Friday, August 26, 2005

Grocery Mission Accomplished

I had a successful grocery mission this morning, bags bursting with fresh vegetables and chicken breasts. My favorite market is the Harris Teeter in a gilded neighborhood. This city within a city has the 4th highest number of millionaires per capita in the US, yet my price book research indicates that HT’s sales are some of the best. Naturally, it’s no hardship to shop there.

One of the funny things I notice (besides the number of ladies in tennis skirts) is the crowd at the reduced vegetable cart. A manager culls the bruised and blemished produce, bag it neatly in cellophane, and marks each bag $1. Generally, you get twice as many vegetables per pound as you would from the displays—sometimes much more, with dense Granny Smith apples, for instance.

With a few eager competitors, plucking the best bag can be a polite struggle. At first I felt guilty sending the little one in on a stealth mission to grab the avocados on the lowest shelf. After all, most of the crowd are senior citizens. Was I taking advantage? Today I stood in line with several of my reduced-bag shoppers and noticed that each one of them (a) paid cash or check for their groceries, and (b) drove off in a Jaguar, Mercedes, or Lexus.

I’m not surprised. Thomas Stanley’s classic, The Millionaire Next Door, opened my eyes to the spending patterns of the rich (as opposed to those who simply seem rich). His statistics show an astounding number of millionaires who buy used cars and clip coupons. It's nice to know I'm in good company.

6 comments:

Jordana said...

Interesting. I go the Harris Teeter closer to my house and I have never seen the reduced price vegetable cart. I would love that. Do they only have it on certain days out there at your store?

Bethany said...

I was friends with a millionare family a while back. They shopped at the thrift store for their clothing. It was interesting.

They were really into boating and yachts and stuff. They always got the best deals on things. It was funny, I would find out what they had spent on a boat and be like, "I could afford that!"

Of course,if I wanted to buy a boat, I would never be able to find such a good deal. They seemed to be able to sniff out the best deals on everything!

Meredith said...

I know all millionaires don't fit Stanley's mold, but the ones I know in person pick and choose where they want to spend big money--and live frugally in other ways.

Jordana, the reduced veg cart is hit or miss. It's tucked between the meat and pre-cut fruit trays and replenished sometime mid-morning. Some days I have gone too early; some days it's not there at all. Now that I'm not grocery shopping as often (trying to conserve gas), I don't find quite as much bounty as I did by popping in anytime I happened to drive through the area. However, that makes trips like today's even more fun--I love loading up on unusual produce at that price!

Shannon said...

I've started shopping every two weeks instead of every week, too. Next we'll be carpooling to the grocery store:)

Mrs. Happy Housewife said...

H and I had a good laugh when I told him of the rich ladies in their tennis skirts fightin' over imperfect fruits and veggies.

Slughorn said...

Our Kroger affiliate has a different system; I think they donate blemished produce to a local food bank. BUT they mark meat prices way down. The best bargains are their 'Manager's Specials.' I guess the most terrific buy I got there was the time they had Tyson boneless, skinless chicken breasts ... for $0.99/lb. I bought aboutt 40 lbs worth.