My Life in Peru

An Expat Mom Shares Her Experiences with Peruvian Life, Travel and Food

Shopping at Plaza Vea

Posted on | June 14, 2010 | 10 Comments

Local de Plaza Vea Super en San Miguel
Image via Wikipedia

Plaza Vea is my favorite Peruvian supermarket (or ‘hipermercado’ as they long to call themselves – I guess ‘hyper’ is better than ‘super’).  If I’m comparing them to the other major chains, I’d say they’re cleaner than Metro, which is their main price point competition, and they’re less expensive  than the rest of them – Vivanda, Wong or Tottus.  I do like Tottus, but Vivanda and Wong just seem a little snobby to me.  But that’s just me!

Anyway – I had another Plaza Vea moment today that reminded me why I like them.  I’m a regular customer over at the PV on the corner of Angamos and Principal in Surquillo/San Borja.  We were living about 3 blocks away when they built it, and I’ve been shopping there ever since.  I know all the taxi drivers that work the front, and they know me and exactly where I live.

Today, for some reason they were unusually busy around 230pm when I was checking out, and they didn’t have enough cashiers open to cover it.  The lines weren’t out of control long, but they were longer than usual.  I picked what looked like the shortest line, and soon realized my mistake, when I saw 10 bags of sugar, 10 bags of rice, about a dozen chickens and so on in the cart in front of me.  That lady was going to be checking out for quite a while!

Now, I was there with my nephew, Nick.  Nicky has cerebral palsy and autism.  He’s 22 years old, but his mental capacity for most things is that of a 2 year old child (although he’s got a killer sense of humor!).  When realized I had picked the wrong line, I told Nick to stand there with the cart while I walked down to see if another line looked better.  I found one, and called him down.  He dutifully pulled the cart out and started making his way towards me.

At that moment, a Plaza Vea assistant manager came out from behind Nick and started walking with him, and said to me – ‘Senora, you can go to the priority line’.  That’s the line special for handicapped, pregnant and elderly folks.  It never really occurred to me to use that line, because I never really think of Nick as particularly handicapped – he’s just Nick.

However, in this situation, it seemed like a great idea. So I thanked the guy and headed to that line.  We got there, and there was a tiny little elderly woman paying for her purchases, and then three young 20-somethings standing behind her with a few trendy snack purchases.   As I got close with Nick, the assistant manager asked them to please step back and let us in front of them.  The two guys stepped back out of the line immediately to let us through, but the girl put up an argument: “Why do we have to move?  We’ve been waiting here, and we’re next!”  (Pout)

The assistant manager looked at her and said “I’m sorry, senorita, but this is the priority line – and you aren’t a priority”.


Ok – maybe I’m being a little mean.  I wouldn’t have minded at all if they went through in front of us, and in all honesty, Nick can wait in line just as well as anyone else.  But dang, folks – what kind of a person argues against letting an obviously handicapped person ahead in the HANDICAPPED LANE??? Geesh.

Anyway – just another reason for me to love Plaza Vea.

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10 Responses to “Shopping at Plaza Vea”

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  4. Arashdeep Sarai
    June 15th, 2010 @ 06:03

    I need to come see this place when I come visit you Kell! xo

  5. Kelly
    June 15th, 2010 @ 10:05

    And you need to come visit me soooooon!!!!

  6. Stuart
    June 15th, 2010 @ 15:15

    I’m not a fan of Plaza Vea, mostly because their bread and their postres are far inferior to Wong and Metro.

    I also find plenty of things in either Wong of Metro that are cheaper than Plaza Vea, despite their slogan.

    I think quality of fresh produce is noticeable better in Wong than Plaza Vea but more expensive.

    With Wong being the best, my favorite is Metro… the reason is because it is as cheap as Plaza Vea but you often get the quality of Wong. Bread doesn’t take that paper, for example.

    Vivanda is out of my league, I don’t have a Tottus but their baked goods were excellent when I tried them.

  7. Kelly
    June 15th, 2010 @ 21:49

    I’ll completely agree with you on the bread – there’s a Wong a couple blocks from me, and the only thing I buy there is their bread. I love their big giant white loaf bread for sandwiches.

    I buy all my meat and produce at Surquillo #2. 😀

    I don’t like Metro because I’ve seen cucarachas in the store, and their fish dept. ALWAYS smells bad.

  8. Maria
    July 8th, 2010 @ 19:58

    Kelly, that is what I call good… no, Great Customer Service. That is something I like when I go to Lima.

    I remember, when I used to go to the Bank with my late father, to do something with his account. As soon as the policeman at the door saw us coming, my Dad was taken immediately to the next available Teller. No lines for him, the elderly or handicapped. And the demeanor of everybody at the Bank was kind and very respectful towards him. I always liked that!

  9. Kelly
    July 8th, 2010 @ 20:33

    I agree completely. A lot of people complain about customer service in Lima, but I find that on average, employees here treat customers with more respect. Of course, it only takes one bad apple to ruin the whole day.

  10. Abe
    September 28th, 2010 @ 18:24

    I have worked as a manager in grocery retail for 28 years. Never have I seen anyone come close to the service and Cleanliness of the Plaza Vea in Huancayo. I have applied for work there but no call back yet. Clearly a lesson to be learned by the retailers in the US.

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    I got tired of life happening while I made other plans, so I quit my job and came to Peru. I live here with my Peruvian husband, two sons, three dogs and various other family members, depending on the weather.

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