Ralph's Closed in Compton, Yet Another Smart N Final Opened

On the evening drive home from working the more Eastern parts of the OC about a week ago, I was trying to get a cake to celebrate Mr. Boy's 9 months of life.

My mind was trying to imagine where I could get a super-market cake could be had.  I wasn't necessarily thinking cake from specialty shop ala 85 Degrees as the price could be a bit much, I was just thinking something from one of the more "middle-class" supermarkets that tend to have a wider selection of baked goods:  Ralphs, Vons, Albertsons.

The meaning of those supermarkets to us as a family is:  "fresh", ready-to-eat food. 

When I think of any of these, I think of donuts in the morning and chicken and potato wedges, or even salad.  I also think of their endless selections of baked goods.

Taking Artesia all the way from La Habra, I passed up a bunch of Stater Brothers.  Honestly, I didn't know enough about Stater Brothers to stop.  They are actually around Long Beach-ish areas, and their commercial jingle has been permanently branded into my cortex (from a childhood of being subject to their commercials), but I've only gone once inside their stores.

I was trying to imagine where in/around Compton I could get this cake. 

I know Food4Less, the lower-class subsidiary of Ralphs, might have some, but I've always been skeptical of the freshness of its baked goods and deli, which might be completely unfounded. 

Then a thought sprung, the Ralphs on Compton Blvd, near City Hall! (El Super briefly crossed my mind, but typically I'd only go there for fruits or "paisa" baked goods)


Only when I turned left, going North on Santa Fe, I didn't see anything.

It appeared that where Ralphs was, a Smart N Final had taken its place.

I'd only heard about the Smart N Final taking the place of the Fresh N Easy on Rosecrans and Central, but not a word about this Ralphs silently closing down, which according to Yelp comments closed down sometime in the summer.

What does it mean to have a Smart N Final instead of a Ralphs?

Immediately, at that time and place of celebrating my son's 9 months with my wife on a weekday night, I couldn't really get a cake at the Smart N Final in Compton.

There is no bakery or deli at the Smart N Final.  They have baked goods, but not seeing any baked goods baking area, I kinda wondered where they got the limited selection of goods made.  I think the bachelorized, younger, more cost-conscious version of me would've picked something, anything from the store.  The married, still cost-conscious, but kind-of-aware-of-my-wife's-tastes led me out of the store.

Smart N Final isn't a bad store at all.  They have the fresh veggies and fruits, which is a heck of a lot more important long-term than whether or not they have cakes or food at a deli.  They're reasonably cheap on most things, though I haven't sat down to calculate exactly how much cheaper/expensive they are.

Ultimately, what it meant for me was a trip to another store, 4.5 Miles Westward into Gardena along Redondo Beach Blvd to Vons.  There I was able to pick up not only a cake but also a pound of crab salad and potato wedges for our bellies.  It also meant paying $3.99 for a kale salad kit that we could get much bigger at Costco for around $6-$7.  For us as a family, having that Smart N Final instead of Ralphs meant that there wasn't immediate physical access to as much fresh, ready-to-eat things from a supermarket.  Or at least catering to our middle-class-ish perceptions of what fresh, ready-to-eat is.

It's not that I'm making a demand, it's just, that's the way it is.

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