after it's open. But then, I wouldn't buy it so that's a moot point.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Nope doesn't have to be refrigerated. But when you're looking for it, some have in refrigerated section and some on shelf, you never know. I've had people freak out when they see it on my pantry shelf at home.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I have two or three vegetable dishes or soups that my husband will eat only if Velveeta is incorporated (mostly involving broccoli), so I have to bite the bullet!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: coll

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              there's nothing wrong with melting Velveeta with broccoli once in a while. It's good.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                If it gets a meat lover to eat brocoli, I'm all for it!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Amen to that.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  And Ostrogoth that I am, I've even been known to eat--horribile dictu!--a hunk of unvarnished Velveeta.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    It does have healthy stuff like calcium I think....could do worse!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: coll

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  That was a poser...I needed Velveeta for a recipe and had no idea where to look. I finally found it on a top shelf near, of all things, the microwave popcorn!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. Assistance.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        28 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Yes, this! I can't find anyone and when I do they have no clue even the employees with dedicated roles (eg the butcher or employees only at the fish counter).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Very few people even know what the products are! I found that some had even stocked the cilantro section with parsley.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: melpy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I bought sake and mirin once--the checkout lady and two bag boys called over about 4 other employees to look at the oddball ingredients I bought!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: pine time

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                If a cashier asks me what a produce item is, I tell them they have to try it now!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I've given out many an impromptu recipe on the line to the cashier. Passes the time very nicely.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: coll

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    One clerk finally said (on ringing up leeks...again....) that she knows I buy these all the time, but what in the world do you use them for?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Don't know if she did, but she said she was going to go buy some when her shift was over.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: pine time

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Heh heh. I once lobbed a couple of bananas onto the food treadmill and the check-out girl looked at them, looked at me, and asked, "Are these bananas?"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Why, because they weren't in a bunch?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: coll

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I got the impression she really wasn't sure what a banana was. No foolin'.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: pine time

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Oh yes, rice wine. Not in our Asian foods aisle, not in liquor or wine dept. Will have to ask next time.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                "Assistance."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                No lie. But grocery stores have nothing on Target for this. I feel like I'm in "Omega Man" whenever I'm trying to find help in that place.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Steve Green

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  That's how I feel in Home Depot.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    My Home Depot was like that, and then Lowes opened directly across the street. Now I feel like King Tut when I walk in Home Depot, they follow me around like a rock star!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: coll

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      some of that is a result of a corporate shift -- when Bob Nardelli headed up HD several years ago, he got rid of the full-time retired folks who actually knew about the products, and hired a bunch of part-timers who didn't know a screwdriver from a paint roller.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      After Nardelli left, the new management realized that a return to actual customer service was in order, because Lowe's had been eating their lunch for a few years by hiring all the folks who knew what they were doing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Bob "I'm so awesome I'm gonna save Chrysler even though I have no manufacturing experience and you're gonna pay me millions" Nardelli is a douche of the first water, still have a special hatred for him too. Because he didn't save Chrysler, he screwed it up even more.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Back on topic...MATCHES. They are randomly distributed in grocery stores, sometimes with bbq stuff, sometimes with cleaning supplies, sometimes with the picnic supplies and paper goods, sometimes not to be found at all

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: coney with everything

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Matches-- previously found:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          smoking paraphernalia
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          baking, with the birthday candles
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          cookware and "stuff" section
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          International-Mexican-by those tall candles with Saints' pictures

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Kris in Beijing

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Merchandising at its finest!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: coney with everything

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            "Douche of the first water" LOL! That is hilarious on a couple of different levels.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: coney with everything

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Yep. My opinion exactly -- you were just less obtuse than I was.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: Steve Green

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        About half the time I go to Target, people ask me where stuff is. I look down and realize I'm wearing a red shirt. Usually I try to help them anyway. I have actually gone in there wearing a red polo and khakis without thinking a thing of it until the 3rd person asked for assistance.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: NonnieMuss

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I am so embarrassed when I ask someone just because they look like they work there. Happens all the time!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: coll

