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.