Safeway’s AI soup nazis

🐅 🐅 🐅 tiger tiger tiger for ultimate August, anticipating the welcoming bunny trio of September

I get my groceries from a local Safeway, with shoppers and deliverers supplied by Instacart. Safeway has an excellent line of deli soups, which I described for you in my 7/21 posting “Real food”, focusing on Safeway’s Signature Cafe (their brand name) chicken tortilla soup (in a plastic container), which was a major step on my route back to real food after my gall bladder surgery; I noted at the time:

Safeway has a whole line of these soups, including a clear lobster bisque suitable for liquid diets and several very nice chunkier soups, including a minestrone, chicken noodle soup, jambalaya and broccoli cheddar soup.

Yesterday, continuing my incursions into red meat and animal fats — cheese was the first wedge into this territory, but I’ve since moved all the way to (pork) carnitas and carne asada — and needing to order in some milk from Safeway, I thought to reconsider the store’s other soups, so I searched on “deli soups” on the Safeway site.

And got a notice — new in my experience — that this search was powered by AI. Instead of the expected inventory of Safeway’s dozen or so or deli soups, I got only three such soups, and these three were scattered among a huge number of listings for canned soups (from various companies). Not deli soups at all, but just soups; in fact, towards the end of the list, it branched into canned meats. So a massive AI screw-up.

I repeat, in astonishment: Safeway’s AI soup nazis offered me only three deli soups. I think they were chicken noodle, tomato basil bisque, and minestrone — but in any case, three soups not of current interest to me, three soups being pushed on me by the soup nazis, along with cans of Campbell’s cream of tomato soup and somebody’s canned ham.

I tried other searches, doing no better, until I thought to use the Safeway brand name: “Signature deli soups”. Then I got all 13 of the store’s deli soups (and nothing else), the 7 I’ve already mentioned, plus butternut squash; coconut curry chicken, Thai style; steakhouse chili with beans; corn chowder with chicken; creamy chicken and wild rice; and loaded baked potato soup with bacon. I reflected on these choices, and jumped right on board with the jambalaya, with sausage and chunks of ham in it:

Signature Cafe spicy jambalaya with sausage, white meat chicken, uncured ham & bacon ($7.99 for a 24 oz container)

For lunch yesterday, I amended it with spicy green sauce and more rice, and it was fabulous; I’ll have the second half for lunch today.

I’m reporting yesterday’s search from memory, rather than quoting from the site, because when I went back this morning to retrieve the details, the powered-by-AI boast was gone, and “deli soups” got the complete list of 13 deli soups (and nothing more). Apparently, the AI soup nazis had been fired. Only temporarily, I fear.

Eating well is the best revenge. As you will see, I eat well these days. It’s one of the few pleasures available to me, as I live in utter solitude — I go for days on end without talking to another human being — but with complete responsibility for all domestic tasks (since I no longer merit the assistance of helpers) and no time for merely pleasant diversions (books, movies, puzzles, what have you) if I’m going to continue posting to this blog. I have to order food in no matter what, so why not get really interesting food? (Well, yes, it costs real money, and that’s a problem, but I’m managing.)

I’m keeping within various medical restrictions, which, along with my many medications and the real exercise I get doing all the housework, keep me in surprisingly good health (disregarding all the normally awful things that afflict me): I have lots of energy; my balance is so good that I can actually walk unassisted indoors (though it’s not elegant and I don’t do it much and I stay very close to things I can grab hold of if necessary — but I can do it); I can now just stand up easily on my feet without any support, which still strikes me as a kind of miracle; the edema is totally gone from my feet and legs, which are now gaunt and muscular; and (thanks to many long months of daily treatments with coconut oil) all the lesions on my feet and legs have vanished (as of two days ago, there’s not a scab on me, for the first time in maybe two years).  There’s a lot there to be happy about, even if my finicky bowels still make me a shut-in for much of the day (though that will, presumably, improve in time), as does the heat (95F at 3 pm yesterday — though that’s about to improve as well).



3 Responses to “Safeway’s AI soup nazis”

  1. arnold zwicky Says:

    I described this posting on Facebook as being about “my difficulties in getting Safeway to sell me some soup”, and now I feel I should be adding more words to the first line, “Safeway, Safeway, sell me some soup!”

  2. arnold zwicky Says:

    I wrote,”there’s not a scab on me”, but since I was in musical-theatre mode for some reason, my first instinct was to exclaim,”there ain’t no scabs on me”. (“There Ain’t No Flies On Me”, from New Girl in Town).

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