Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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(Serving suggestion.)

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The Big I

A supermarket that only stocks imported goods
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Imagine the scenario. Kate is from the UK. She decides to emmigrate to Canada because they speak english there and are pretty much British anyway. But shock! Horror! She descovers that she can't buy British brand name goods in the Eaton Centre or at The Bay. Not to worry, for thankfully all over the world there are supermarkets called The Big I. "But whats the big deal with a supermarket named The Big I?" I hear you type. Well, the Big I only stocks goods that you can't normally get in the country that the supermarket is situated in. For example, in Boston, MA you can't get Barr's American Cream Soda. But you can in Bostons Big I. The only visible drawback is when buying goods such as Rittersport, which is a German chocolate square, you won't get the ingredients in English or your countries native tongue. But i'm willing to look past that, and see it as part of the fun of guessing what the hell something is. The Big I supermarket will stock almost anything. Food, Clothes, Electronic Equipment, Compact Discs, Cars, et all. Will be done in the huge big box Asda/Walmart style of building, only making use of the head room by adding extra floors and shopping trolley lifts. I can ee there being more specific ones, for example, Big I UK, Big I Asia, Big I Europe, holding only British, Asian, and European goods respectively. Now your craving for Finnish Reindeer meat will be fully satisfied. Aren't we lucky we can lean on the Big I for our diverse national products.
[ sctld ], Apr 07 2002

Close http://www.costplus...e=/public/home.html
[mrthingy, Apr 08 2002]

Uwajimaya http://www.uwajimaya.com
Jumbo Asian grocery chain in Seattle [magrak, Jun 10 2002]


       Those goods will be imported as standard. The goods i am reffering to will be stuff that you wouldn't normallyget and that Big I bosses had to go to inner mongolia to get thirty cases of it by helicopter.
[ sctld ], Apr 07 2002

       The globalisation of Irn Bru continues... This is an excellent idea. If baked, I would probably do all my shopping here.
calum, Apr 07 2002

       Sorry Guy Fox, accidentally deleted your annotation. Oops. I was going to reply to it with this annotation, but with the unpleasentness i can't until you put your annotation back. Sorry.
[ sctld ], Apr 07 2002

       I like this. I also like "et all," even if it is a typo.
beauxeault, Apr 07 2002

       As coincidence will have it, such an idea is gaining ground now in my area. We've experienced a glut of small stores opening in a pattern reminiscent of the ‘copy cat’ fast food expansion during the 1970s. Those of us familiar with trendy business opportunities will know what I'm talking about: food, import/export, and personal finance are typical examples of these stores. In the past few years we've experienced an explosion in oriental buffet restaurants and pawn shops (or paycheck advance shops, if you prefer) and the most recent super-growth store type has been the all-one-price store (Everything $1, The $ Store, $-or-Less …). Asia has been the leader in low-priced exported goods, so most stores are run by Asians as family businesses.   

       Much of the food and piece-goods in these stores is clearly imported from the Far East, Scandinavia, or Europe. The language on packaging is native to the producing country, and if not for the label photo or other identifier, I would know what to do with the stuff. At least, that's what I hear from people who shop these stores.   

       ¯[ sctld ]: I figure that Russians will eventually look to US Bison herds as a sustainable herd stock, so do you suppose that folks back in the old USA would know to cook a buffalo steak packaged with instructions in Russian? ;)
reensure, Apr 07 2002

       [reensure]: what is with the "¯" thing? Curious.
bristolz, Apr 07 2002

       Reensure: Those that speak russian will. And that is of course assuming you are correct. Which is suspect.
[ sctld ], Apr 07 2002

       // ¯[ sctld ]: //
thumbwax, Apr 07 2002

       UnaBubba, we have/had secondary industraries? I suppose Peter Beattie was grown somewhere.
QuadAlpha, Apr 08 2002

       <wonders what "regular north american" foods are>
bristolz, Apr 08 2002

       Does Pier One imports count? Oh wait... supermarket. Nevermind.   

       Regular North American Food: Indian corn. Squirrel. Rabbit stew. Bison steak. And of course, Yellow #5. (It grows wild in Wisconson).
RayfordSteele, Apr 08 2002

       RayfordSteele: Not to mention hormone-enhanced turkeys, 'specially bred to lack brains because there's no market for turkey headcheese.
Dog Ed, Apr 08 2002

       I've seen several websites that provide mail-order grocery goods for ex-pats (Marmite in Bahrain, Worcestershire sauce in Surinam), so there must be a market for this.
angel, Apr 08 2002

       Will this include live animals? Will I get in my local Dutch Big I things like: bison, raccoon, iguana, reindeer, giraffe, camel?
spekkie, Apr 08 2002

