...the inspiring fruit and vegetable section at Fakta, one fine morning quite recently
Imagine you are the manager of a grocery store. What, might you think, would be the single most fundamental aspect of your job?
Yes, you might say hiring staff and making sure there are enough people are filling all the necessary positions so the store will run smoothly, or something along those lines. Not a bad answer.
However, not quite right, I would suggest. Rather, after countless visits to various grocery stores in Copenhagen over the years, it struck me that there is something even more fundamental - making sure that the shelves are stocked with food. You know, so the customers actually have something to buy (and preferably what they actually came into the shop looking for!).
However, in Denmark there are many grocery store managers who just don't see things this way. And in truth, I have no idea how grocery store managers are assessed, but at this point I'm pretty certain that the ability to keep the shelves stocked with food from morning to night is definitely not one of them.
Because oh so often there just seems to be rather a lack of it. Two things are probably occurring to you at this point.
Firstly, you are likey thinking it seems odd, even improbable that this could be the case, since selling food is, well, basically their entire business. And in the case of places like Netto and Fakta, two discount supermarket chains in Denmark, that task is actually even easier since they offer a pretty damn limited product range - at least relative to 'normal' Danish supermarkets (who also aren't exactly superstars when it comes to keeping the basics stocked).
Secondly, you are also probably saying to yourself, 'then why shop at these place - just go somewhere else!' And this would be a good point!! Well, except for one little problem. See, in some parts of Copenhagen (and elsewhere around Denmark, for that matter) they really are the most convenient places to get to, meaning it's not always so easy to just 'pop' over to another store.
Worse still, when you have a short time until the shops close (way to early, if you ask me) at 8 each night (and the even more annoying 5 PM on Saturday) sometimes you just have to run to the closest shop to make it. When the closest shop turns out to be a half-empty supermarket, it can be rather fucking annoying. And these discount grocery stores are pretty much the only grocery stores open most Sundays of the year.
Yes, apparently it is a challenging job managing a grocery store in Denmark. So for now all I can do is roll with it...and not to get too frustrated when it takes visiting a couple stores on the way home from work just to find a carton of milk or head of broccoli...
Below: a typical end-of-day picture at Netto or Fakta - they often look about the same for the first couple hours in the morning as well (since they often don't bother to stock the shelves until after the stores have opened).
and I'll just grab some milk and eggs from the fridge...oh well, never mind