Consumerism Melbourne


IGA docket headerShopping at an IGA Supermarket near me is a bit like stepping back in time.

The cash registers don’t have the full colour screens like in Coles and Safeway.

But the shelves do have those electronic price tags that were all the rage in the early-noughties at places like K-Mart, before they realised that they end up putting paper signs up to highlight the specials anyway.

What really grabbed me is that IGA stocks products that have disappeared from Coles and Safeway. Like that AGB brand garlic bread I used to buy all the time. Probably not authentic (AGB stands for “Australian Garlic Bread”), but delicious. And the product that seems to come and go in availability: recycled tissues. I’ll take the opportunity to stock up, in case they disappear again.

In Bentleigh, a brand new shiny IGA just opened in the new arcade. The sign on the arcade claims it to be “Bentleigh Shopping Centre” — something of a misnomer, since the whole street could quite reasonably claim that name.

The receipt from the brand new shiny IGA claims it to be “West Bentleigh” — a suburb that doesn’t exist (west of Bentleigh is East Brighton, daaaaahling) and besides, it’s only about 200 metres from the Bentleigh Post Office, and not much further from the railway station. It’s about as central to Bentleigh as you can get.

But the prices and range seemed okay, so if it’s convenient, I’ll shop there again.

By Daniel Bowen

Transport blogger / campaigner and spokesperson for the Public Transport Users Association / professional geek.
Bunurong land, Melbourne, Australia.
Opinions on this blog are all mine.

17 replies on “IGA”

I too find that you can buy things at some IGA’s that are not available elsewhere. The IGA in Yarraville has an excellent range of organic products including meats and it was there that I discovered Green & Black’s organic milk chocolate (slightly darker than normal milk chocolate) which I am now addicted to.

I now shop at Richie’s in Narre Warren on occasion and they offer a card which benefits charities when presented as you pay. Nice to know that someone may receive a benefit from me supporting a smaller grocery chain.

I shop at Ritchies in East Bentleigh almost exclusively. I had my congregation signed up for their Benefit Card as soon as they introduced it there and it’s been fantastic.

My IGA in Yarra Glen provides magnificent service. If anyone ever lines up behind another customer, one of the staff rushes to open another checkout. They carry bags to the car for us if we need it, they know us by name, they’re friendly and always know exactly where to find things. That’s why we keep shopping there and showing our support.

I welcome any challenger to the dominant Aldi/Safeway/Coles collective. I hate Safeways. Never fresh and hardly any people.

Aldi isn’t too bad.

Perhaps we could get the Dutch supermarket chain Albert Hijn to compete and get some random Asian supermarkets on board too (like Leguma, in the QV centre).

dlutchy, I have a theory that eventually all of Melbourne will be named as variants of the top ten suburbs. (Not sure if Bentleigh would make the grade. We might be Far East Brighton.)

mr nick, as with everything in retail, it depends. Some things cheaper, some more expensive.

Ultimately for me, Safeway is the most convenient. But it’s nice to have the choice, and I’ll be going to IGA for some things.

IGA seems to be the only mainstream store where you can buy Tartufo or Cassata ice-cream. It’s unbelievable that neither Safeway nor Coles stock these anymore (and yet carry such a wide range of appallingly-flavoured ice-cream).

And Reuben: Albert Heijn? Please no! They were the bane of my five years in Amsterdam. Terrible, terrible supermarkets.

Reuben… I don’t know where to begin ;)

They were absolutely tiny (the largest Amsterdam store was still smaller than the supermarkets in, for example, a rural town like Mansfield in Victoria), they carried a much smaller range than either Safeway or Coles, regularly had out of date food on the shelves and rotting fruit and vegetables.

Their trading hours were terrible (I had to travel half-way across Amsterdam, from where I lived to find one that was open on a Sunday), I’ve never seen more than a quarter of the checkouts open in any store. A good amount of their shelfspace was taken up by things that no-one would buy in a supermarket (seriously, who buys a TV or a computer in a supermarket?) and they regularly ran out of stock – I could count on not being able to buy a number of items that I wanted every time I went there.

And to top it off, they were far more expensive than their competition, but had the trading clout for that not to matter. Super de Boer is a much better supermarket, and I tried to shop there when I could, but unfortunately there were times when that just wasn’t possible.

As bad as they may be, Safeway and Coles romp it in over any Dutch supermarket chain.

IGA’s brand of confectionary is fantastic. I think the jelly babies are far superior to many others on the market, likewise the snakes. Husband claims the chocolate covered honeycomb is like a cross between ‘Crunchie’ and ‘Violet Crumble’ – not as crumbly as ‘Crunchie’, not as chewy as ‘Violet Crumble’ and he loves it. Hmm perhaps we should get out more.

I can only find mushroom stock cubes at IGA. Great in a mushroom risotto.

The only thing I don’t like about these IGA’s (Bentleigh East and West) is the skinny aisles. Too many traffic jams!

Safeway and Coles sell very bad quality meat. Off-cuts and mutton instead of lamb. I can tell the difference between lamb and mutton

Coles in Bentleigh is crowded at any time day or night, and it has surly checkout staff – plus waiting in long lines causes customers to become surly too. This is one of those chicken and egg things I think; which causes which?

Safeway, 200m to the east (I suppose that makes it “East Bentleigh”) has only 1/4 of the customers. I’ve no idea why, since the range and prices are near-identical so far as I can tell.

It was always a mystery to me – but it meant I always shopped at Safeway. I hate crowded supermarkets.

Comments are closed.