They are selling stale bread

expat0tree

Registered
Ever since I landed in Argentina and began buying bread at an Argentine bakery, I wanted to write about the experience without complaining too much and without being cynical. The occasional bad customer service is certainly worth a mention but by itself, is not enough of a reason to write about it. With the coronavirus complicating the overall consumer economy, things have changed enough that I don't have to be particularly creative to convey the absurdities of the worsening customer service in this country.

The bakery in front of my apartment sells stale bread. Their job is to tell people, that the bread is fresh, so that they can get rid of yesterday's stock and save on overhead costs. This is especially important for the business, now that less people are buying. They have new competition too. Previously closed space half a block down reopened to make whatever little money they can as an alternative to listing their shop for sale. So people are eating stale bread now. From both bakeries.

This wouldn't be much of big deal if their bread was an actual real sourdough bread, of course, it lasts longer and tastes fine even when it's five days old, but as many of you already know already, Argentina doesn't understand what sourdough bread really is, and why would anyone bother producing it. So they bake buns from refined white flour and call it bread. It's still delicious when hot, don't get me wrong, I put a thick layer of butter on it and with chicken soup, it's quite good, but absolutely disgusting once no longer fresh.

Yesterday, I returned the stale bread back to the bakery for the first time. They didn't give my money back, obviously, that would have been a miracle, but at least, I caught the owner hot-handed and told him how I felt. He pretty much accused me of a murder and told me to shove those buns up my ass, albeit somewhat politely as not to disturb the customers that were there looking to spend their money.

I was really upset and an hour later, I returned the remainder of the bread I had found in another bag. The owner was there again and he called me a troll, basically accusing me of a wrong doing and then someone came to my rescue. An old man had the same problem, saying how he used to buy fresh bread every single day, until they started either mixing fresh with old or just shamelessly sold yesterday's buns. Then came his neighbor, with similar complain about another product, medialunas being too thin I think, and soon enough, the owner got so infuriated that he simply disappeared into the worker's area at the back.

Today, there was no lineup at 11 o'clock, the usual time for buying "fresh bread". There were more people at the other bakery down the street, but there too, I saw that same old man complained about the bread being stale! So I went there to investigate and found the owner lady complaining to the old man who got inspired by what I had done a day prior and brought back his stale bread. She was saying that her business can hardly survive now. I interjected saying that the survival of her business had nothing to do with customer service and that if she's incapable of providing the public with guaranteed fresh buns every single morning, then she probably shouldn't be selling bread at all. She then accused me of being selfish for saying such things. In her mind, my job as a customer, is to not only buy local, always, but to also support the small business as my own family, who wouldn't otherwise be able to survive if every one was "too picky". Her daughter came to rescue and then the husband came out with a sour I'll-fix-everything face, so I left because there were new customers outside the store with masks on, waiting impatiently for their turn to buy something.

I stepped outside and waited to see. A young woman went in there, probably in her 20s, she overheard the conversation and immediately asked the owner lady if she ate her own stale bread. The owner said "of course," but nobody believed her because we all know the homeless take away a full bag of free stale bread every evening. The girl laughed at her and left, demonstrating complete distrust. One other customer left too. I too left then and now, the store is closed, even though it is supposed to be open. The old couple who started the whole thing, or was it me who started it? They stayed on the street for many hours afterwards. Their son brought them chairs and mate and they talked to everybody they knew about the shitty bread sold in their bakeries, demonstrating once again, that the product and service was there to fulfill their basic demands before fulfilling the financial goals of the greedy businesses who obviously didn't eat their own stale bread.
 

antipodean

Registered
Beautiful... sadly the most effective and Argentine way of fixing things often is to start a riot.

My best customer experience story here so far was after I paid for a piece of furniture. After six weeks of waiting for it to be built, I contacted the store to schedule the delivery. Due to travel plans I needed it on a specific day. They said it was not convenient for them as they only do deliveries on another day and canceled the order / returned my money without any further discussion. Bueno.

Some people here don't understand what it is to be in business until they end up out of business!
 

cbbsas

Registered
That was a very interesting read, albeit unfortunate! Please DM me the names of the stores, my curiosity can’t take it
 

gracielle

Registered
No stale bread in either shop!
2 locations:
Juan B. Ambrosetti 901 · 011 4982-1967
Horario de apertura: jue. 07:30

Raúl Scalabrini Ortíz 1651 · 011 4831-4330
Horario de apertura: jue. 08:00

Their sourdough baguettes are to die for! I know something about sourdough bread as I grew up in San Francisco. And the pastries are deliciously fresh and tasty. The prices are very reasonable in relation to the quality of goods.

