The other day we needed a gallon of milk. This happens every Tuesday/Wednesday that MacTroll and X-man are home at the same time. MacTroll is a habitual cereal eater. He consumes large quantities each a.m. And X-man consumes loads of milk (usually mixed with the Hershey's syrup Light) when he's growing... and for the last 4-6 weeks he's been drinking it at amazing speeds.
Anyway, I was out and about doing an errand at the dreaded Wally Mart when I went to pick up a gallon of milk. It was over $3. What? Wait. Didn't I just pay $2 per gallon at Meijer in Urbana during Friday's normal grocery shopping? Mmmm. I know it's only like a dollar and some change, but seriously. You're the evil Emperor of big box stores worldwide... can't you do better than that on a gallon of "Great Value" milk?
The most devious part of this is that down the street, I knew Schnuck's, which everyone complains to me is too expensive regardless of the jingle on the radio that insists they're a cost saving store, had milk for $2.40. At this point you're shaking your head. "Is Loosey really so cheap she drove a mile down the road to get milk for under a buck cheaper?"
The answer to this is, of course, yes, because we all know I'm a bit crazy. I loathe Wally Mart with a passion I usually only reserve for deans of my undergraduate university, social fraternities and sororities, rapists, child abusers, people who commit hate crimes, the Miami airport and Port Hope, Ontario.
But it gets more complicated than that. When I was a child, I went grocery shopping with my paternal grandmother in Springhill, Florida. She shopped at the Winn Dixie. She was apparently a Winn Dixie woman (since they had no Jewel), but she was also a veteran stay-at-home Mom with four grown kids, which meant she hated to waste a penny. (Do you see where this is going?) We shopped, got home, put away the groceries and THEN Nana opened the paper. "Get in the car, Sweetheart. We're taking these eggs back."
In my brain, I figured it must have been a couple bucks. I mean, they lived in Florida, and it was Saturday. And there were old people driving crazily through parking lots everywhere (all of them driving tanks like my grandparents' Crown Vic), who in their right minds would want to go out in that -- twice? Twenty minutes later, we walked up to the customer service counter with our eggs and the weekend circular and the shopping receipt. The old man's eyebrows went up as my grandmother explained that the eggs would have cost her less across the street at the Publix (why are grocery stores always right next to each other?) and would Winn Dixie honor the difference in price for a loyal customer or would she have return the eggs and go buy them across the street and think twice about where she shops next week?
The man, who was in his sixties as well, leaned over the circular from Publix, took her receipt and stared at it. His glasses slowly slid down his nose. He was quiet and solemn. "I'm sorry ma'am, let me get the difference for you." He opened the drawer and very gently handed my grandmother a penny.
My mouth dropped open. She'd burned way more than that in her giant car. I mean, I could have been in the pool in the backyard or picking strawberries from the garden or doing something way more fun. This was just weird. But this was Nana. The woman would get on her hands and knees in a pair of yellow rubber gloves and a plastic bin of cleaner to scrub down her baseboards every few weeks. She'd be sitting there wiping away with a Virginia Slim hanging from her lips.
To be fair, I waited until the next day to go to Schnuck's. KTDID was in the car with me and I suddenly got a brainy idea. "Hey, let's just get it from the Schnuck's gas station!"
I ran into the gas station to find a gallon of milk. Only it was the Prairie Farm's brand, not the Schnuck's brand (isn't that a bit weird?) and it was over $4. WTF? I guess you pay an extra $2 for "convenience." I exited the gas station bitching up a storm and then KTDID and I went into the store and found it, finally, for $2.40.
Yeah. So in the long run I have to ask... did I learn this behavior from that whole outing with my grandmother or is it genetic cheapness?
To be fair, I paid $2.29 for a gallon of milk at Meijer this afternoon. The 2 for $4 deal seems to be over. But they did have $1 bags of goldfish, 10 for $10 avocados and 10 for $10 on Coke products (buy 10 Coke products, you even get the 11th free). And, for Quigs, Fiber One bars were on sale for $1.99 a box.