If there is one thing I hate about food shopping, apart from the other customers who happen to be in the store when I am there, is when I find out that a particular product I happen to like is discontinued.
Several days ago, I went to the Trader Joes® grocery store near my house to buy a couple of containers of their Chocolate Soy Milk in the dairy section. It had been a week since they last had any in stock, and I figured maybe they were just delayed in getting in a new shipment. My daughter and I both love to drink chocolate soy milk, and the Trader Joes® brand is cheaper than the Silk® brand sold in Shoprite, not to mention that Trader Joes® is just a few minutes walk from my house. But I was again disappointed to see that the chocolate soy milk was still not in stock. Grabbing a box of soup crackers, I went to the register to pay for it and inquired of the lady about the chocolate soy milk.
"Oh, that's been discontinued," she replied with a twinge of sadness. She added that her husband liked it too.
Why did they have to discontinue it!?! I was buying it. Other people were buying it. While I like to shop at Trader Joes® from time to time, it seems as if they always end up discontinuing the products I specifically go there to buy. The chocolate soy milk joins a growing list of items, including the Salmon Chowder soup, the Shiitake mushroom sauce, and some kind of chocolate chip cookie that was the best chocolate chip cookie I ever had.
One of the virtues I always hear touted about the free market system is that it is supposed to provide us with the things we like. If people like a certain product, someone will sell it. Well, I liked the chocolate soy milk and the salmon chowder soup and now they are gone dammit! But of course, I have to remember that it is not all about me. I know that at Trader Joes® headquarters, a bunch of number crunchers and analysts are constantly reviewing sales figures and profit and loss statements, and after reviewing the data, they make a decision whether or not to continue selling a particular product. I just wish they could have consulted me first. :-(