       I think in Europe there is a law that supermarkets have to sell things that have a description (and ingredients if necessary) in the language of the country you're selling it in. This is how we end up with Chinese Supermarkets in England putting badly translated labels on the products telling you it's duck brain soup or whatever. So "Big I USA" in Austria would have to translate back into Austrian-German at least the names of the products, so the element of surprise "see it as part of the fun of guessing what the hell something is" would be lost in Europe. Just shows we don't appear to have a sense of humour.
sappho, Apr 08 2002

       Actually, RittersportMini although sold in Britain, only has descriptions in French, Italian, and German. I bought that in Tesco's, i think.
[ sctld ], Apr 08 2002

       you're right. Well, I don't know where I got that idea from, maybe it applies somewhere else.
sappho, Apr 08 2002

       In the USA, all packaged food items must be labelled with a standard nutritional content table and a list of ingredients (in some corruption of English) arranged in order of significance (by weight I think). So most junk food labels start off with "water, sugar, high fructose corn syrup" and end with "artificial colors including yellow #5, yellow#6, and red #40". All imports (including non-food) must also be labelled with the country of origin.   

       But all of the above could be satisfied by the importer with a bit of shrink-wrap plastic and an adhesive label printer. I doubt anybody actually checks the accuracy of those food labels after the initial import license has been granted. So it's still anybody's guess what's really in those packages and where it came from before it was shipped from the declared country of origin.
BigBrother, Apr 08 2002

       <aside>Ken Hom's brand of 'prawn cracker' was recently found to contain not only no prawn but no fish at all.</aside>
angel, Apr 08 2002

       I don't believe that all countries have ingredient lists that are congruent with US labelling practices. To be honest, I don't know if MSG is counted as sodium in either the US or in Asia. Probably is, but -- who knows? Same for sugar, fat, or animal.   

       &#175;bristolz: **Ooops** I mean, ¯bristolz:   

       Depending on your computer, but on the DOS-based clones I've used, pressing the [Alt] key while entering the ASCII four digit numeric code for a number, letter, or symbol will render that symbol within the text entry environment of this site and most Windows-based environments I've used. An aside, all ASCII numbers above 128, I think, must be preceded by a zero: [Alt]+0175 --> ¯; [Alt]+0145 -->‘; [Alt}+0133-->… 0255.   

       By my experience, not all number combinations give you anything useful, some combinations affect your browser, and some combinations are **unexplainable**: [Alt]+&#9827; (that's [Alt]+0235, when 0 and 5 have the Num Lock key switched off.
reensure, Apr 08 2002

       Baked. Import-only stores abound. But I won't give you a fish.
blainez, Apr 09 2002

       It's probably going to be hell to regulate such a supermarket. I know that we import goods from all over the world, but some of the products that are sold in "nation specific" supermarkets are not exactly healthy/safe for customers (anyone try the Thai Red Bull, the original? It has a couple grams of nicotine in there. Not good for kiddies.) Remember, other countries don't have the FDA to tell them what not to put in their edibles. Perhaps, if we took things to the extreme, another government agency would have to be organized to make sure everything is safe. I like the idea, though. But it would still create more problems.
Spread, Apr 09 2002

       Can you provide a suitable link Blainez? Is the supermarket you are thinking of on the same scale as the Big I? Does it stock imports from every nation? Does it match the description as above? Come on! Link me!
[ sctld ], Apr 09 2002

       Reensure: I think the point was WHY, not HOW.   

       There are several British groceries around in Tampa, Florida, and I know of at least one <East> Indian one, and that's without even having to think about it. These things exist in a fashion.   

       It would be nice to be able to get some of the odder foods easily, though.
StarChaser, Jun 07 2002

       We don't need any more big box stores in Canada. I am tempted to fishbone you for the sheer urban planning irresponsibility of this idea, but I won't, because the sun is shining. In any case, if Kate is into traffic congestion, smog, suburbia, destroying small business, and general vulgarity, she should stay in her flat in Cankershire, Uggchester, or Carsick-upon-Twee.   

       I made those place names up.   

       I do like the idea of being able to buy chocolate con churros here in my own city, though.
earl, Jun 07 2002

       Leave her alone man, Kate just wants to buy tea-bags.
[ sctld ], Jun 07 2002

       'Carsick-upon-Twee'...I like that.
StarChaser, Jun 10 2002

       There is a Big I Asia chain in Seattle called Uwajimaya. (See links.) All mysterious products there have a sticker added with English version of ingredients and product info. They sell these great candies shaped like lifesavers that you can whistle through -- loudly -- until they melt too much.
magrak, Jun 10 2002

       I think they call this World Market. I miss ours as they went belly-up.   

       Everyone wonders what 'regular North American foods' really are.
RayfordSteele, Jul 21 2009


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