Cost-cutting at the Supermarket
Food prices are skyrocketing these days for normal Americans. And for arugula-organic-free-range slaves like me, sticker shock is becoming a cardiac arrest. So I’ve found a few creative ways to cut food costs at the supermarket. And if done right, they won’t get you banned for life from your favorite store.
1) Look for mold in the produce aisle. While others look to make sure a box of strawberries is mold-free, I go for the ones with mold. Then, after I’ve eaten all the good ones that day, I return the remainder for a full refund.
2) Look for unsafe products. If you see a slit in a package, a damaged box or a dented can, decide how much you want to gamble on botulism. Use the product and then contact the company about the defective packaging and ask for free coupons.
3) Pick naked fruit in the organic produce section. If an organic fruit doesn’t have a sticker on it, it usually gets rung up at conventional prices. Two warnings: it’s stealing to take the tag off for a cheaper price. Also, don’t do this with more than one fruit at a time or you’ll raise the suspicions of the cashier. (“That’s funny, another fruit without a tag.”)
4) Dumpster divers say Whole Foods has good bins. Believe it or not, the chain also randomly dumps food in apartment complexes in Boston. Find where it happens. Trader Joe’s is believed to have a trash compacter, so avoid their dumpsters.
5) Be sure to spread out among the different supermarkets in your area to maximize these strategies and avoid suspicious and sad-looking store manag-ers.
6) Most supermarkets have a bin of free cookies for children by the bakery. Feed your inner child.
7) Expiration dates are for wimps. Either drink half the carton and then return it for a refund or tell them it’s illegal to sell it and ask to take it home.
8) Whole Foods and other supermarket chains have special sample demo days, with more than a dozen vendors. Come hungry, sample often. If the vendors question why you’re coming back for more, put on a fake English accent.
9) Go to the deli and ask for a sample of a dish. Have trouble making up your mind and ask about other dishes.
10) Hang around the bulk bins aisle and wait for something to spill onto the plastic catches below.
Craig is the pen name for Craig. You can reach him at an unspecified email. He will reveal more in a secret communiqué soon.