I’m beginning to think that our neighborhood grocery store here in Tbilisi could be an interesting source of stories about the politics and economics in the Second World. The tastiest corn chips come from Turkey, the cooking oil brands are almost all Russian (though with relations being what they are, I don’t know if the products themselves come directly from the neighbor to the north), the peanut butter from China looks too suspect to buy, and a fair amount of the pasta is Italian Barilla. Stocks sometimes still seem a question of what the store can get, rather than what the customers want. There are a whole bunch of fancy-looking Dutch cheeses just now, but they seem to be going for about EUR 16 a kilo, which is an awful lot for here. Particularly as I think behind the nice packaging they’re probably pretty ordinary, rather than actual super-artisan stuff that might command the price. And some of the choices are just odd: of the main shelving (the display area in the middle of the store) fully one-twelfth is given over to nothing but ketchup. Ketchup is the perfect condiment, but still. Further, the 750-ml Heinz regular in a squeezable plastic bottle with a label in Dutch is about 7.50 lari, while the the 750-ml Heinz regular in a squeezable plastic bottle with a label in French is about 9.50 lari. This does not look like a rational market. Maybe someone in management speaks English and I can find out why.