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Yea, I hate when I make this mistake, I feel like such a goof.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: NonnieMuss

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            "About half the time I go to Target, people ask me where stuff is. I look down and realize I'm wearing a red shirt."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I'm surprised you don't get mobbed by people looking for stuff. When I'm out and about in summertime, I usually wear aloha shirts. Less than ideal when visiting Trader Joe's.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          3. re: Steve Green

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I have quite the opposite experince at Target. If I slacken my pace ever so slightly employees leap out at me from intersecting aisles asking me if they can help me find something. I rarely take them up on their offers (I probably know the store better than they do) but when I do they invariably have no idea what I am talking about. I'm told this is a corporate mandate ( the offers of assistance, not the actual provision of such).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          4. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            What I really hate is asking if they have X and getting the response "I don't think so." Um, maybe you could ask someone who does actually know?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: gmm

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              or they take you to something that's vaguely related, but isn't at all what you wanted.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Several years ago I needed pearl onions for something (beef bourgignonne, I think) -- they had none in the produce department (unusual for this store), and none in the freezer department (also unusual)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              One of the stockers actually asked what I was looking for, and led me to.....cocktail olives.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              *sigh*'

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              But I give him credit for at least trying, and for actually leading me to the aisle.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I wonder if he was thinking you meant pickled cocktail onions.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: gmm

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  obviously he was.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  But I had told him I wanted them to add to a stew.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          5. Tahini. Used to be in ethnic aisle, then was by peanut butter, and is currently stocked with baking supplies.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Njchicaa

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              At my local Kroger, where I no longer shop, it was in the aisle with pickles and olives.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. "Where do you keep the close date Limburger Cheese? I know you don't just toss it right when it's getting good and ripe."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              " It's in the clearance section. Nobody goes near there anymore."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. Kraft Caramels~~ just try to find them

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: laliz

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Bottom shelf in baking. Next to the Heath Bits.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  September & October-- near the apples.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: laliz

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Ours are in the candy aisle.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. Texas Toast bread. Not the garlic bread in the freezer section, but the loaf of white bread that makes AWESOME french toast. It's hit or miss when stores carry it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Dinermite

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      So true! Fresh TT bread is hard to find.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Dinermite

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I am always happy to find it. My store usually has it, but it's hidden on the bottom shelf pretty well, and it is not cheap.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. Are there any store managers or clerks who can give us the scoop on how stores decide where to put things? I can see how it would be hard to know in some cases, such as premade breadcrumbs. Who decides, and how?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: sueatmo

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I bet sometimes it's just that they discontinued something, and at the same time brought a new item in. An empty space waiting to be filled.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. Someone may tell me I shouldn't be looking but-- bars.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Snack bars,
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Protein bars,
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Fiber bars
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Diet bars,
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Meal replacement bars.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Granola bars.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Breakfast bars.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Fruit bars.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          "RIce crispy" style bars.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Allllllllllllllllll in different aisles: diet, fruit, cereal,next to babyfood, wherever the nuts may be, in exercise/health, with candy, on endcaps, next to juice, with the crayons(!), at the checkout... there might be a kid of bar thing on EVERY aisle at my Food Lion.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I want is something that's not straight-up candy but not a cardboard block, has a decent amount of fiber. Protein is a plus.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Kris in Beijing

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Ours are all next to the vitamins, in the medicine aisle. A big section. But now that I think of it, the store I occasionally go to has it in their snack and cookie aisle, but it's right at the front so you can't miss it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Anyway there's two places they could conglomerate them.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Kris in Beijing

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I buy fiber bars (Kellogg's Fiber Plus if you're wondering). and they're in the same place as the granola bars, in the cereal aisle. They just came out with a Fiber Plus with Protein bar that's pretty good.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: juliejulez

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I'm currently running through coupons for Fibre1 but I've looked at the Kellogg's.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I also don't prefer chocolate, so that's another twist!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                KB now in NoVA

