What To Do If Your Grocery Store Doesn't Carry A Product You Like

Grocery shopping is about as personal as trying on new clothes or hunting for a new apartment. Even those you trust the most probably aren't in tune with the minute distinctions you make while weighing one apple against another, or taking a gamble on a generic vs. brand name condiment.

The way you grocery shop, and the items that are available to you, vary dramatically depending on where you are and what kinds of stores are accessible. Perhaps you've moved from a predominantly Puerto Rican neighborhood to one with a strong Greek population, and you find yourself drowning in pita bread, but unable to scrounge up a package of corn tortillas. Maybe your mom gifted you a taster pack of hot sauce for Christmas, and your local Key Foods doesn't stock your new habaƱero-infused obsession. It's possible that you've even admired an entire miso section at the micro grocery next door, only to come back the next week to be told they simply don't have fermented soybean paste anymore.

It can be frustrating to look for a particular food item to no avail, or to find your favorite food market lacking, but is there anything you can actually do about it?

Grocery stores may work with you on items

Grocery stores are always looking for ways to make their customers happy. If they stock items you want to buy, they'll sell more products. But if their inventory is sitting untouched and dusty on a shelf, it's not doing any favors for the store or for you.

If you would like your grocery store to stock a particular item, there are a few ways to go about it. Many big chains have customer contact forms on their websites where you can provide information about products you're interested in. You can also call the store headquarters, or even contact brands on social media. Providing specific information like a UPC can help ensure that the store understands exactly what you're looking for.

The best way to get a new product in a store, however, is to make friends with the local store manager. Developing a positive relationship with the people who work at the place you shop every week will prove your value as a loyal customer whose preferences deserve consideration. Ask the store manager about the possibility of stocking an item, and even offer to buy several, or an entire case, to show that you respect them taking a risk on a new product. Encouraging friends in your neighborhood to request similar items will also show the store that these products have broad appeal enough to warrant regular stocking.