The owners are brother and sister bakers who came from France and bought the business in 2015 from a compatriot who decided to retire and return to the homeland. When I first discovered their shop I wondered how long they would survive as it is located in a less traveled street away from the commercial hub of Caballito. The word got out in nearby Palermo. Customers started to flock and in 2018 they opened a second shop in that neighborhood.
 

cbbsas

Registered
No stale bread in either shop!
2 locations:
Juan B. Ambrosetti 901 · 011 4982-1967
Horario de apertura: jue. 07:30

Raúl Scalabrini Ortíz 1651 · 011 4831-4330
Horario de apertura: jue. 08:00

Their sourdough baguettes are to die for! I know something about sourdough bread as I grew up in San Francisco. And the pastries are deliciously fresh and tasty. The prices are very reasonable in relation to the quality of goods.

The owners are brother and sister bakers who came from France and bought the business in 2015 from a compatriot who decided to retire and return to the homeland. When I first discovered their shop I wondered how long they would survive as it is located in a less traveled street away from the commercial hub of Caballito. The word got out in nearby Palermo. Customers started to flock and in 2018 they opened a second shop in that neighborhood.
Great recommendation thank you, will head to the scalabrini one next weekend
 

Redpossum

Registered
This was an entertaining read, and it made me laugh out loud, though stale bread is certainly no laughing matter.

Without in any way intending to trivialise your complaint, I would offer a suggestion. Making simple bread at home is really very easy; I have been doing it since November 2018. The levadura en cubos that you find in the refrigerated section works better than the dry yeast in the envelopes. Harina integral is less picky than harina blanca, but I use a roughly 50-50 mix of the two.

It seems like a pain at first, but once you get into the habit you find that you can just go out in the kitchen and your hands do the work while your mind wanders away to dream of Bali or Majorca or whatever. Making the dough at night and leaving it to do the first rise in the refrigerator overnight works well for me, thought it makes the second rise take longer as the dough is cold when you take it out of the frig.

Flour, water, yeast, salt, and a little oil is all you need. Millions of women in the third world who can't spell their own names make bread every day, so I'm sure it's possible for educated people like those who post here. If you want sourdough, there are many videos on YouTube that will teach you how to make your own starter. I haven't tried it because my apartment is a fungus pit, but a friend of mine tried it and had success on his first attempt.

Fresh bread right out of the oven, with a little butter, is like the ambrosia of the gods.
 

Rich One

Registered
No stale bread in either shop!
2 locations:
Juan B. Ambrosetti 901 · 011 4982-1967
Horario de apertura: jue. 07:30

Raúl Scalabrini Ortíz 1651 · 011 4831-4330
Horario de apertura: jue. 08:00

Their sourdough baguettes are to die for! I know something about sourdough bread as I grew up in San Francisco. And the pastries are deliciously fresh and tasty. The prices are very reasonable in relation to the quality of goods.

The owners are brother and sister bakers who came from France and bought the business in 2015 from a compatriot who decided to retire and return to the homeland. When I first discovered their shop I wondered how long they would survive as it is located in a less traveled street away from the commercial hub of Caballito. The word got out in nearby Palermo. Customers started to flock and in 2018 they opened a second shop in that neighborhood.
OMG sourdough baguette can't believe it ..! will have to try it.

A good smoked salmon sandwich, on sourdough toast, can beat many forgettable meals. With some goat pecorino cheese--


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rihornos

Registered
This was an entertaining read, and it made me laugh out loud, though stale bread is certainly no laughing matter.

Without in any way intending to trivialise your complaint, I would offer a suggestion. Making simple bread at home is really very easy; I have been doing it since November 2018. The levadura en cubos that you find in the refrigerated section works better than the dry yeast in the envelopes. Harina integral is less picky than harina blanca, but I use a roughly 50-50 mix of the two.

It seems like a pain at first, but once you get into the habit you find that you can just go out in the kitchen and your hands do the work while your mind wanders away to dream of Bali or Majorca or whatever. Making the dough at night and leaving it to do the first rise in the refrigerator overnight works well for me, thought it makes the second rise take longer as the dough is cold when you take it out of the frig.

Flour, water, yeast, salt, and a little oil is all you need. Millions of women in the third world who can't spell their own names make bread every day, so I'm sure it's possible for educated people like those who post here. If you want sourdough, there are many videos on YouTube that will teach you how to make your own starter. I haven't tried it because my apartment is a fungus pit, but a friend of mine tried it and had success on his first attempt.

Fresh bread right out of the oven, with a little butter, is like the ambrosia of the gods.
How nice to read about someone that makes bread. I started to make bread because most of it is uneatable and because it is stale but for all the preservatives and drugs they use to make it last longer and to make more bread with less flour. The only bakery that I know works without preservatives is La Pompeya on Independencia 1912 and the make italian delicastessen. Their bread is so good that even the stale one is perfect for toasts ...that is the difference.
 
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