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Kris in Beijing

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Yeah I like the Kellogg's better than the Fiber One. I get the chocolatey peanut butter, but I believe the protein bar version comes in all peanut. Don't quote me on that though. Also, Target has the best prices on them... box of 10 is 4.79 I think.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: Kris in Beijing

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I've just taken to ordering them online, so tired of looking for the good ones among so many gooey, sweet ones. I order Kind Nuts and spice (nuts with dark chocolate and sea salt is a favorite) by the case online now.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              3. The two things I have the hardest time finding are cans of evaporated or sweetened condensed milk (sometimes in the baking aisle, sometimes with the coffee) and marshmallows (candy aisle? baking aisle?). I don't look for these things too often, so I'm not sure if I'm forgetting where they usually are or they're being moved. Maraschino cherries, as noted several times before, are also exciting to track down.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: AmyH

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Agreed with the marshmallows. The other day I was ina store looking for marshmallows for an Easter dessert. I looked in the candy aisle. Of course they were in the baking aisle. I was in a different store last night; I wasn't looking for marshmallows, but I noticed them in the candy aisle.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. Powdered goat milk. On various occasions I've found it in the baking aisle, by the baby formula, with the breakfast cereals & non-dairy milks...every store is different & it drives me nuts.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  7 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I'm kind of surprised you have found multiple stores that even carry it. Not exactly a common item.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      They do sell it most places here in NY, I've bought it several times but have to admit only because I stumble upon it. Meyenburg brand, like the cartons in the milk section.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Looking up the name, I see they also make a condensed goat milk, now that I've never seen!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: coll

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I've seen the condensed Meyenberg a couple of times. It's always in the baking aisle.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I've bought it at Whole Foods, Fairway & Sprouts, though some of the Sprouts locations recently stopped carrying it. That actually worked to my advantage because my local store put it on clearance for 99¢/can and it's usually anywhere from $9 to $11! I bought 3 and stuck them in the freezer, and if I had the space I would have gotten more.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Oh, and independent natural foods stores always have it too.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          a natural foods store I'd expect to carry it -- not so much the "regular" grocery

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            In my area, all of the regular groceries have natural foods sections that are pretty sizable.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Yeah, the market here demands it! They're big enough that they can diversify.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. I grew up in an atypical area.. I will put it that way. And when I moved to where I currently live, I asked where the Kosher-Sushi section was... not that I keep Kosher and not that I was raised (fully) Jewish, and I am not Japanese either.. but where I grew-up they had an extensive Kosher section--including a Kosher-Sushi section. Anyway, the store-manager looked at me when I asked and said: "Sushi, no we don't got that. Kosher, nope. We got fish-sticks, though!"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Kosher-sushi is hard to find.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. 1) Disposable plastic food storage containers (e.g. gladware). I can never find those stupid things! They are not with with the food storage bags or wraps, not with the regular plastic non-disposable containers, not with the paper plates. The only time I can ever find them is when they go on special and are featured at the end of the aisle!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2) Canned pumpkin. My doggies need it sometimes. It's in the baking section, not the canned veggie section.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        3) Yes, I too had to search for tahini. Finally found it on the organic foods aisle next to peanut butter. It used to be in ethnic foods.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Christnp

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1) That's interesting, they are smack dab next to the rest of the food storage bags and wraps in my store. Have you been able to ask an employee where they keep them usually? That would be so frustrating.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. There is a more fun place to buy toothpicks than the grocery store. Go to the website of Pearl River Store, a huge 3-story Chinese dime store in New York's Chinatown. Prices are rock-bottom cheap and you can get an infinite variety of party picks of all types (plus loads of other things; great browsing).

