Dec 15, 2004, 8:59 AM
Post #10 of 35
I was trying to be nice to you Marlene. I take it as a compliment that you think my response to you should have been wittier but it was late. I'll try harder in the future.
For the rest of you, I have heard from several of my Mexican friends and acquaintances who attended the Soriana opening yesterday and they were positively giddy with excitement over the prices there. All of these people are of modest means and far more price sensitive than I since they really need to pinch pennies. A friend of ours, who is quite poor, told us that she paid $20 Pesos for a pie that would have cost her $80 Pesos in Ajijic where she works. This will have a huge effect on where she shops.
I must admit that I am culturally insensitive when it comes to pricing. All I saw in the Soriana deli section was the normal bland variety of redundant and unremarkable sausages and cheeses that one would expect in a superstore in a poorer section of Metro Guadalajara. I have learned to shop in Guadalajara in places such as Europea and Liverpool and even Costco when I am looking for fine wine, meats and deli items but use the Soriana type store for household staples, fresh vegetables and personal products.I don't dwell on pricing but on availability.
If one observes the clientele frequenting a Liverpool or Europea and then observes the clientele at a Bodega or Suburbia, all of which cater to a Mexican clientele with a scattering of non-Mexicans, the differences in the people are striking. However, one is more likely to find a mix of well-healed and poorer clients at a superstore than at Liverpool. This is, of course true in retail outlets anywhere in the world. If one expects the people watching the $120,000 Peso HDTV demo at Liverpool to meet the same demographics as the crowd in the electronics section at Soriana, then one should not go into retailing to make a living.
Finally, there is always the prospect that Soriana's very low pricing is a come on and prices will later be raised. I don't think that will work with some of my Mexican friends who are, of necessity, frugal and careful with their money. If, Soriana remains that competitive ($1,000 Pesos for a queen size mattress that would cost $2,000 Pesos down the street, for instance), they are going to hurt the small shops in Chapala catering to the lower and lower middle classes not the more affluent in the community buying Roquefort Cheese at Super Lake.
It seems to me that, if Super Lake management is smart, they will become even more specialized with high-end stuff. I cannot believe that Soriana management will interrupt their nationwide inventory profile to cater to a small customer base seeking gourmet food items. However, I have observed this phenomenon at the Gigante chain. The Gigante supermarket in Terra Nova caters to a wealthy clientele and carries many more gourmet items than does the Gigante in Tonala. Maybe there is hope.