West Bay, 7 March 1998
The West Bay Wench Goes Grocery Shopping
Well, hello there! I didn't expect to run into you here at the grocery
store. I guess we do all have to eat, though. You know, I was talking to
a couple the other night who have been coming to Grand Cayman for over twenty
years, and they were reminiscing about shopping for groceries in a little
"variety" store and buying their meat out of a freezer in someone's garage!
Although things were a bit different by the time I first came here twelve
years ago, I remember sending a friend to the store for lettuce. He said
he went to all three grocery stores on the island, and they all told him to
come back on Thursday after the produce boat came in! I also remember the
meat stalls advertising "Fresh Beef on Friday,"
and they did mean fresh! When you heard what sounded like a gunshot
followed by the creaking of gears and clanking of chains, you didn't go out
in the back yard to take a look! You can still find a few of those stands
around the island, but most folks buy their beef in the grocery store now.
Times sure have changed. Grand Cayman now boasts five very modern
supermarkets, as well as a number of smaller local markets, and unless
severe weather has prevented the cargo ships from unloading, you can find
several different varieties of lettuce (and just about anything else you
could want) any day of the week. But let's go in, and I'll show you what I
One thing you won't find in a grocery store in Cayman is alcoholic
beverages - not even beer or wine. You'll have to go to a liquor store
for those, and be sure to do so before 6:00 PM, because that's when they
close! They aren't open on Sunday either, and neither are the grocery
stores, but the larger supermarkets stay open until 11:00 PM the other six
nights of the week.
Each of the five supermarkets on the island that has its own bakery and
deli, and a fairly extensive selection of fresh produce, dairy products,
meats, frozen foods, and canned and packaged goods. Some of the local
items, like cassava, plantain, chocho, and akee, might be unusual to you,
and I find the various imported Jamaican and British products quite
interesting. Foreign grocery stores can be as entertaining and
enlightening as museums are!
It's certainly a far cry from what was available just twelve years ago!
But folks are always asking me about the price of food in Cayman, so let's
take a look at some of the common "tourist" purchases.
1/2 gallon of 1% milk
|12-pack Coke (12 oz. cans)
|2 litre bottle
of Coke or Pepsi
|1/2 gallon Minute Made
Pure Premium orange juice
|32 oz. V-8 Juice
|1 lb. loaf Holsum Butter Loaf bread
|10 oz. box Nabisco Wheat Thins
|18 oz. Peter Pan peanut butter
|8 oz. Kraft N.Y. sharp cheddar cheese
|1 lb. boneless N.Y. strip steak
|1 lb. ground chuck
|1 lb. boneless chicken breasts
|1 lb. Idaho baking potatoes
|8-16 oz. bag assorted types
|1 head Dole iceberg lettuce
|6.5 oz. bag Lays Classic potato chips
|6 oz. bag Lays Baked Potato Crisps
|16 oz. bag Keebler Chocolate Lovers
Chips Deluxe cookies
If the prices seem high to you, go back and re-read two of my previous articles,
Cayman Prices and
When is a Dollar Not a Dollar,
bearing in mind that most food items are either heavy,
bulky, or require special handling, which increases the freight costs.
Remember also that the freight costs are added on to the wholesale price of
the goods before the 20% duty is calculated! Some items, such as yogurt
and tea were recently designated as duty free commodities, and a few
others carry lower rates of duty, but most food products are dutiable at
the 20% rate.
Well, I think I have everything I need for the weekend. (Stores are closed
on Sunday, you know.) I'd better get home before my frozen yogurt melts.
Take care now. I hope I'll see you in Cayman again soon!