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Querencia

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Pearl River is always one of my stops when visiting NYC. Such a fun store!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. FYI - I usually find croutons in the aisle with the salad dressing and vinegars but this morning I noticed that there were dozens of varieties of chopped nuts for salad toppings and croutons hanging above the produce along the wall, of course out of reach for many and not a common place to look. I thought I'd share in case you were on the hunt one day.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Oh yes, smoked turkey legs/wings. I couldn't find them anywhere today. I finally found them in some bin mixed with all the discounted ham nuggets.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. Jarred pimento cheese

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Quill

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                http://www.walmart.com/ip/Kraft-Chees...
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Quill, WalMart sells it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. Dole has a new line that includes chia seeds in the products. Has anyone seen these in the NY area yet?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. As of a need encountered today,

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  LARGE SAFETY PINS

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  (And there Certainly weren't any diaper pins)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. An "upscale" supermarket recently featured an imported ready-to-use Bearnaise sauce in their weekly flyer. After searching what I thought were the likely locations (bottled sauces, dry packaged sauces, feature endcaps, the seafood and deli displays) I gave up and asked. My inquiries brought blank stares, even when I showed them the flyer. To their credit, the store manager, two assistant managers and two stock boys did a military-style sweep of the entire store until they located the product, tucked away on the bottom shelf of the spices/baking aisle!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Note:the product (More Than Gourmet Gourmet Sauces by Chef Christian Potier) was really quite good.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Pwmfan

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Either a case of superior service or serious overstaffing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. ice cream cones

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: lilmsmuffin

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Usually right by the ice cream.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: coll

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          But not always, especially if there are no regular shelves near the freezer section where the ice cream is kept. The store where I do most of my shopping had cones in the area near peanut butter, jelly, honey, syrups and ice cream toppings. But they've since remodeled and moved everything around, so I have no idea where they are now. It's like a scavenger hunt every time I shop.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: AmyH

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Here, the vendors must give them stick on metal baskets, which they attach to the glass freezer doors. Never noticed if that's just a seasonal thing, since i don't actually buy them. At least they're easy to find!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Oh and it's always a scavenger hunt, they move things around so you HAVE to look for your usual things, and hopefully will find something you never bought before in the process. A year or so ago, they rearranged the entire pasta aisle to be opposite of what it was (Barilla in the back now, Ronzoni in the front, etc) and I knew it wasn't for for any other reason because I couldn't just grab and go. I had to stand there for five minutes, looking at every item they carried. The harder something is to find, the better for them.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: coll

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I'm sure you are absolutely right about that. And because they know it works, they'll keep doing it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: lilmsmuffin

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          In my local store it's near the ice cream but on a separate stand up cart at the end of the aisle with the chocolate syrup and other ice cream toppings.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        3. Great thread. Looks like no one has mentioned clam juice. It should be with the canned fish, easy peasy, right?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          But one chain had it in the juice aisle!

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Bob W

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Next to the Clamato?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: AmyH

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Yes!!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: Bob W

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              My store keeps in the frozen section, right next to the Mrs. Paul's Fried Clams.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Bob W

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Next to the margarita mixes. Which are near Baking, not beer/wine.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Bob W

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I found the clam juice on a shelf above the refrigerated fish aisle (smoked lox, delicacies, etc). Had to ask the manager for help, but at least he knew.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  The chopped clams, some are with the Italian stuff near the clam sauce, and other brands are with the tuna. The manufacturers pay for shelf space by the foot, but I don't know if they get a choice of placement exactly. I'm sure they all want to be on the endcap by the front door. Or probably some areas are cheaper than others, and better than nothing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. The ones that have been hard for me are the Entenmann's / Tastykake / etc. type breakfast and snack foods. When Hostess was going out of business, I had to troll the store FOREVER looking for that Twinkie display. I tried in the snack aisle, near the store bakery foods, with the breakfast cereal, no luck. Finally located them kind of near the bread and across from the meat department.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  But...the Entenmann's aren't anywhere near that... Go figure!

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: jbsiegel

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    All that stuff is on endcaps here. Very easy to spot.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: coll

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Problem for me is that I can never figure out WHICH end cap - and sometimes it's not on the end and is in the aisle. Lots of times, it takes me a complete lap of the store to find it!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      (Clearly, I don't buy those things all that much!!)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. what aisle can I find marshmallow fluff in shop rite

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