Grocery shopping and Doritos: an outsider’s experience
Grocery shopping in a foreign country even if that country is America, is a unique and confusing experience. Apart from the obvious problems with locating familiar brands at a grocery store, there’s also that feeling you get when you realise you aren’t going to find what you’re looking for, because it doesn’t exist.
Like Doritos for example.
Doritos Australia market a total of four Doritos products to their consumers; Cheese Supreme, Nacho Cheese, Original and Mexicana. The U.S market for Doritos has a remarkable 19 different flavours (remarkable to me perhaps) among them; Jalapeno, Fiery Buffalo, Spicy Nacho, Pizza Supreme and even Cheeseburger.
To my disappointment, this list of 19 doesn’t include one of Australia’s most commercially successful (and incidentally my favourite) Doritos flavour; Nacho Cheese. The yellow packaged Doritos (Nacho Cheese is actually packaged red in the United States and tastes completely different, just to be confusing). The experience of not being able to find Nacho Cheese is not the most impressive cultural slap across the face, but it’s still pretty mind-blowing. People tend to think of Australian consumers in much the same way as American consumers, and to be fair we are reasonably comparable; we eat fast food, we watch Hollywood films and listen to American produced music. But geographical and cultural influence still drives the market for some things, and I find that many of the goods available here in the States, would probably not enjoy a successful launch in Australia. Due to the Mexican influence here in California, the market for spicy foods is very wide. The standard flavour is almost always some variety of seasoned chilli, and as a white person with very limited tolerance to spicy food, I’ve suffered at the hands of Mexican cuisine. But of course, Americans love it. Spicy food in every form; sweet, savoury, cold-serve, warm-serve is available in excessive abundance.
Fortunately for me, Australia’s limited knowledge of Mexico and the wide variety of spices found there, means that we will remain with a single spicy version of Doritos, (which I didn’t know existed until I sought help from Google), and that’s okay by me since I can’t obtain any benefit from heterogeneity in spicy corn chips anyway.
This Photo is in Mexico on Roserito beach, we tried to sit down eat some food and drink a little, but that was interrupted every five seconds buy someone coming up to us and trying to sell us something.
We took it in our stride and just kept saying our “no thanks were fine” but these Mexicans were persistent! To try and get the deal they would send their children up to try and make us feel a little guilty.
One bloke finally tricked us by throwing these metal objects into our hands and telling us it was free. We were intrigued, so believed the man and tried it. The device ends up sending volts through your body to make all your muscles contract. It hurts big time. Yet it was kinda cool so we Ethan and I both did it again, this time for photo evidence for this blog.
After we were done the guy tried to hit us up for 4$ American. It was no longer free as he had first promised. However his slyness was matched by Ethans, Ethan gave him 50 cents Australian which the guy was very impressed with. He thought it was worth a lot of money because of its size and interesting shape.
my experience taught me that nothing in Mexico is free… just super cheap