We are not representing an unspecified threat to Google AdSense’s clients anymore and both the puffin lobbies and the volcano haters — bless them! — are probably celebrating our defeat. Defeat? Not really. Open Google and their pretend-we-are-not-secretive policies can refuse to tell us the reason behind the ban all they want; like we care! Ha! We can now speak ill of anything at will, puffins included. When there is a basis to do so, that is.
But this entry is not about puffins and volcano haters. It’s about tomatoes. Or rather, tomatoes&more. It’s about tomato&more dealers. Lousy tomato&more dealers. It’s about lousy supermarkets. OK, seriously now. It’s about Nóatún.
I want to bring this up in the interest of all those who are residing here or are intentioned in spending a long time here. Those who are not relying on restaurants/cafés/bars for their sustenance. If you value your money, you don’t want to go to Nóatún in its present manifestation. This is a truth and I am going to give you a few reasons for it.
I’ve heard a lot of complaints regarding the poor quality of fruit and vegetables in Iceland. There is a good chance some of these complaints came from people who relied on Nóatún at some point. I’ve been here for a whole year now and I had not experienced anything particularly negative with other supermarkets. I was a little dumbfounded at first when I had to switch from the Italian way of grocery shopping to the Northern European one, but I think I managed pretty well in spite of my limitations. This was until I decided to check out Nóatún.
Don’t get me wrong, there are a few good things about this supermarket, as there are good things almost in anything — sarcastic remark, sorry. Well, but really, one of the good aspects about Nóatún is the fact it’s open 24/7. It was the only supermarket you could find open in Reykjavík on Christmas day, for instance. The staff, although not very present, is also very polite from what I could see. Finally, as far as personal interests are concerned, I have to add Nóatún is located quite close to home. But this is not enough to redeem the awful quality of the goods they sell and the ridiculous amounts of money you have to pay for them. Every time I am forced to visit Nóatún, I am heavily traumatized. Not only most of the items they sell are identical to any other local supermarket, but unfathomably they cost more. For example, a pack of cooking cream costs 100+ ISK more than at the Hagkaup, which is also not exactly the cheapest option you have. And this is a trend applied to almost any other item. The choice is very limited, even compared to the much smaller Melabúðin. Why would I need fifteen brands of tomato sauce if they’re all clones of each others? Why would I want seven types of apples if they’re all rotten? Rotten, yes! They would have to pay any human customer to take those awful fruit off their shelves; instead, they sell them, sometimes up to double the price of other sellers.
It happened to me to need fruit or vegetables but it was too late for other supermarkets. I bought from Nóatún and when I got home and opened the package — no matter the content: once was watermelon, another time tomatoes, another some other thing — the goods were not edible, although they were packaged to make you believe they were fresh. I don’t bother anymore to buy this kind of goods from them, because it’s like throwing money straight into the trash bin.
From what I gather, Nóatún was known to be the star of supermarkets of Iceland up to a few years ago. What happened? Because trust me, of the splendor recorded in older accounts there is not even the remotest trace now. You can sense a certain decline when you are looking at the partially empty shelves, at the ridiculously expensive special offers of broken gingerbread men — cute but tragically out of place, especially now that it is February –, at the fresh goods that are more like decayed corpses than anything else. It’s a melancholy without the slightest attractiveness. For people coming from countries where supermarkets are a serious matter, I am sure going to Nóatún without having previously visited other local sellers may be a shocking affair. My personal experience is very negative and I advise you to not use it unless you have no other choice.