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November 20, 2011 / Robert Bovington

Spanish supermarkets

Those of you who know me well, understand that I don’t do shopping – not if I can help it! If my wife, Diane, wants toshop in Almería or at El Corte Ingles in El Ejido, I drive her there but I then go off for a walk or a beer.  However, we do have to eat so I do visitsupermarkets – sometimes even on my own whilst Diane does the cooking – well, that’s why women have small feet – to get nearer the cooker or washing machine.  But I digress. I wish to write about Spanish supermarkets.
When we lived in England, we never shopped in Lidl –we preferred to use Tesco,  Sainsbury,  Safeway, Marks & Sparks, Asda, Waitrose and even the Coop! Now that we live in Spain, we often do a bit of shopping in Lidl. Why? – Because, in my opinion, Spanish supermarkets in no waycompare to British ones and Lidl compares favourably with them in many aspects.
Here are my comments on the supermarkets in the Roquetas area:
We do our main shopping in Mercadona – we don’t get too many special offers on their shelves but the products are usually of excellent quality. Compared with UK supermarkets their product range is limited – very rarely can one get excited by a new product on their shelves but the advantage of this is that one can visit a Mercadona store anywhere in Spain and easily locatewhat one is looking for because every store appears to carry 99% the same products.
We occasionally shop at Eroski. I personally do not think that the quality of some of their products is as good as Mercadona but they do have offers – not ‘buy one get one free’ like in the UK – but ‘three for the price of two’. They have lately been offering ‘70% off the second product on some items which, to some people, sounds really good. However it only slightly better than the ‘three for two’ offer – 35% off instead of 33%! Eroski does have a much bigger range of products compared with Mercadona and is like Tesco in that it  doesn’t just do food but also sells electronics, furniture, gardening items, books and much else!
Lidl often does offers and sells things outside the usual weekly shopping range like clothes, kitchen appliances, electronic items, toys etc and these change from week to week. They also have special themed shopping days that include a particular country’s products, so occasionally we have purchased some British items like porridge oats and proper marmalade. I also think that the fruit and vegetables are better quality (and usually cheaper) than the main Spanish supermarkets.
Other supermarkets in Roquetas include Día (cheap and cheerful), Consum, El Árbol and Coviran. Thereis an English supermarket called Arkrites which is handy when one wants a change from Spanish food.
Further afield, in El Ejido, is Hipercor which is part of the El Corte Ingles chain. The quality is good but a little expensive.
In the same town there is anothersupermarket whose name is composed of four letters that include ‘c’ and ‘p’ – no not that! Though I think the store’s vegetables are c**p.  Copo is a supermarket built on the El Copo Commercial Park. I do buy some products from this store but I cannot understand why their fruit and veg are so bad especially when the town is situated in the heart of greenhouseland which is the vegetable garden for the rest of  Europe!
On the outskirts of Roquetas, at the Vícar commercial centre, is a Carrefour, but they’re French!
Robert Bovington
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