Monday, March 15, 2010

Milk Money

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.


The Fearless Freak said...

This is why I shop at Aldi's. Milk was 1.99 but recently went up to 2.10. I buy cart loads of stuff for less than $100. Of course, it is way out of your way to go to Aldi's but the prices are seriously worth it.

Andrina said...

And there I was planning our day outing to Port Hope for this week... ;-)

makeup_girl said...

I've been finding great deals at both Meijer's and Schnucks lately! I can't remember the last time I shopped for groceries at Wal-Mart.

I tried Aldi's last year. After going to Wal-Mart and writing down the prices for what I normally bought, then going to Aldi's and writing down their prices.....the few pennies that I saved at Aldi's was not worth my time.

MidlifeMutant said...

Makeup girl.. My husband and I did the same thing about 6 months ago and found that we'd saved almost we spent 59 at Aldi's for what we would have spent 80 bux for at Wally World. We must have been shopping for different stuff.

Looseyfur said...

MacTroll and I hit Aldi's about this time last year. It was okay, but they are on the other side of town from us. So if I think of it on the way to school, I'll have to see how much of my shopping I can get done there. I think when we tried last year, we found that we could do around 40 percent of what we wanted, i.e. there were lots of snacks, cereal, milk, basic fruits, cheese and lunch meat, but the variety wasn't enough to meet the vegetarian based products we normally consume or the snobby cheese varieties we cook with, which creates the need to shop at two different stores. This is why I'm also a crappy coop shopper. I hate making two trips. But for the price breaks, you think I'd make the effort to just jump from one to the other. You know? (i.e. I'm stupid and lazy.)

The Fearless Freak said...

It is a lot easier in the winter because I can get cold stuff, then go down the street to CM and then home without making 2 trips. In the summer, I usually have to run at least the cold stuff home first. But since I bag it myself, I can put everything cold in one bag and just haul it in the house.